On July XX, 2010, the People’s Republic of China issued a Certificate of Adoption
Registration, certifying that C~ and M~ were the adoptive parents of Z~. effective as of the date of the certificate. The certificate listed Z~’s birthdate
as September XX, 2002. The certificate was translated into English and notarized.
On July XX, 2010, the United States issued Z~ an Immigrant Visa. On August XX, 2010,
the United States admitted Z~ and issued him a Certificate of Citizenship on August
XX, 2010. The Immigrant Visa, Certificate of Citizenship, and Z~’s Chinese and U.S.
passports list his birthdate as September XX, 2002.
On July XX, 2016, the Illinois Circuit Court of Cook County issued a Judgment Order
for Adoption with respect to C~’s and M~’s petition to adopt Z~. The Court ordered
that Z~ shall be the child of the Petitioners for all legal intents and purposes,
from the date of the order. The order found that Z~ was placed into the custody of
the Petitioners on July XX, 2010; thereafter, an order resulted in a Chinese Adoption
Registration Certificate, and Z~ received a United States Certificate of Citizenship
on August XX, 2010.
Also on July XX, 2016, the Illinois Circuit Court issued an Order to Change Minor’s
Date of Birth, granting the Petitioners’ motion to change Z~’s date of birth from
September XX, 2002 to March XX, 2003. In support of their motion, the Petitioners
submitted evidence that Z~ was born on March XX, 2003. Such evidence included an email
documenting the celebration of Z~’s birthday in China on March XX, 2010. Such evidence
also included a letter from a pediatric dentist, N~, DDS, stating that, based on a
dental examination, Z~’s chronological age was likely more consistent with a birthdate
of March XX, 2003 than September XX, 2002.
On July XX, 2016, the State of Illinois’s Division of Vital Records issued Z~ a Record
of Foreign Birth, listing his birthdate as March XX, 2003.
On January 16, 2014, the President signed Public Law 113-074, the Accuracy for Adoptees
Act. According to that law, federal agencies, including the Social Security Administration
(SSA or agency), are required to accept State issued documents as evidence of the
name and date of birth of foreign-born adoptees who are adopted by a U.S. citizen
parent. See Accuracy for Adoptees Act, Pub. L. No. 113-74, § 2, 127 Stat. 1212 (2014) (codified
at 8 U.S.C. § 1431(c)). Specifically, federal documents shall reflect a child’s name
and date of birth as indicated on a State court order, birth certificate, certificate
of birth abroad, or similar State vital records document issued by the child’s State
of residence after the child has been adopted or readopted in the State. Id.
SSA has issued instructions for processing SSN applications affected by the Accuracy
for Adoptees Act. See EM 14023 – Enumeration: Processing Name and Date of Birth Determinations for Foreign-Born
Adopted Children under the Accuracy for Adoptees Act – One Time Only Instructions.
These instructions provide that when an applicant presents a State-issued document
as evidence to change the date of birth on the Numident, the agency must request a
Regional Chief Counsel precedent opinion with the following determinations:
whether the State has the authority under State law to change a foreign-born individual’s
date of birth through a court order;
the State legal requirements to change a date of birth;
whether the court order needs to list the supporting documentation of the change of
date of birth on the State court order;
if the State has the authority to change a date of birth, the documents the State
issues as proof of the change of date of birth; and
whether the State issues a Certificate of Foreign Birth, Certificate of Birth Abroad,
or other Bureau of Vital Statistics (BVS) document as proof of change of date of birth.
If the State issues the document under a different title, identify the name of the
Under section 4.1(e) of the Illinois Adoption Act, any time after a minor child has
been adopted in a foreign country and has immigrated to the United States, the adoptive
parent or parents of the child may petition the court for a judgment of adoption to
re-adopt the child and confirm the foreign adoption decree. 750 Ill. Comp. Stat. 50/4.1(e).
In order to verify the foreign adoption, the petitioner must submit one or more of
the following documents: (i) a United States issued immigrant visa, valid at the time
of the child’s immigration; (ii) a decree, judgment, certificate of adoption, adoption
registration, or equivalent court order, entered or issued by a court of competent
jurisdiction or administrative body outside the United States, establishing the relationship
of parent and child by adoption; or (iii) such other evidence deemed satisfactory
to the court. 750 Ill. Comp. Stat. 50/4.1(e)(2). The petition may include a request
for a revised birthdate for the child if supported by evidence from a medical or dental
professional attesting to the appropriate age of the child or other collateral evidence.
750 Ill. Comp. Stat. 50/4.1(e)(5). Upon the court’s issuance of a judgment of adoption,
the clerk of the court shall furnish the State Registrar of Vital Records a certificate
of adoption on a prescribed form. 750 Ill. Comp. Stat. 50/19; 410 Ill. Comp. Stat.
535/16. In the case of a child born outside the United States or its Territories,
the State Registrar of Vital Records shall make and file a Record of Foreign Birth.
410 Ill. Comp. Stat. 535/16.1.
Accordingly, we make the following determinations for purposes of EM 14023. Illinois
law confers authority on State courts to change a foreign-born individual’s date of
birth. See 750 Ill. Comp. Stat. 50/4.1(e)(5). The request for an amended date of birth is made
in conjunction with a petition for a judgment of adoption to re-adopt a child who
has been adopted in a foreign country. See id. Illinois law does not mandate that the court order list the documentation supporting
the modified birthdate, but provides that “evidence from a medical or dental professional
attesting to the appropriate age of the child or other collateral evidence” must be
submitted with a petition that requests a change in birthdate. See id. Based on the judgment of adoption, the State issues a “Record of Foreign Birth.”
See 750 Ill. Comp. Stat. 50/19; 410 Ill. Comp. Stat. 535/16.1.
Consistent with Illinois law, the Petitioners sought a judgment of adoption from the
Illinois Circuit court based on their adoption of Z~ in China on July XX, 2010. The
Petitioners also sought a change in Z~’s date of birth, and presented evidence in
support of the change. Such evidence included an email documenting the celebration
of Z~’s birthday in China on March XX, 2010, as well as a dentist’s statement that
Z~’s chronological age was likely more consistent with a birthdate of March XX, 2003
than September XX, 2002. Based on the foregoing evidence, the Illinois court issued
a judgment of adoption and an order changing Z~’s date of birth. The Illinois State
Division of Vital Records subsequently issued a Record of Foreign Birth reflecting
Z~’s revised birthdate.
Accordingly, the Illinois court order changing Z~’s date of birth and the Illinois
Record of Foreign Birth constitute acceptable evidence that Z~ was born in China on
March XX, 2003, for purposes of revising his date of birth on the Numident.
An Illinois court order constitutes acceptable evidence of a revised birthdate. Illinois
law authorizes a State court to make such an order. Here, specifically, the Illinois
court order changing Z~’s date of birth and the Illinois Record of Foreign Birth are
acceptable as evidence to revise his date of birth on the Numident.
Regional Chief Counsel, Region V
By: Francesco P. Benavides
Assistant Regional Counsel