You asked whether the Tennessee Chancery Court’s Amended Final Order for Re-Adoption
and the Tennessee Report of Foreign Birth constitute sufficient evidence to support
revision of the date of birth of M~, the number holder (NH), in her Numident.
Tennessee law allows a state court to change a child’s date of birth on a Report of
Foreign Birth. Therefore, the agency may rely on the Tennessee Chancery Court’s Amended
Final Order for Re-Adoption and the Tennessee Report of Foreign Birth to establish
a different date of birth in NH’s Numident.
According to the information provided, the Chancery Court for W~ County, Tennessee
(Court), issued an Amended Final Order for Re-adoption (Order) on February XX, 2015,
granting the adoptive parents’ petition to re-adopt NH. The Order indicated NH’s adoptive
parents acquired physical custody of NH in December 2007 from the Republic of Guatemala.
NH’s adopted parents were residents of Tennessee for at least six months before the
issuance of the original order for re-adoption. The Order indicated the original order
granting the re-adoption was entered July XX, 2010, after a hearing before the Court.
The Order stated that at the time of the filing of the original petition, all appropriate
filings had been made with Immigration and Naturalization Service, and copies of the
adoption documents from the Republic of Guatemala had been submitted.
The Order gave full faith and credit as a matter of comity to the adoption documents
from the Republic of Guatemala other than to NH’s date of birth. Based on medical
evidence,_/1 the Court changed NH’s date of birth from January XX, 2003, to October
XX, 1999. The Court ordered that October XX, 1999, be entered as the date of birth
on an amended Report of Foreign Birth.
The State of Tennessee issued a Report of Foreign Birth on March XX, 2016, indicating
NH was born on October XX, 1999, in Santa Barbara, Guatemala. The Report of Foreign
Birth indicates that all documents establishing the facts in the report are on file.
NH’s Numident shows a date of birth of January XX, 2003. On some unknown date, NH’s
adoptive mother requested that the agency update NH’s Numident to reflect October
XX, 1999, as her date of birth.
Social Security regulations provide that an individual may request a change in the
personal identifying information previously submitted in connection with a Social
Security Number (SSN) application. See 20 C.F.R. § 422.110 (2017)._/2
An applicant requesting a change in his or her date of birth must submit documentary
evidence that the Commissioner of Social Security regards as convincing. See 20 C.F.R. § 422.107(a), (b); Program Operations Manual System (POMS) RM 10210.010A. Examples of the types of evidence that an applicant may submit to establish age are
a birth certificate, a religious record showing age or date of birth, or a passport.
See 20 C.F.R § 422.107(b); see also 20 C.F.R. § 404.716(a) (stating the best evidence of age is a birth certificate or
hospital birth record recorded before age five or a religious record that shows date
of birth and was recorded before age five); POMS RM 10210.265 (listing kinds of documents that establish age for an SSN card). A delayed birth
certificate (recorded after age five) may constitute convincing evidence. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.716(b); POMS RM 10210.265C. A final adoption decree that shows the child’s name and date of birth may also constitute
convincing evidence. See POMS RM 10210.265C.
The Accuracy for Adoptees Act requires federal agencies to accept U.S. issued documents
as evidence of date of birth for foreign-born adoptees who are adopted by a U.S. citizen
parent. See Pub. L. No. 113-74, 127 Stat. 1212, amending § 320 of the Immigration & Nationality
Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1431. Acceptable documents include a state court order, birth certificate,
certificate of foreign birth, certificate of birth abroad, or similar state vital
records document issued by the child’s state of residence in the United States after
the child has been adopted. See id.; 8 U.S.C. § 1431(c).
The agency has issued instructions for processing SSN applications affected by the
Accuracy of 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 also apply where an individual is requesting to change his or her
date of birth in agency records. See EM-14023.F. If the individual presents a document issued by a state as evidence to
establish a date of birth different from what is shown on the child’s foreign adoption
documentation or foreign birth certificate, the following determinations must be made:
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
We looked to Tennessee law to address the questions above because NH presented a Tennessee
Court order and a Tennessee Certificate of Foreign Birth as evidence to change her
date of birth. Tennessee’s adoption statutes give jurisdiction to its circuit and
chancery courts to enter new orders of adoptions for children who were adopted in
foreign countries. Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1-106(c)(1) (West 2018)._/3
The petition to adopt must include, in relevant part, the birth date, state, and county
or country of birth of the child, if known; evidence showing approval of the foreign
country’s government; evidence the child has proper authorization to enter the United
States; and a statement that it is necessary for the child to be legally adopted in
the United States. Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1-116(b)(3), (b)(15). Upon the filing of the
petition, the court shall have exclusive jurisdiction of all matters pertaining to
the child. Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1-116(f)(1).
When the adoption occurred in a foreign country in accordance with the laws of the
foreign country, the petition for re-adoption should include a copy of the foreign
adoption decree, a certified translation of the decree, and proof of full and final
adoption from the federal government. Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1-106(c)(2)(A). When such
documents are filed, the court may enter an order recognizing the foreign adoption
without the necessity of a hearing. Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1-106(c)(2)(B). Tennessee
law does not require an adoption order to list supporting documentation used to determine
the date of birth for an adoptee born outside the United States. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1-120(a), (f).
For an adoptee born outside the United States, the state registrar prepares a Report
of Foreign Birth upon receipt of a certified copy of the final order of adoption and
an application for a report. Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 36-1-106(c)(2)(C), 68-3-310; Tenn.
Comp. R. & Regs. 1200-07-01-.04(11) (2018)._/4
The report reflects the date of birth indicated in the court’s order and the information
provided by the clerk of court. Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1-120(f)(1), (f)(2)(B); Tenn.
Comp. R. & Regs. 1200-07-01-.04(11). All documents in support of the report are placed
in an envelope and sealed. Tenn. Comp. R. & Regs. 1200-07-01-.04(12).
Tennessee regulations provide Tennessee’s legal requirements to change a date of birth
on a vital record, including a Report of Foreign Birth. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 68-3-203 (governing the amendment and correction of vital records).
Tennessee regulations indicate that any item on a certificate filed with the state
registrar may be corrected by an order of a court of record with the exception of
the date of filing, the signature of the certifier, and changing the date of birth
to a date which is after the date of filing. Tenn. Comp. R. & Regs. 1200-07-01-.10(2)(a)(5);
see Wilson v. Wilson, No. 01-A-01-9802-CV00100, 1999 WL 74786, at *2 (Tenn. Ct. App. Feb. 18, 1999) (noting
a court’s authority to amend a vital record). Further, an item that was established
by court order on a certificate can only be amended by an order of a court of competent
jurisdiction, preferably the court that granted the original order. Tenn. Comp. R.
& Regs. 1200-07-01-.10(2)(a)(6). The only supporting evidence required to change the
date of birth is a certified copy of the court order. See Tenn. Comp. R. & Regs. 1200-07-01-.10(2)(a)(5), (6). The regulations do not state
the kinds of supporting evidence required for the court to change a date of birth.
See Tenn. Comp. R. & Regs. 1200-07-01-.10(2)(a)(5), (6).
NH’s adoptive mother presented NH’s Report of Foreign Birth and the Order as evidence
in support of her request to change NH’s date of birth in agency records. The chancery
court had exclusive jurisdiction over all matters pertaining to NH due to the filing
of the adoption petition. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1-116(f)(1). NH’s date of birth in the original Report of Foreign
Birth was established by the Court’s original order of re-adoption. Therefore, NH’s
date of birth could only be amended based on a finding from the Court. See Tenn. Comp. R. & Regs. 1200-07-01-.10(2)(a)(6). Although Tennessee law does not specify
whether the court must list the supporting documentation, in this case, the Court’s
Order indicates that NH provided the necessary medical evidence establishing her date
of birth. NH’s Report of Foreign Birth and the Order comply with all requirements
of Tennessee law and constitute convincing evidence of NH’s correct date of birth.
Pursuant to EM-14023, the agency should accept these documents as evidence of NH’s
correct date of birth.
Tennessee law allows a state court to change a child’s date of birth on a Report of
Foreign Birth. Based on this information, the agency may rely on the Tennessee Chancery
Court’s Amended Final Order for Re-Adoption and the Tennessee Report of Foreign Birth
to establish a different date of birth for NH.
1 Although we do not have a copy of the medical evidence, the Order indicated that a
physician’s letter was attached to the Order.
2 All citations to the Code of Federal Regulations refer to the 2017 version.
3 All citations to West’s Tennessee Annotated Code refer to the 2018 version.
4 All citations to the Tennessee Rules and Regulations refer to the 2018 version.