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Can I Apply for Adjustment of Status Without a Birth Certificate?

By February 22, 2023May 16th, 2024No Comments

Transcript: Can I Apply for Adjustment of Status Without a Birth Certificate?

Hi, everyone. I’m attorney Hashim Jeelani, principal at Jeelani Law Firm. For the last 10 years, Jeelani Law Firm successfully filed thousands of immigration cases with immigration agencies throughout the United States and overseas.

A very common question we get from potential clients is if they may still apply for adjustment of status despite the fact that they have no birth certificate. At times, our clients come to us after they’ve been issued a request for evidence, otherwise known as an RFE, for not submitting a birth certificate with their adjustment of status filing. In short, it is absolutely possible to adjust status without a birth certificate, if one is unobtainable. This doesn’t mean that if you have to hire someone in your country to get the certificate, or if ordering the certificate will take a long time, that you are relieved of this requirement. Unobtainable means that either the birth certificate is not being made available to you by your country of birth, or it just doesn’t exist.

It was a common occurrence in many foreign countries that a birth occurs without any record being made of that individual’s birth. Although many countries have now adopted legislation which requires the registration of births, it does not always happen for one reason or another. Further, the individuals who were born prior to the enactment of the legislation will still be left without birth certificates.

Under the regulations there are a few options for a person without a birth certificate who is not eligible to receive even a late registered birth certificate by their home country’s registry. First, the individual must request a non-availability of birth record from the town or city municipality or registrar of birth records in the place where their birth occurred. This statement is an attestation by the registrar that the registry was searched for records of the individual and no such records were found. Second, the applicant for the adjustment of status must provide secondary evidence such as affidavits by individuals, such as a relative or friend, that were alive during their individual’s birth and can attest to the same.

It’s worth noting that the regulations have very specific requirements as to what information is needed in the affidavits. I would strongly suggest working with an experienced immigration firm to ensure the affidavits are not rejected for insufficiency as this could likely lead to a denial in your case. This is especially the case if you are responding to a request for evidence, as it may be your final opportunity to fix the deficiency. If affidavits cannot be made available, other secondary evidence, such as school records, medical records, or church records, may be submitted in lieu of the affidavits.

It is also a good idea to submit these records even when the affidavits are available. Depending on a particular country, the Department of State may have published the types of secondary evidence which may or may not be available in a particular country. In certain countries, the Department of State may have found that even the non-availability of birth certificate statement cannot be obtained. In this case, the applicant would be relieved of this burden. However, they would still be required to provide further secondary evidence.

If you have any questions specific to your case or need more information, call our office to schedule a phone consultation.

Jeelani Law Firm, PLC

JEELANI LAW FIRM, PLC is regarded as one of the top immigration law firms in the industry. We handle all immigration matters including family based adjustment of status/green card cases, citizenship filings, representation of businesses and employees when filing L1A/B Petitions, H1B petitions, and Permanent Labor petitions. Our firm also litigates immigration cases dealing with delayed adjudications as well as appellate matters before the U.S. Federal Courts, U.S. Immigration Courts, USCIS and the BIA. Given the complex nature of immigration law, inexperience can lead to many mistakes which may result in delays, denials, and loss of filing fees and valuable time. Contact our office and we will take care of the rest.