The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) rejected U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' (USCIS) unofficial rule that any birth certificate registered more than one year after the subject's birth is insufficient to establish the family ties of the person.  "Even if a birth certificate does not reflect that its registration was contemporaneous with the birth, an adjudicator may conclude that it is sufficiently reliable to establish parentage, depending on the circumstances. In making this determination, the adjudicator should consider all relevant factors, including, but not limited to, (1) information in the FAM regarding the availability and reliability of birth registrations in the country of birth during the time period at issue; (2) the length of time between the birth and the registration; (3) any credible explanation proffered by the petitioner as to the personal, societal, or historical circumstances that prevented a particular birth certificate from being registered contemporaneously, and any evidence in support of that explanation; (4) any credible explanation for why a particular birth certificate was lost or destroyed; (5) any evidence that the parental relationship was independently corroborated prior to the registration of the birth; (6) the length of time between the birth registration and the filing of the visa petition; and (7) information regarding whether the document was based on facts that were contemporaneous with the birth or on facts that were more recently established."

The BIA also enumerated the following of secondary evidence that a petitioner may submit to establish his or her relationship with a sibling beneficiary: (1) governmental, medical, religious, school, financial, employment, insurance, or residential records that reflect the names of the parent(s) and child; (2) family photographs with notations indicating the persons photographed, as well as the date and place they were taken; (3) correspondence, preferably with the original envelope, showing the date written and referring to the parent(s) and child; (4) affidavits by persons who have personal knowledge of the birth; and (5) the results of DNA testing conducted in a prescribed manner, as explained to the petitioner by USCIS. Given the advances in DNA testing in recent years, the USCIS should encourage petitioners to pursue this option, particularly if little other secondary evidence is available.  Secondary evidence that was created contemporaneous with the birth will be the most persuasive.

The full text of Matter of Rehman can be found here: