MTR Approved without Birth Certificate


  • Nationality: Chinese
  • Case: I-290B Motion to Reopen
  • Processing Time: 1 month
  • Challenges:
    1. USCIS denied her previous I-485 because she could not produce a birth certificate from Shanghai or Hong Kong.
    2. Jang was birthed at home in Shanghai during a time of war, so her birth was never officially recorded.
    3. Although she became a Hong Kong Citizen in the 1950s, she was not born there, so she could not produce a Hong Kong birth certificate.
    4. Since she was unaccounted for in the Household Registration system, she was unable to obtain a Chinese National ID, which is needed to request a birth certificate.
    5. She lost contact with her family since the 1960s, so she did not have any relevant family documentation.


At 88 years old, Ms. Jang had lived an eventful and tumultuous life. She was birthed at home in Shanghai by a midwife during a time when the city was at war. At just 5 years old, her mother abandoned the family in an effort to escape the violence, and at 8, Ms. Jang began working to help provide for her struggling family. During this time, war and chaos intensified in Shanghai that spilled over into World War II. By the time she was 18 years old, Ms. Jang had moved to Hong Kong and established a new life, frequently sending money and medicine back home to Shanghai to provide for her father and younger sister. When her father passed away in the 1960s, Ms. Jang unfortunately also lost contact with her sister, her only known remaining biological family member.

After the death of Ms. Jang’s husband, she remained in Hong Kong without any reliable support, family, or loved ones. Living alone at 88 years old, Ms. Jang’s children wanted her to relocate to the U.S. so she could be better cared for in her old age. They petitioned Ms. Jang and filed her I-485, but was devastated when they received a notice by USCIS who denied Ms. Jang’s application because she did not submit a birth certificate. Desperate to remain united with their mother, they came to Tsang & Associates for help.


When Ms. Jang and her children approached Tsang & Associates, they had very little hope that the case could be reopened. Demoralized, they explained that it was simply impossible to present a birth certificate that USCIS required, as it did not even exist. They further explained that the avenues to obtain a birth certificate were impossible as well, as Ms. Jang did not possess a Chinese National ID, she had no documentation of her parents’ identification, and she had already lost contact with her sister, the only relative that could provide any assistance in this matter. Difficult, but not impossible, Tsang & Associates began working to file Ms. Jang’s Motion to Reopen.

Because Ms. Jang did not have a birth certificate, which was the grounds to why her I-485 was denied, we knew that we had to argue extensively and persuasively with USCIS as to why she was unable to produce one. We first began by detailing Ms. Jang’s birth and childhood, explaining the circumstances that led to her birth being unaccounted for in Shanghai. In addition, we explained that she was never enrolled in school or any institution that required her to produce a birth certificate. As a result, she never had a reason to obtain one to verify her birth. We provided historical background of the wars that plagued Shanghai and the destructive effects that they had on families, livelihoods, records, and possessions, as well as the policies that created birth certificates and National IDs, which were enacted well after Ms. Jang had already relocated to Hong Kong.

We further justified Ms. Jang’s lack of a Chinese birth certificate by arguing that her Hong Kong passport and identification should be sufficient to prove her identity. Ms. Jang legally received her Hong Kong Permanent Residency and had lived and worked there for 35 years. Calling Hong Kong her home, she did not see it necessary to return to China in 1985 to obtain her National ID, the ID that is needed to obtain a birth certificate. Moreover, Ms. Jang knew it would be impossible to obtain her National ID, as she did not meet any of the criteria to request it.

Finally, we plead with USCIS for Ms. Jang to remain with her children in the U.S. Ms. Jang had no prior criminal history, was an upstanding citizen in Hong Kong, and her children simply wanted her to stay in the U.S. so she could spend the remainder of her life with family. We emphasized that Ms. Jang’s inability to produce a birth certificate should not be a reason for her case to be denied.


After carefully arguing Ms. Jang’s upstanding character and her inability to obtain a birth certificate, we submitted her case to USCIS. Her family was desperate for their mother to remain in the U.S., and Ms. Jang did not want to live the remaining years of her life in fear of being deported to Hong Kong. A month after filing, Ms. Jang and her family received the news that they never thought they would receive- USCIS reopened and reconsidered her case! Having already lost her father, mother, husband, and only sister, Ms. Jang can now happily and peacefully enjoy her life in the United States surrounded by the love of her children.

*Name has been changed to protect client identity

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