POMS Reference

GN 00307: Foreign Evidence

TN 58 (06-18)

A. Introduction to evaluating evidence from Bhutan

Vital statistics records from Bhutan are not reliable. Bhutan does not keep a centralized vital statistics system. The government does not keep records of birth or death, nor does it issue birth or death certificates. Hospitals in Bhutan do issue records of birth for children born there. Local villages maintain death records, but do not issue death certificates.

The government does maintain records of marriage and divorce as Bhutanese law requires the registration of all marriages and divorces. The government does issue numeric ID cards to every citizen. However, except for passports, Bhutanese documents do not have any security features and are vulnerable to fraud.

B. Policy for accepting evidence from Bhutan

We do not accept evidence from Bhutan at face value.

C. Procedure for developing evidence from Bhutan

1. Obtaining evidence of age for people born in Bhutan

If the claimant lives in the United States, develop for convincing evidence of age as explained in

  • GN 00302.115 First Priority Automatically Convincing Evidence of Age

  • GN 00302.118 Second Priority Automatically Convincing Evidence of Age

  • GN 00302.125 Combination of Documents Which Eliminate the Need for Further Development — Age

If the claimant resides outside the United States, develop for other evidence to prove age as explained in GN 00307.150C.2.b.

2. Obtaining evidence of other events that occurred in Bhutan

Do not ask the claimant to submit evidence from Bhutan.

Develop for secondary evidence or other non-Bhutanese evidence according to the evidentiary requirements for the type of claim filed. For information on determining what evidence SSA requires, see GN 00301.140.

Obtain evidence issued at least five years before the claimant first filed for benefits. If the event occurred less than five years before the claimant first filed for benefits, obtain evidence issued as close to the event date as possible.

3. Verification of evidence from Bhutan

Follow these instructions if the claimant submitted evidence from Bhutan.

a. When to request verification of evidence from Bhutan

Request verification of evidence from Bhutan only if:

  1. there is no secondary non-Bhutanese evidence; or

  2. we cannot make a decision based on the other evidence; or

  3. the verified Bhutanese document would be sufficient to establish

    1. the factor of entitlement or

    2. a more advantageous date as explained in GN 00204.040.

b. How to request verification of evidence from Bhutan

If any of the situations in GN 00307.362C.3.a in this section apply, take the following steps:

  1. Scan a clear and complete copy (front and back) of the document into the electronic folder using the Non-Disability Repository for Evidentiary Documents (NDRed). For an overview of NDRed, see

    • GN 00301.319 The Purpose of Non Disability Repository Application (NDRed)

    • GN 00301.310 The Non Disability Repository for Evidentiary Documents (NDRed) Application—Overview

  2. Access the Electronic 562 and prepare a “Request for Assistance/Certification of Documents or Records” as follows:

    1. Request that the Regional Federal Benefits Officer (RFBO) obtain the assistance of the servicing Federal Benefits Unit (FBU) or the Foreign Service Post (FSP) – see NOTE below.

    2. Include a remark that the document is available in the Claims File User Interface (CFUI). For information on CFUI, see SM 08001.000.

    3. Specify that we require a personal examination of the source record. (The source record reveals whether the document is accurate, unaltered, and made at the time stated).

    4. Ask the RFBO to ask that FBU or FSP obtain a current certification, if the verification shows the claimant submitted a document that differs materially from the source record.

    5. Do not send the SSA-562 directly to the RFBO. Send the form to office code E15 in the International Benefits Office (IBO), the Office of Earnings and International Operations (OEIO), Division of International Operations (DIO). For information on requesting assistance in foreign cases, see GN 00904.220.

NOTE: There is no FSP in Bhutan. However, the FBU can request FSP in New Delhi, India for verification of Bhutanese documents through the Royal Bhutanese Embassy in New Delhi.