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DNA Test Request

The U. S. Department of State and USCIS have to verify the claimed blood relationship that exists between the petitioner and beneficiaries in a family-based immigration case. To establish that a child born abroad acquires derivative U.S. citizenship, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) requires that a blood and a legal relationship exist between the child and the U.S. citizen parent. In situations where credible evidence is insufficient to prove the claimed biological relationship, these government agencies may suggest a DNA relationship test. The requirements for a proper DNA test are as follows:

Selecting a DNA Testing Laboratory

The laboratory must be an AABB-accredited DNA testing laboratory. These laboratories are approved by the Department of State and USCIS as DNA testing vendors when needed. The list of laboratories is available from the Department of State, American Citizens Services overseas, or from U.S. embassies and consulates upon request.

Collecting DNA Testing Samples

Cheek and blood samples are usually collected for DNA parentage testing. Cheek samples are collected from the inside of the mouth using a buccal swab. Tissue samples collected from deceased individuals may also be used for testing. In order to ensure the integrity of results, all stages of DNA testing must be conducted using appropriate procedures. These procedures include strict controls over chain of custody of the collected samples, identification of the tested parties (by photographs and/or fingerprints), and correct preparation of the test results.

The laboratory will provide DNA collection kits, packing and shipping materials, and instructions, which will be forwarded to the USCIS field office, U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. The immigration office will make arrangements for DNA samples to be drawn from parties residing abroad by a designated panel physician under the supervision of an immigration officer in some countries. The collected samples will then be shipped back to the AABB-accredited laboratory chosen by the participants.

DNA Test Results

In all phases of testing, communication must take place directly between the laboratory and the requesting immigration office. All DNA test results must be delivered by the laboratory to USCIS, U.S. embassy or consulate in a manner that prevents tampering. Under no circumstances should any other party, including those being tested, be permitted to carry or transport the DNA samples or test results. Since the applicant is bearing full financial responsibility for testing, the requesting immigration office has no objection to the tested parties receiving a copy of the results from the DNA testing laboratory they choose to conduct their test.

DNA Testing Expenses

All expenses for DNA testing must be paid by the immigration applicants including shipping costs for samples and results. The clients will negotiate the costs and payment method with their chosen DNA testing laboratory directly.

Accreditations: AABB is the regulating body for the DNA paternity and family relationship testing industry.
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