DNA tests for immigration allow a person to prove their relationship to a US citizen to support their immigration case. The providers need a cheek swab sample from the applicant and their ‘alleged’ relative, and these are then compared to see if there’s a genetic match.
Some providers will list the different types of relationship you can test for to support an immigration case e.g. paternity testing, maternity testing, sibling testing. Other providers will simply offer an ‘Immigration test’ or a ‘Relationship test’. Whichever test you choose, make sure the provider’s website indicates it’s valid for the purposes of immigration.
For relationships where one of the people being tested is not a parent or a child of the other (e.g. sibling testing), it’s advised that an additional relative is tested (e.g. a shared parent) to improve the accuracy of the result. However, testing an additional relative may cost extra.
Are DNA tests for immigration different to standard DNA tests?
The science is exactly the same but just like court admissible DNA tests, somebody official needs to observe the samples being taken so the authorities are assured that the samples came from the right people.
How quickly can it be done?
Immigration cases, especially appeals, can become very urgent. Some providers can produce results in 72 hours but bear in mind that this is just the processing period. The timeframe for the whole procedure (including arranging appointments) will be longer.
What’s a ‘full service’ provider?
Full service providers offer a lot more support than others to guide you through the process. Please note that even if you use one of these providers, you may still have to make and pay for the appointments at embassies yourself.
Appointments to take the samples
The applicant will traditionally have their test in their country of residence, and their relative – a US citizen – will have their test in the US.
It’s advised that the applicant applies to be tested by a certified sample collector in their country of residence, and that the US citizen makes an appointment to be tested with a medical professional. Make sure you’re able to arrange these appointments before buying the test!
Some providers have established large networks of sample collectors in countries around the world. This means that they may recommend a ‘collection point’ closer than the capital city in the applicant’s country of residence, to make things easier.