Why Is Immigration DNA Testing Needed?

Posted on October 30, 2013

DNA testing is still a relatively new technology. Individuals, organizations, agencies, and governments are finding new uses for DNA testing all the time. One of the newest uses for DNA testing revolves around Immigration – specifically family-based immigration. This article discusses the primary reasons why immigration DNA testing is needed.

U.S. Citizens and Legal Permanent Residents are permitted to petition immediate family members for entrance into the United States. There is an unlimited amount of visas granted each year for family-based petitioners. There are many requirements for acquiring a family-based visa. The petitioner must fill out a form I-130, submit an affidavit of support proving that they can support the beneficiary, and also submit proof that they are biologically related to the beneficiary. Immigration DNA testing proves the biological relationship.

The petitioner submits the I-130 along with primary evidence such as a birth certificate to show a biological relationship with the beneficiary. There are issues that can arise during this process. First, the father or mother is not listed on the birth certificate. Second the birth certificate is issued more than a few months after the birth of the child. Third, no birth certificate is available. In any of these situations the U.S. Embassy or the Visa Service Center is likely to issue a Request For Evidence(RFE). The RFE requests further proof by means of immigration DNA testing.

Immigration DNA is requested as a means of fraud prevention by the U.S. Immigration Department. INS began a voluntary DNA testing program for African refugees in 2007. They found that out of all the refugees who claimed biological relationships, only 20% could prove it with DNA testing. The rest either refused testing, or the results came back negative. This has raised some eyebrows within the Immigration Department.

The increase in the number of immigration DNA test requests is expected to increase in the coming years. Although the test is fairly expensive, some laboratories are able to complete the testing in as little as two weeks.
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