DNA Testing for Immigration: Requirements and Recommendations

Apr 14, 2017 | Immigration DNA Testing

Requirements for DNA testing for immigration

Are you considering doing DNA testing for immigration purposes? There are specific steps needed to do an immigration DNA test properly, ensuring you or your loved one don’t hit any delays or other problems during this very important process. Additionally, in order to standardize immigration requests, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency (USCIS) worked with the U.S. Department of State and American Embassies worldwide to develop specific rules for DNA testing labs to follow.

As a highly-accredited and widely-respected DNA laboratory, DNA Diagnostics Center (DDC) is committed to following these rules and maintaining the highest possible standards for DNA testing for immigration. Here are requirements for testing that you should be aware of, along with recommendations for immigration DNA testing.

The Four (4) Requirements: DNA Testing for Immigration

1.The DNA testing laboratory must be AABB-accredited

As one of the longest-operating and largest DNA labs in the country, DDC maintains the very highest levels of accreditation. We are accredited not only by AABB, but also other major accreditation organizations like ANAB, CAP, NYSDOH, CLIA, and more.

2.Chain-of-custody documentation must be used for all immigration DNA tests

An immigration petitioner cannot go to a retail store and purchase a paternity kit for the purposes of proving a biological relationship. A qualified, third-party DNA sample collector must receive a kit directly from the lab (see #3 below) and supervise all aspects of the test, including handling paperwork, verifying IDs of participants, and witnessing the sample collection. This ensures what is called an intact “chain of custody” process that prevents fraud.

3.The DNA testing laboratory must ship sample collection kits directly to a U.S. Embassy or an Embassy-approved DNA collection site

In compliance with this requirement, DDC ships sealed collection kits in order to maintain chain-of-custody for immigration DNA testing. DDC’s DNA collection kits are easy to use and contain specific and detailed instructions, making it simple for the DNA collector to do their job. The collector uses the kits, signs all related documentation and then sends samples back to the lab for processing.

4.The lab must coordinate testing directly with the U.S. Embassy or USCIS center and not through the petitioner

Although petitioners can access results themselves on their secure account with a username and password, the DNA lab must also send the results of the immigration DNA test directly to the Embassy or USCIS center.

Recommendations for DNA Testing for Immigration

Although these are not requirements, the USCIS has made the following best-practice recommendations to DNA labs:

The results of the DNA test (both for paternity and maternity) must produce a relationship probability of 99.5% or greater.

DDC routinely provides relationship probabilities of 99.99% or higher when performing paternity and maternity tests. If the probability does not meet the 99.5% threshold, our lab tests more markers and performs additional testing when needed in order to strengthen results and meet this requirement.

The preferred method of DNA collection is buccal (cheek) swab collection and the preferred method for testing is PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction).

Cheek swabbing is a non-invasive and pain-free method of DNA collection and PCR testing is the most technologically up-to-date way to extract and process DNA. DDC uses both buccal swabs and PCR testing for all testing, including for immigration.


Final Thoughts about DNA Testing for Immigration

Immigration DNA testing is some of the most important work we do at DDC, and we take that responsibility very seriously. From start to finish, we are careful to follow all requirements listed above to help the process go as smoothly as possible.  Not all labs are created equal, so be sure to research your options before making a choice.

Call us at 800-929-0847: We’re here to help.

Do you have questions or comments about immigration DNA testing? Share in the comments and we’ll answer.



  1. Atubiga pius avoka

    I did my for almost four months now and I have not received the result yet

    • DDC

      Hi! Our immigration experts cannot locate your case with the email address associated with this comment. Are you sure your immigration test is being done through our company? The only reason we can think of for the delay is that we have not received DNA samples from all participants. Sometimes embassies can take months to make all arrangements with participating parties and then send us samples. You are welcome to contact us directly at 800-831-1906 and we’ll do our best to help you find some answers.

  2. Ann

    The Embassy has to demand for the DNA test before someone go for it, someone cannot just woke up and go for the test right

    • DDC

      Hi, Ann. There is a whole process that must be followed, yes, in order for test results to be used for immigration. For more info, call us directly at 800-681-7162.


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