• "The laboratory you select must be accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks(AABB)... Under no circumstances should a third party be involved in the process of selecting a lab, scheduling the appointment, or any other process outlined in the next steps."

    U.S. Department of State
  • "Please be aware that many non-accredited businesses advertise on the Internet as being AABB-accredited. It is important to note that these "resellers" - who are not AABB-accredited - will claim to use an accredited lab for their testing. For the purpose of this request, samples collected from and comparative tests arranged through "resellers" will not be accepted. "

    USCIS - California Service Center
  • "The test must be performed directly through an AABB-accredited facility. Please visit the AABB website (ww.aabb.org) to find an accredited lab, which will also coordinate the testing of the claimed relative - if they reside overseas. Please be aware that many non-accredited businesses advertise on the Internet as being AABB-accredited. "

    USCIS - California Service Center
Home - DNA Test for Immigration - Immigration DNA Tests
Immigration DNA Tests

In a family-based immigration case, the claimed blood relationship needs to be verified to satisfy the U.S. immigration requirements. When primary documents such as birth certificate, marriage certificate, and school records are not adequate or sufficient, DNA relationship testing can be used to prove or disprove the claimed blood relationship. 

Every person’s DNA is unique except for identical twins. Most DNA contains coding information for features and functions. There is some non-coding genetic material called junk DNA, which genetic scientists found is useful for identification. There are some special markers on the junk DNA, which are highly variable among individuals. Since half of our DNA comes from the father and half from the mother, there is a match of those special markers between parents and children.

DNA relationship testing is based on this fact and considered to be 100% accurate in determining parentage scientifically. It is also a very useful tool to verify relatedness since siblings and those related by a close blood relationship will share many common DNA markers.

The most frequently requested DNA relationship tests by the U. S. immigration authorities include paternity, maternity, and siblingship tests.
A DNA paternity test verifies if a father-son relationship exists between a man and a child. In this test, at least 13 core loci / markers (locations on DNA) for human identification will be examined. A genetic profile consisting of allele sizes on the tested loci or markers will be generated for each tested party. The data will then be analyzed and compared to see if there is a match on the same location between parent and child.

The frequency of occurrence of a match on the tested markers is different.  If there is a match between the tested individuals for a particular marker, an index number (Relationship Index or RI) is assigned for the marker, and this value will reflect the probability of finding this match. If there is a non-match, the index number for that location is 0. After multiplying the index numbers for all these tested markers (Combined Relationship Index), the report will conclude with a percentage number, which is known as the probability of relatedness. In a paternity or maternity test, the probability of parentage is usually 99% or higher, which positively confirms the relationship or 0%, which excludes the tested parent from being biologically related to the tested child.

A partial report for a paternity test will display data as follows:

DNA Marker Child Alleged Father Relationship Index (RI)
D8S1179
14, 16
11, 16
3.6232
D21S11
29, 30
29, 31
1.0730
D7S820
10, 11
10, 12
2.6556

This partial report shows that the alleged father and the child have matches on the three markers. The complete report will show matches or non-matches for all tested markers on at least 13 core loci. If they all match, the probability of paternity can be 99% or higher, proving the father-son relationship conclusively. If  more than one system* do not match, the probability of paternity will be 0%, excluding the alleged father from being biologically related to the tested child.

A DNA siblingship test verifies if two individuals share one or both of their parents. While a parent and a child have 100% of the chance for sharing at least one allele size on a marker, siblings have only 50% of the chance for sharing the same allele size on a given marker, making the frequency of occurrence less likely. The siblingship index system is applied to indicate the importance of a match on each tested marker, which helps calculate the probability of relatedness.

Because of less frequency of occurrence for the same allele to appear on any given markers among siblings, the probability of relatedness can range widely. However, it is often possible to achieve probability of 99% or higher in a full siblingship test. The probability of relatedness for a half-siblingship test can be significantly lower since these individuals will only share 25% of their genetic material.

This can sometimes lead results that are inconclusive. In this situation, some genetic scientists suggest that parentage test should be performed if any parent(s) is available for testing so that the siblingship can be confirmed indirectly through one of their parents.

* Occasionally, true parents may mismatch their child’s profile in one system.  Such results are typically due to mutations that occur during the formation of sperm and egg.  These mutations arise occasionally and do not affect the health of the individuals.  The calculated final value of the relationship index will generally be reduced from 300 to 2,000-fold depending on the type and location of the mutation.