• "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 - DNA Specimen Collection Procedures
DNA Specimen Collection Procedures

A standard DNA specimen collection kit contains collection instructions, consent and chain-of-custody documents, buccal swabs in plastic wraps that keep them sterilized, and paper envelopes to store the swab samples after collection is completed.

In a strict chain-of-custody DNA test, the collection procedures start with verification of the tested parties’ identities. The tested parties need to present their government issued picture IDs such as passport or driver’s license to the DNA collector. The collector will make a copy of the IDs, which become part of the chain-of-custody documentation.

After that, each tested party and the collector will complete and sign a consent and chain of custody form. A minor’s consent form will be signed by a parent or legal guardian.

At the appointment, the collector will also take a photo of all tested parties for proper identification and documentation. In some cases, the tested parties may be asked to bring in their own passport ID pictures, which will be properly identified and signed by the collector.

The DNA collector is required to wear gloves to perform the buccal swab sample collection. Gloves need to be changed when collecting a different person so that cross contamination can be avoided.

First, the DNA collector takes the swabs out of the envelope; labels and initials the same paper envelope that will be used to place the collected samples. Then, the collector will tear the plastic wrap, which should be discarded immediately, and uses the swabs to collect the specimens from the tested party. Using the buccal swab, the collector will gently rub the tested party’s inner cheeks to collect loose cells that contain DNA. The collector will repeat this step until all swabs from the same plastic wrap are used on the same tested party. After that, the specimens are placed back in the labeled paper envelope. The tested party will then verify the information on the envelope and add his initials.

It is important to put the sample swabs directly into the paper envelopes instead of any plastic bags or wraps. The sealed environment in a plastic bag will cause bacteria and other molds to grow, which will degrade DNA and lower the success in obtaining viable DNA from the samples. Paper envelopes allow the samples to dry and breathe, which helps preserve viable DNA on the swab and stabilize the samples during shipping.

After all tested parties are collected, the collector will put all DNA sample envelopes and forms into a courier shipping envelope and send them to the DNA testing laboratory.