• "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 - Testing Procedures
Testing Procedures

DNA Testing Process:

Getting DNA Specimens Collected

Currently, the most widely used DNA sample collection method is the buccal swab kit. The collector uses the non-invasive buccal swabs to scrape the patients’ inner cheeks to collect loose cells. This method causes little discomfort to the patients and can be easily used for even newborn babies.

At the collection, all test participants are required to present government-issued identification (such as a driver’s license or passport) and to complete a client consent and chain-of-custody form. If the tested party is a minor (under 18 years old), the parent or legal guardian must sign this form.

Each tested party’s samples will be placed in a separate paper envelope properly labeled and verified by both the collector and the tested party.

The collector will also take photos of all tested parties or verify the individuals’ photos that they are asked to bring in.

DNA Test in the Laboratory

If the collection facility is only a sample collection affiliate, the DNA specimens will be shipped via courier service to the testing laboratory for processing. When the samples arrive in the laboratory, the staff will first check if there is any tampering done to the packaging and specimens. After that, the specimens will be logged in for further testing.

The first step in the laboratory testing process is DNA extraction, which involves extracting DNA from the swabs and purifying it. The purified DNA will then be prepared with a chemical mix for amplification through the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) process. This process targets special markers used for human identification purposes and makes billions of copies of each targeted marker.

Next, the amplified DNA markers will go through a genetic analyzer, which produces raw data to create a DNA profile of the tested party. The genetic scientists will then analyze the data, compare the genetic profiles of all tested parties, and conduct genetic statistic calculations. The statistical analysis determines the probability of relatedness, which is expressed as a percentage number. In a typical paternity or maternity case, the probability is 99% or higher for an inclusion (positive parentage relationship) or 0% for an exclusion (negative parentage relationship).

Reporting Test Results

After the results are generated, a genetic scientist will perform a technical review to make sure that the raw data and conclusions are consistent. The laboratory director will then sign the report. A typical DNA relationship test report will contain an allele size chart, a combined relationship index number, a percentage number for probability of relatedness, and a conclusion of inclusion or exclusion. 

The DNA test report will be sent out to all adult tested parties and the requesting government agency such as a child support agency or immigration office.