DNA Tests

OVERVIEW

Periodically, DNA tests may be administered in order to establish the bona fides of a relationship when other evidence is unavailable or insufficient.  If you are denied a Consular Reports of Birth Abroad (CRBA) or are refused an immigrant visa under Section 221(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act for this reason you may request DNA testing.

Specimens are taken from the persons whose relationship is to be verified.  An approved laboratory in the U.S. analyzes the results. A consular officer will review the results and either approve the CRBA or visa application or uphold the original refusalThis test is highly accurate in determining blood relationships. Testing cannot show the ethnicity of applicants.

WHAT TYPE OF DNA SAMPLE METHOD IS USED?

Department of State guidelines indicate that only the buccal-swab method may be used for the collection of specimens.  At present, only results from the Polymerase Chain Reaction-Short Tandem Repeats (PCR-STR) and Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (RFLP) methods of DNA testing may be accepted.

DNA TESTING PROCESS

You are responsible for the entire cost of the procedure, to be paid in advance, and there is no guarantee that the case will be approved after the test. The petitioner may use any DNA laboratory accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) in the United States. Specimens from the applicant and, as needed, other persons must be collected in Vietnam by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). To apply for a DNA test, please follow these steps:

STEP 1: LOCATING AN ACCREDITED FACILITY

Contact one of the AABB-approved laboratories and provide a sample for testing.  The petitioner or parent(s) in the U.S. should work directly with the AABB-approved laboratory and not use a non-accredited laboratory as an intermediary in the process.

STEP 2: SPECIMEN COLLECTION KITS SENT TO U.S. EMBASSY/CONSULATE GENERAL FOR TAKING SAMPLES

The laboratory will then send a specimen collection kit for the applicant(s) as well as a prepaid Federal Express return envelope to the U.S. Embassy/Consulate General. If the testing is between applicants in Vietnam only, the petitioner or parent(s) in the U.S. should ask the AABB-approved laboratory to send the specimen collection kits directly to the address listed below. The specimen collection kit must include the following:

  • A copy of the original DNA request from the U.S. Embassy/Consulate General or the USCIS I-797 request form with the name and case number.
  • Contact information of the applicant(s) in Vietnam, i.e. local address and phone numbers.
  • A prepaid Federal Express return envelope or a Federal Express account number.

Laboratories should send the specimen collection kits via Federal Express only to:

U.S. Embassy Hanoi

U.S. Citizen Services Unit
Consular Section, U.S. Embassy
7 Lang Ha, Hanoi, Vietnam

U.S. Consulate Ho Chi Minh City

FPU – DNA collection kit
U.S. Consulate General
4 Le Duan Street, District 1
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

STEP 3: CONTACTING THE APPLICANTS FOR DNA APPOINTMENTS

Upon receipt of the specimen collection kit from the U.S. laboratory, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) will schedule an appointment with the applicant to collect specimens. Depending on the volume of DNA collection requests, wait times to schedule an appointment can vary. In general, we will schedule an appointment for applicants on a first-come, first-serve basis after receiving a specimen collection kit.   The applicant will be informed of the date and place of the appointment by telephone or letter. Therefore, it is important that the U.S. Embassy/Consulate General has the applicant’s correct address and contact information in Vietnam.

STEP 4: APPEARING AT THE U.S. EMBASSY/CONSULATE GENERAL FOR SAMPLE COLLECTION

  • NO SHOW – If the applicant cannot appear at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate General on the appointed day, he/she should contact the U.S. Embassy/Consulate General.  If the case pertains to a Consular Report of Birth Abroad contact American Citizen Services.  If the case is related to an Immigrant Visa, please notify us here.
  • Before the sample is collected the applicant will be required to provide the following:
    • Original and one copy of the Vietnamese passport of all applicants whose DNA is to be collected at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate General;
    • Original and one copy of the  Identification card of all applicants whose DNA is to be collected at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate General;
    • Original birth certificate or official extract birth certificate of all applicants whose DNA is to be collected at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate General;
    • US$60 per person for collection and document fees (payable to IOM in U.S. dollars); and
    • Two glossy un-retouched, un-mounted color photographs, 5cm x 5cm (2 inches x 2 inches) in size, with a white background. Face size should be about 2.6cm (one inch) from the top of the head to the chin. The subject should be facing completely forward towards the camera. The subject (or their guardian if under 18 years of age) must write the date of the test, their date of birth, print andsign their name on the backs of both photographs.

STEP 5: SAMPLES SENT TO U.S. APPROVED LABORATORIES FOR ANALYSIS

The U.S. Embassy/Consulate General will send the sample directly to the U.S. laboratory using the prepaid Federal Express package provided by the U.S. laboratory.  Please note that you are responsible for the following fees:

  • Cost of the collection kit, testing procedures, and shipping of the collection kit to and from the laboratory and the U.S. Embassy/Consulate General (payable to the laboratory).
  • A specimen collection fee of US$60 per applicant (U.S. dollars, payable to IOM at the time of collection).

STEP 6: DNA TEST RESULTS SENT TO U.S. EMBASSY/CONSULATE GENERAL FOR CONSULAR OFFICERS’ REVIEW

After analysis, the U.S. laboratory should mail the results, along with the applicant’s name and case number, to:

U.S. Embassy Hanoi

U.S. Citizen Services Unit
Consular Section, U.S. Embassy
7 Lang Ha, Hanoi, Vietnam

U.S. Consulate Ho Chi Minh City

FPU – DNA test results
U.S. Consulate General
4 Le Duan Street, District 1
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

A consular officer will review the results. If the results verify the claimed relationship, and all other ineligibilities have been resolved, the CRBA or Immigrant Visa will be issued. If the results do not verify that the claimed relationship exists, the original refusal will stand. The U.S. Embassy/Consulate General will contact the applicant or the petitioner after the final decision.

More information on the DNA process is available on our Department of State website.