Relationship fraud for immigrant visa purposes is a major problem in the Philippines, and the burden of proof is upon the petitioner and/or parent to establish the claimed relationship. We sometimes are compelled to ask applicants to take additional steps to establish relationships. In the absence of any conclusive evidence, Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) testing is the most accurate and widely available technology to establish a biological relationship. DNA testing is entirely voluntary. The petitioner must decide whether to avail of DNA testing.
The U.S. Department of State requires locally administered DNA tests to be processed by a laboratory that is accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB). The preferred specimen collection technique for DNA testing is by buccal (cheek or mouth cavity) swab. Names of AABB accredited labs can be found on http://www.aabb.org/sa/facilities/Pages/RTestAccrFac.aspx . The AABB is located at 8101 Glenbrook Road, Bethesda, MD 20814-2749. The AABB can be reached by telephone at (301) 907-6977 or by fax at (301) 907-6895. The AABB's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
The petitioner must select an AABB-accredited laboratory and make the necessary arrangements for conducting the DNA test, including payment for all tested parties. Petitioners should not use third-party vendors to select their laboratory, to arrange appointments or to transport the specimens outside of the laboratory chain-of-custody controls. The DNA samples for the petitioner must be collected at a designated AABB testing site, laboratory or clinic. The AABB laboratory selected by the petitioner will send a test kit, including a pre-paid, pre-addressed return envelope and explicit sampling instructions, directly to the Embassy’s Consular Section:
Consular Section - FPU
1201 Roxas Blvd., Ermita
1000 Manila, Philippines
When the kit arrives, the Embassy’s Consular Section notifies St. Luke’s Medical Extension Clinic of the kit’s arrival. St. Luke’s then contacts the applicant to offer an appointment. The cost for the collection of the DNA samples is P1,500, which must be paid at St. Luke’s. The applicant must bring his or her passport and a photograph to his or her DNA sample collection appointment.
The applicant’s DNA sample collection will be administered at the Embassy’s Consular Section by St. Luke’s medical personnel. Once the DNA collection is completed, the DNA sample will be shipped by the Embassy to the AABB-accredited laboratory selected by the petitioner in the United States. The AABB-accredited laboratory will send the test results directly to the Embassy’s Consular Section.
As DNA testing reliability has advanced to the industry-accepted standard of 99.5 percent, consular officers may only accept test results reporting a 99.5 percent or greater degree of certainty with respect to paternity/maternity as sufficient to support a biological relationship between a parent and child in visa cases.