Can I submit DNA test results even if USCIS has not asked for them?

Waiting until USCIS specifically asks for test results offers cost and other advantages.

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Question

I am a naturalized U.S. citizen, originally from Afghanistan. I want to petition for my brother to come live in the United States. But he doesn’t have a birth certificate. I think this means we will need to get DNA tests. I want to save time. Can we just take the tests right away and send the results with my petition rather than waiting for the U.S. government to ask for them?

Answer

There are at least four reasons why you might be better off waiting for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to suggest that you get a DNA test before submitting any DNA test results along with your I-130 visa petition. (USCIS will likely make that suggestion by sending you a Request for Evidence (RFE) in response to your petition.)

The first reason for not getting a DNA test in advance is that DNA testing is not required, and would require more effort than other means of proving the family relationship.

While it is true that the absence of a birth certificate will likely lead USCIS to urge that you obtain a DNA test, you should first consider submitting alternative documents. These might include affidavits — which are notarized letters from family members, friends and other persons who have knowledge of the circumstances of your brother’s birth, or of his relationship to you.

If USCIS informs you of the insufficiency or inadequacy of such documents, then submitting a DNA test would be appropriate — that is, as a measure of last resort.

The second reason for not getting a DNA test in advance is that DNA testing can be expensive and complicated. In your case, in order to meet the expected standard of proof, you might be required to submit not only your and your brother’s results, but also your parents’ — since your relationship to your brother obtains through them. This may cause some inconvenience.

The third reason for not getting a DNA test in advance is that USCIS will accept DNA testing only in accordance with its own strict criteria. For example, currently, the agency accepts only test results that come from laboratories accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB). The best way to make sure that you are following the appropriate guidelines is to follow the instructions sent to you by USCIS once your visa petition for your brother is pending.

The fourth reason for not getting a DNA test in advance is that your brother will need to take his own test at the U.S. consulate in Kabul. However, U.S. consulates often refuse to process DNA tests until USCIS issues a formal “request.” After all, until your petition is sent to USCIS, your brother will likely have no basis at all to receive a consular appointment.

In sum, though it is understandable that you would want to save time, it might be still be wiser to wait.

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