DNA relationship testing is suggested as a means of confirming the biological relationship between family members if needed to process a Consular Report of Birth Abroad and / or U.S. passport application. DNA tests may be suggested at a Consular Officer’s discretion. DNA testing, when properly conducted, is very accurate, and a positive result may resolve doubts about the relationship between a parent and a child.
You must use an Association for the Advancement of Blood and Biotherapies (AABB)-accredited relationship laboratory in the United States to conduct a DNA relationship test. The list of accredited relationship laboratories approved by the AABB can be found at aabb.org/dna. These laboratories have experience in cases originating outside of the United States. The cost of DNA tests can vary depending on the laboratory and can range from $400 to $1,000 USD. Results are usually available between two and three weeks after the laboratory receives the medical samples provided by the family members. The costs of all charges related to DNA tests are borne by the applicant.
One of the most important aspects of the testing process is the security of the samples taken from the individuals. Kits must be sent directly from the laboratory to the embassy. The chain-of-custody of the DNA testing kit must be maintained from the moment the samples are taken by the panel physician at the embassy until the DNA testing kit arrives at the laboratory in the United States. The embassy will contact the applicant to arrange the collection with the panel physician.
After the samples have been taken, the U.S. Embassy will assemble, secure, and ship the samples to the DNA relationship laboratory in the United States for analysis.
If a family member requesting a DNA test resides in the United States, the lab should help them arrange to have their DNA sample collected and returned directly to the laboratory. Once the DNA relationship laboratory has both samples, they will be analyzed, and the results issued.
Original notification of the results will be sent directly to the U.S. Embassy in Windhoek, and the U.S.-based laboratory will send separate copies sent to the applicants upon request. Once the embassy has received the original copy of the results, the Consular Report of Birth and/or passport application can proceed.
Questions regarding DNA relationship testing should be directed to the American Citizen Services (ACS) Unit at ACSWindhoek@state.gov.