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DNA Procedures

DNA Procedures – [Pursuant to 9 FAM 601.11-1 (C) (8)]

DNA Testing

A consular officer may suggest you undergo DNA testing to establish a biological relationship before he or she can perform a consular service for you or your family members.  Unless the claimed relationship is established to the consular officer’s satisfaction, the Embassy cannot issue a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA), minor passport, or visa.

When do we suggest DNA testing? 

DNA testing is a useful tool for verifying an alleged biological relationship and is most commonly used to verify a parent/child relationship in conjunction with a citizenship case or an immigrant visa application.  Due to the expense and logistical delays involved, DNA testing is only recommended as a last resort, when insufficient documentary proof of the relationship exists.  DNA testing is always voluntary. The applicant must pay all the costs of testing and related expenses directly to the laboratory in the U.S., to the panel physician who will collect the DNA sample, and any courier fees incurred from sending testing kits and results between the laboratory and the embassy.

Outline of the Process

To initiate the process, you must choose an accredited laboratory in the United States to perform the DNA analysis (see Step 1 below).   The laboratory in the U.S. will take the DNA sample of the individual living in the U.S., and will mail a DNA collection kit to the U.S. Embassy for use in collecting the DNA of the subject living in Burkina Faso.  Once the Embassy receives a collection kit in an applicant’s name, the applicant will be contacted by telephone and given an appointment to have his or her DNA sample taken at the U.S. Embassy in Ouagadougou.  The applicant must pay the panel physician’s fee at the time of the collection.

Step 1: Applicant/Petitioner Selects a Laboratory

The laboratory you select to perform the DNA analysis must be one which is accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB).  A list of such laboratories can be found on the Internet at www.aabb.org/dna[Open the link on that page to AABB Accredited Relationship (DNA) Testing Facilities.] The laboratory will take the required samples for the individual(s) in the United States and will send, by courier in a prepaid envelope, a collection kit directly to the U.S. Embassy in Ouagadougou: Consular Section, U.S. Embassy, Avenue, Sembene Ousmane, Secteur 53, Ouaga 2000, Rue 15.873. Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

The petitioner will pay all fees charged by the laboratory in the U.S. including shipping to and sending kits from the Embassy

Step 2: Embassy Receives DNA Kit and Notifies Applicant

Once the Embassy receives a DNA kit from an accredited laboratory in the United States, the applicant who needs to provide the DNA sample will be contacted and provided with an appointment to come to the Embassy for DNA collection. This contact will generally be made via telephone to the contact number which was provided to the contracted laboratory.  (Alternately, contact may be by email.)  Note that sample collection is completed by appointment only.

The party to be tested will be provided the following Instructions Prior to the Appointment:

Avoid putting anything in your mouth for at least an hour prior to the collection of the cheek-cell samples.  In other words, NO eating, drinking (except water), brushing teeth, smoking, or chewing gum.

Even babies being tested should NOT nurse or have a bottle for at least 1 hour prior to DNA testing

Explanation: Foreign particles from these products don’t alter a DNA test, but they can mask it, degrading the sample and rendering it unusable for establishing the paternity/maternity.

Step 3: Applicant Appears at the Embassy for the Collection Appointment

On the day of the collection appointment, the applicant (with his/her parent or legal guardian, if a minor under 18 years of age) must arrive at the Consular entrance of the U.S. Embassy at the appointed hour and with the following required documents for each applicant/person being tested:

passport or government-issued national I.D. card containing a photograph of the person being tested (or, if seeking a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) for a baby, the birth certificate of the baby);

2 photographs (5cmx5cm with a white background) of each person being tested;

50.000 FCFA per applicant to pay the doctor collecting the samples;

Any additional documents requested at the time the appointment is made.

At the time of testing, a consular official will verify the identity of the donor by photo identification.

All DNA samples will be taken by the panel physician at a designated location within the consular section, one applicant at a time.  The consular official will witness the entire process to ensure the integrity of the DNA sample, will store the sample in a secured location, and will ship the sample by DHL (in a pre-paid envelope) within 24-48 hours after collection.

Step 4: Applicant is Notified of Test Results

For cases in which applicants have been referred for DNA testing by the consular officer at the U.S. Embassy, once the analysis is done, the laboratory will send the results directly to the Embassy. Once the Embassy receives the results, we will contact the applicant in order to continue processing his or her application.

Please note that the Embassy will not provide the applicant with a copy of the laboratory results; for copies of the results, please contact the laboratory directly.