Instructions for DNA Testing
DNA genetic testing is at times suggested as the final means of confirming the biological relationship between two individuals. It is not normally a requirement of the Embassy, and is only suggested in the most problematic of cases. DNA testing, when properly conducted, is virtually 100 percent accurate, and a positive result will assuage any doubt about the relationship.
The Embassy maintains a list of laboratories in the United States that are accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) to perform genetic testing. The cost of the testing can vary, depending on which laboratory is used and whether or not the results are expedited. Fees normally range between $600 and $1,000, and the results are available between two and eight weeks after the laboratory receives the samples for analysis. Costs for testing and related charges are borne by the individuals being tested.
One of the most important aspects of the testing process is the security of the samples taken from the two individuals. The chain of custody must be maintained from the moment the samples are taken by the physician until the kit arrives at the laboratory. Following the instructions below will ensure the validity of the test results.
- The applicant or his or her guardian must contact the AABB-accredited laboratory in the U.S. to request that they send the testing kit to the Embassy. Authorized laboratories can be found here: http://www.aabb.org/sa/facilities/Pages/RTestAccrFac.aspx
- Payment must be made to the U.S. laboratory before the laboratory will send the DNA kit to the Embassy.
- Once the applicant initiates the process with the U.S. laboratory and the DNA sample collection kit is sent to the Embassy, the applicant will be contacted by the Embassy to schedule an appointment to have the DNA sample taken. The collection of the sample will be done only in the Embassy.
- The sample will be taken by an authorized laboratory technician at the U.S. Embassy in the presence of a consular officer. The consular officer will assemble and secure the package and return it by express courier to the U.S. laboratory.
- If one of the individuals being tested resides in the United States, they should arrange to have the sample taken in the U.S. at a designated AABB testing site, lab, or clinic. The laboratory should be the same laboratory that will process the person residing in Belize.
An original notification of the results will be sent directly to the Embassy, with a separate copy sent to the tested individuals. Once the Embassy has received its original copy, the case may proceed.