DNA testing for UK visa and immigration applications – what you need to know

DNA test to apply for a visa so that a child can settle with you in the UK

Immigration DNA testing is often required when a UK citizen is applying for a visa or passport so that a child can settle in the UK. This is because proof is needed by the Passport Office, Home Office, UK embassy or consulate that the person seeking to immigrate is indeed a blood relative. This is because DNA testing is the most scientific and accurate way to prove that two or more individuals are biologically related. For example, if a child is born abroad to a parent or parents who are citizens of the UK, a Home Office approved DNA test needs to confirm maternity and/or paternity to allow the child to be granted a visa and UK citizenship.

A wide range of DNA testing to apply for a visa is available from AlphaBiolabs to determine family relationships, including paternity tests, maternity tests, sibling tests, grandparent tests, aunt and uncle tests, and Y chromosome tests. All can be used for immigration cases, applications and appeals, and results are provided with an unprecedented turnaround time.

The government advice is to use a testing laboratory that has ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation. AlphaBiolabs has this accreditation and is on the government-accredited list of testing laboratories. In addition, the sample collection process requires an independent witness to take your sample. In the UK, AlphaBiolabs has a network of sample collectors that can collect a DNA sample from an address of your choice or at one of our 11 nationwide Walk in Centres. The sample collector follows strict guidelines to maintain chain of custody conditions to ensure validity of the test and avoid any suspicion of fraud. Under these strict collection conditions, there is no chance of the sample being interfered with and the results are therefore admissible in a UK court or immigration hearing.

DNA sample collection abroad can also be arranged directly by AlphaBiolabs. We have a large international collection network available to take DNA samples and regularly work with immigration centres, consulates and embassies worldwide. To date, we have collected samples from 90 countries.

How does a DNA test for a visa work?

No blood samples are needed for an immigration DNA test. Swabs are used to painlessly collect cheek (buccal) cells from the inside of the mouth. When these samples are returned to our laboratory, our DNA scientists extract the DNA from the cheek cell samples. Our laboratory is one of only a few accredited to test up to 42 DNA Short Tandem Repeats (STR) markers as standard; most relationship tests are performed using only 16 STR markers. STR markers are specific locations on a chromosome made up of sequences of repeated DNA. These STR markers are highly variable in length between individuals. Each individual has two copies of each STR marker, known as alleles: one is inherited from the father and the other from the mother.

The two alleles observed at each STR marker are compared between the tested individuals. The correspondence of alleles between tested individuals provides evidence of a relationship between them. Statistical calculations are then performed to determine the probability of the tested individuals sharing a relationship.

Useful links and a more detailed article on this subject can be found on our Learning Centre.

Our accredited Ministry of Justice-approved DNA testing laboratory has its UK immigration test accepted by the Home Office, Her Majesty’s Passport Office, UK Visas and Immigration, the UK Border Agency and UK courts. If you require an immigration test for yourself, a relative or a client please call AlphaBiolabs on 0333 600 1300 for a quote.

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