US Immigration News

USCIS Allows DNA Evidence to Prove Sibling Relationships

2.25 minute read
"Thousands of foreign nationals immigrate to the US every year through family-based visa programs. Having a family member who is a US citizen or lawful permanent resident can help you obtain a Green Card (Permanent Resident Card). However, the most difficult task in applying for such visas is providing proof of your relationship with the concerned family member. Be it your spouse, sibling, or parent, you will be required to submit proof of relationship to be considered eligible for such visa programs."
Written by My Visa Source Team
Published on:  Jun 15, 2021
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Thousands of foreign nationals immigrate to the US every year through family-based visa programs. Having a family member who is a US citizen or lawful permanent resident can help you obtain a Green Card (Permanent Resident Card). However, the most difficult task in applying for such visas is providing proof of your relationship with the concerned family member. Be it your spouse, sibling, or parent, you will be required to submit proof of relationship to be considered eligible for such visa programs. 

It is particularly difficult for siblings to prove their relationship if they have different parents. For a sibling relationship, both applicants and the petitioner must have at least 1 parent in common. Previously, to prove such relationships, only marriage and birth certificates were allowed to be presented as evidence. Other than that, supporting documents including medical or school records, religious documents and written statements by witnesses who are acquainted with both individuals were allowed to be presented as evidence for sibling relationships. 

What Changes Have Occurred with Family-Based Visa Programs?

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) updated this rule to allow applicants to provide DNA evidence to support their sibling relationship. This applies to both full and half-siblings. The DNA test must be done in a lab accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB). Only a DNA test result showing a 90% or higher probability of being related will be accepted as evidence for sibling relationships. 

Those who received a result between 9%-89% will be considered inconclusive while any percentage lower than that will be considered discrediting the sibling relationship. 

This update was necessary to improve the agency’s accuracy and their ability to evaluate the eligibility of the applicants and the petitioner for the concerned family-based visa. This will help USCIS officials to make use of the present technology to effectively make immigration decisions.

When Will DNA Evidence Be Required?

If the primary evidence is unavailable or unreliable, then the USCIS will suggest and accept a DNA test result as evidence for a half or full sibling relationship. There is currently no regulatory authority affiliated with the USCIS that can overlook DNA testing. Therefore, only DNA test results from AABB-accredited laboratories will be accepted.

However, a DNA test result can not be presented as evidence alone. The USCIS will only ask for a DNA test if the primary and secondary evidence submitted was unreliable or not substantive. Only in such cases will the USCIS suggest using a DNA test to provide evidence of a relationship.

This is good news for many immigrants as it allows them to rely on substantial proof instead of just the discretion of an immigration officer. 

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