DNA testing is used when other documentation is unavailable or unsatisfactory. For example, not all countries issue birth certificates acceptable to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Department, part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. In other cases, birth certificates are lost, appear to be altered or are non-existent, so verification of a relationship must come from genetic testing.
DNA testing is used when Americans have begun the process of adopting an orphan or abandoned child from another country. When the parents' or mother's DNA can be tested so that they can be properly identified, officials can confirm that consent has been given for the child's adoption by others.
The USCIS will accept DNA test results only from labs accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks, or AABB, which is the agency that sets the standards for DNA testing for its member labs.
DNA testing for immigration does add significantly to the cost and the time required to complete the immigration process. There has been some confusion among those who require the testing and those who must be tested regarding whether it is necessary when other documentation seems to be in order, so the advice of an immigration lawyer may be a good idea if you are unsure about what is being asked.
Americans can present results of DNA tests when they apply for citizenship to other countries. For example, those who wish to claim Israeli citizenship may produce evidence that their genetic profile indicates Jewish ancestry. However, such evidence is not always acceptable to immigration officials in other countries.