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 West Africa. Once the Embassy receives a collection kit in an applicant’s name, the applicant will be contacted by email and given an appointment to have his or her DNA sample taken at the U.S. Embassy in Bamako. The applicant must pay the panel physician’s fee at the time of the collection, and must obtain a pre-paid DHL envelope for the Embassy to use to send his/her DNA sample to the laboratory in the United States.
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 at the Internet at http://www.aabb.org. The laboratory will take the required samples for the individual(s) in the United States, and will send, by courier, a collection kit to the U.S. Embassy in Bamako:
U.S. Embassy Bamako
Rue 243, Porte 297
Step 2: Embassy Receives DNA Kit and Notifies Applicant
Once the Embassy receives a DNA kit from an accredited laboratory in the United States, we will ensure that the kit has not been opened or damaged. We will then contact the applicant who needs to provide a DNA sample, and provide him or her with an appointment to come to the Embassy for the DNA collection.
Step 3: Applicant Appears at the Embassy for the Collection Appointment
The day of your collection appointment, you must appear at the Embassy with the following:
- Your passport, along with two copies of your passport (or another form of photo identification)
- Two passport photos
- Money to pay collection fee to panel physician
- A child under age 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian who will sign the required consent form. If neither parent is present, the guardian must present a Power of Attorney from the parent residing in the United States, along with photo identification, and a photocopy of that identification.
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 medical technician 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) 24-48 hours after collection.
Step 4: Applicant is Notified of Test Results
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.