DNA testing to establish family relationships

DNA testing to establish family relationships

In the Philippines, establishing family relationships can sometimes be extremely complex.  A child may be born and then “given” to a relative, such as a childless aunt.  A simulated birth certificate is bought on Recto Street and then recorded, making the aunt the biological mother.

In other cases, a child is born out of wedlock, but the mother does not want to disclose the identity of the father (who may be married to someone else), and so lists the father as “unknown.”

Years pass, and perhaps the true biological family member wants to file a petition for the child, but the birth certificate and family relationships are so messed up, that it could be hard to unravel, especially if the birth certificate lists someone else or “unknown” as a parent.

One possible solution is DNA testing, whether it is between a parent and child or even between siblings.  There are several requirements in connection with DNA testing, such as:

  • The test should be performed by a lab/testing facility approved by DHS or the Embassy.
  • USCIS and the Embassy cannot “require” a person to undergo DNA testing; they can only “suggest” the person to do so.
  • The Embassy and/or USCIS may consider what other documentation may exist to prove identity, or whether no such documentation exists.
  • The DNA results need to show at least a 90% or higher probability of the claimed relationship.

Several other requirements must be met in connection with DNA testing to show family relationships.  However, if you have a case where the claimed relationship is in doubt because of lack of documentation, or simulated birth certificates were filed, you should consult with an immigration attorney who can evaluate the situation, whether it is for petitioning a family member or perhaps a parent wanting to transmit U.S. citizenship to a child.

Michael J. Gurfinkel has been an attorney for over 35 years and is licensed, and an active member of the State Bars of California and New York. All immigration services are provided by, or under the supervision of, an active member of the State Bar of California. Each case is different and results may depend on the facts of the particular case. The information and opinions contained herein (including testimonials, “Success Stories”, endorsements and re-enactments) are of a general nature, and are not intended to apply to any particular case, and do not constitute a prediction, warranty, guarantee or legal advice regarding the outcome of your legal matter. No attorney-client relationship is, or shall be, established with any reader.

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