With the advent of DNA testing, the whole process of immigration has become so much simpler and has removed the level of doubt that often lay with the immigration services. Family members can now participate in a UK immigration test to prove the relationship that the application is being based on. This could be to prove paternity, maternity, siblingship, avuncular or grand-parentage.
In the past, trying to prove that a family member was related to a sponsor for either a visa application or a passport application was very difficult. Traditionally one had to provide evidence in the form of documentation, for example a birth certificate. In some locations this type of evidence is not provided as a matter of course in the same way that they are in the UK, this could cause great difficulty. Before DNA testing became mainstream, proving that a relationship existed without any documentation was almost impossible. This could be very frustrating and devastating for any family wishing to be reunited.
For someone who has never had to do a DNA test, and certainly not for such a serious reason, the whole process can be incredibly daunting. Here are the key 5 questions that most often need answering.
1. What are the costs associated with UK Immigration Testing?
Applications themselves can be very costly, and so the additional cost of DNA testing it is often a big concern. However, the cost may be less than you anticipate. At DDC we break down the costs for you so you know exactly what you are paying and we seek to do the test with the most cost effective sample collector. The total fees include the following:
- Courier fees: to ship sample collection kits to the appropriate sample collector. We have over 4,000 collectors globally
- Fees charged by the collector: for those parties being collected in the UK
- Laboratory fees: This includes the testing of all samples and the preparation of the DNA test reports
We also confirm any other fees that may be relevant to you case, including collection fees to be paid by participants to overseas collectors.
2. Do I need to use a particular lab for this test?
Absolutely. It is vital that you use a lab that is accredited by the Ministry of Justice (MOJ). The immigration authorities otherwise will not accept the results of a UK immigration test. All approved labs, like DDC, have to undergo a stringent accreditation and vetting to ensure that testing processes are beyond reproach and that we provide excellent quality DNA tests.
3. How do I go about arranging a UK immigration test?
The process depends entirely on whether you are doing this for a passport application or a visa/tribunal appeal.
Passport applications: You are invited by the Passport Office to do the test after you submit your application. All you need to do is contact us with your application number and we arrange everything for you. Immigration officials witness the sample collection and we work with the passport office to arrange the supply of kits and to coordinate providing a collector. For family members overseas, we work closely with the British Embassies and High Commissions. We ship the necessary kits and coordinate the shipping of all samples back to the UK for testing
Visa applications: You can initiate the test independently of the immigration authorities prior to making your application. This is a good idea as they may wish to have conclusive proof of a relationship and doing this step ahead of time can considerably reduce the application process time. All you need to do is contact us with your families’ details and we arrange everything for you. We work with a huge network of competent sample collectors globally, so even if family is overseas, this is not a problem at all.
4. Which family members should be included in the DNA test?
For passport applications, the Passport Office specifies exactly who should be tested and what relationships need to be proven. For visa applications, your
solicitor can generally advise or—if you have any doubts—you can call our highly-trained UK immigration team who will be more than happy to provide guidance.
5. How long should I expect the whole UK immigration test process to take?
All parties in the UK: For visa applications, DNA samples can be collected at our London office if your case is urgent or if the location is convenient for you. We also provide mobile collectors or collections at GP clinics. We work out the best option for you but we can in some cases have results ready in four (4) business days. For passport applications, we have a clinic at the London Passport Office twice a month—so again, it should take no longer that three (3) weeks from instructing us.
Overseas: For passport applications, DNA collections are performed at a foreign country’s British Embassy or British High Commission. We have no control over how quickly they do this, but when we get the samples at our lab we provide results in 3-4 business days. For visa applications, we can ship to one of our global collectors and—again—a 3-week turnaround from DDC receiving the instruction is normal.
If you do have to undertake a UK immigration test, here are the most important points to consider.
- Make sure you use a lab like DDC that is accredited by the MOJ
- Use a lab that has an experienced network of sample collectors
- Make sure the lab understands the necessary legal requirements
- Use a lab that has experience of shipping kits and samples to avoid expensive customs issues and delays
If you have any questions about DNA testing and immigration, our very experienced and helpful customer service team would be more than happy to provide you with support and guidance. We understand what this test can mean to each and every family we assist.