Immigrant Visa Petitions and DNA Testing

immigrant visa petitions and dna testingSubmitting immigration petitions and applying for family-based immigrant visas is often a stressful, expensive and time-consuming process. After all, the ability of your family to reunite in the United States is at stake, the fees can easily run into the thousands of dollars and it may take years to get through the entire process.

The stress of the immigrant visa process is particularly high when parents submit immigration petitions for their children and the consular officer requests immigrant visa DNA testing to prove the relationship between the parent and child. At a minimum, DNA testing is expensive and creates an additional delay in the processing of the child’s immigration petition.

What if the DNA test results says that there isn’t a parent-child relationship?

What happens when a father who submits an immigration petition for an immigrant visa for his child receives DNA testing results that indicate that his child is not his biological child? Such news can be devastating to the entire family. But what if the father views the child in question as one of his children and a part of his family no matter what the results of the DNA testing say? Does he have any immigrant petition or other visa options that would allow him to bring his child to live with him in the United States?

One option would be to repeat the DNA testing. Although very rare, it is possible that there was an error in the DNA testing process. Depending on the circumstances, however, a father in this situation may have several other immigration petition and visa options that he can pursue:

  • Consider Whether the Child Qualifies as a Stepchild. For purposes of family-based immigrant visas, stepchildren generally are considered the same as biological children. Therefore, if the father who petitions for his child was or currently is married to the child’s mother, he should consider whether the child qualifies as his stepchild. If the child does qualify as a stepchild, then the father should consider submitting an immigration petition for the child as his stepchild. I strongly recommend any father in this situation to consult with an immigration lawyer for assistance with immigration petitions of this type.
  • Consider Adoption. Depending on the circumstances, adoption may be another option for the father to consider. If the requirements are met, once the legal adoption process is completed, the father will then be able to move forward with the immigration petition and visa process to bring his child to live with him in the United States. As with stepchild petitions, I strongly recommend any father considering this option to first consult with an immigration lawyer.
  • Consider Other Visa Options. Finally, other visa options may be available. For example, the family should consider the diversity visa (or visa lottery) program. In addition, if the child is preparing for university studies, it may be possible for the child to obtain a student visa. Although student visas are not immigrant visas, this option would at least enable the family to provide the child with a solid education to use back in their home country.

Whether any of these options are suitable for a given family’s situation will be very fact specific. Any family facing these issues should consult with a qualified immigration lawyer before pursuing any of the immigration petition or visa options discussed above.

About Kimberley Schaefer

Kimberley Schaefer is an immigration lawyer with offices in Boise, ID and Rexburg, Idaho. She helps future Americans become citizens by assisting them with immigrant visas, fiance visas, adjustment of status and green card applications, applying for immigration waivers, fighting deportation and applying for asylum. To contact her, you can call (208) 918-0852 or send Kimberley an email now.

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