DNA testing within the framework of visa applications
Informative folder about the genetic test (or DNA test) to be carried out within the framework of family reunification procedures under the Law of 15 December 1980 on Access to the Territory, Residence, Settlement and Expulsion of Foreign Nationals
This folder provides information on the genetic test or DNA test carried out within the framework of family reunification procedures under the Law of 15 December 1980. Such information should enable the persons concerned to give their consent with full knowledge of the relevant facts. Such test is carried out – with the written consent of the persons concerned – by a genetics laboratory specialised in relationship testing and the cost falls to the sponsor (a person residing in Belgium, with regard to whom family reunification is applied for and who gives his/her consent to genetic testing).
What are the motives for genetic testing?
It may happen that the documents proving the relationship as required within the framework of the family reunification procedure (under the Law of 15 December 1980) cannot be produced. In the absence of any official documentary evidence the Immigration Service may offer to have a DNA test carried out so as to establish the relationship between the applicant (the person in the country of origin or of legal residence and who applies for family reunification) and the sponsor (the person residing in Belgium, with regard to whom family reunification is applied for and who gives his/her consent to genetic testing). The DNA testing is a way of establishing a biological relationship with a degree of certainty approaching 100 % through the testing of the three relevant family members, i.e. the alleged father and mother and the child.
Definition of the DNA test carried out within the framework of family reunification
The genetic test (or DNA test) is aimed at drawing up a genetic identity card or a genetic fingerprint from the genetic blueprint of a person (the DNA). This genetic fingerprint makes it possible to identify a person in a completely reliable way. The genetic test is used within the framework of family reunification to determine if there is a biological relationship between the individuals tested on the one hand and to distinguish paternity and maternity relationship (father/mother-child) from sibling relationship (brother-sister) or avuncular relationship (uncle/aunt-nephew/niece) on the other hand. A child indeed inherits one half of his/her genetic blueprint from the mother and one half from the biological father. The biological relationship can be established by analysing the genetic fingerprints of the alleged parents and that of the child. It can also be determined on the basis of the genetic fingerprint of one parent. In case one parent is absent the parent who is present shall be invited to inform the competent authorities of the motive so as to enable them to verify that the absent parent has given his/her consent to this genetic testing.
How is the test carried out?
The DNA is obtained from the blood cells present in the blood sample. The collection of the applicant’s blood sample abroad is organised by the Belgian diplomatic or consular representation. The collection of the sponsor’s blood sample in Belgium is carried out through the Genetic Fingerprint Laboratory of Hospital Erasme (of which the contact details are mentioned hereafter), designated as pilot laboratory to carry out the DNA tests in accordance with the provisions of the circular letter relating to the establishment of biological relationships, when a family reunification procedure is initiated under the Law of 15 December 1980 on Access to the Territory, Residence, Settlement and Expulsion of Foreign Nationals.
The collection of blood samples is not painful nor harmful to health.
The collection of the blood samples shall only take place after we have obtained your written consent as well as that of the adult members of your family. For a minor the written consent of the parents, or of his/her legal guardian, or of the alleged parent with parental responsibility shall be required. As far as foreign unaccompanied minors are concerned a guardian shall have to be appointed before the genetic test can be carried out.
The identity of the individuals tested shall be ascertained on the basis of the documents available and of a digital/polaroid photograph.
The results of the analyses will be obtained after a period of 4 to 6 weeks if both parents are tested and after a period of 6 to 8 weeks when one parent only is tested. Such results shall be directly transmitted to the Immigration Service.
After having filled out Annex 3 (Sponsor’s consent form for genetic testing) at the Immigration Service, the sponsor shall pay the corresponding amount (i.e. 200 euros per individual tested) onto the account of the Genetic Fingerprint Laboratory of Hospital Erasme (No. 001-0615141-43) and state the file reference number at the Immigration Service in the “message” field.
After having made the payment the sponsor shall transmit a copy of the proof of payment to the Immigration Service to inform this agency that the test is going to be carried out. The Service shall then initiate the procedure for samples to be taken in the country of origin. When the Genetic Fingerprint Laboratory of Hospital Erasme has received the samples it shall contact the sponsor by telephone in order to schedule an appointment.
On the day of the appointment the sponsor shall appear at the Blood Sample Collection Site of Hospital Erasme with all available official administrative documents (identity card, alien registration card, certificate of registration, declaration of arrival, passport, annex 26, school attendance certificate, etc…) and the proof of payment.
The cost for blood sample collection abroad and transport of the samples to the Genetic Fingerprint Laboratory of Hospital Erasme shall be borne by the applicant. The cost for blood sample collection in Belgium shall be borne by the sponsor.
Later stages of the procedure
The Immigration Service shall inform the sponsor of the DNA test results and shall take a decision on the application filed within the framework of family reunification. The test data shall be used only for the purpose of this procedure and shall be kept as a precaution at the competent laboratory should additional testing be needed.
Contact details of the laboratory
Dr. Biomed. Science
Genetic Fingerprint Laboratory
808, route de Lennik
No rights may be derived from the content of this folder.
Immigration Service, 2003.