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DNA testing

We may ask you to do a DNA test if you cannot give us proof of a family relationship, such as a family book or a birth certificate.

The DNA test must be meet our requirements, or we cannot accept it as proof of your relationship.

Request for a DNA test

We may send you a letter suggesting you take a DNA test to prove a family relationship, to meet our requirements for:

  • a visa, or
  • Australian citizenship by descent

Our requirements

To take a DNA test that meets our requirements, you must:

  • choose an accredited DNA testing laboratory
  • give the laboratory a signed consent form, allowing them to share your results with us

Paying for costs

You must pay the full costs for DNA testing, including any counselling before the test or after the results are known.

We will only pay the costs of DNA testing for refugee visa applicants. Special Humanitarian Program applicants must pay the costs themselves.

DNA testing is not required by law

You do not have to take a DNA test, even if we suggest it.

If you decide not to do a DNA test, we will make a decision on your application using the information we have at the time.

Getting a DNA test

Step 1 - Choose an accredited laboratory

Find accredited facilities on the National Association of Testing Authorities, Australia (NATA) website using the keyword 'parentage'.

Step 2 - Contact the laboratory

You will need to ask:

  • for an appointment
  • the fee for testing, and how to pay
  • if they already have a legal arrangement with us

If there is no existing arrangement

If the laboratory does not have an arrangement with us, you must send them the statutory declaration template you received with your DNA request letter. It sets out our requirements for DNA testing.

The laboratory will need to complete the declaration and send it to your DNA sample collector.

Step 3 - Choose a DNA sample collector

Choose a pathology collection centre. If there is none nearby, find a doctor who can meet our requirements for DNA sampling for family law.

Provide their contact details to your laboratory.

The laboratory will send them a testing kit and your completed declaration form, if necessary.

If you are outside Australia, the testing kit and your form may be sent to your nearest visa or citizenship application processing office. The office will contact you when it arrives.

Step 4 - Collect the sample

The pathology centre or doctor will usually take a sample from a mouth swab or a blood spot.

You must give them the signed client consent form you received with your DNA letter. The pathology centre or doctor will send the form with your sample to the laboratory. The form permits the laboratory to share your DNA test results with us.

If you are outside Australia, a department representative must be present when your sample is collected. They might send your sample and the form to the laboratory.

Step 5 - Receive the results

It usually takes up to 14 days for the test results to be ready.

If your DNA test results show unexpected biological links, you may wish to undertake counselling or get advice from a health professional or panel doctor. You will need to pay for this service.

How we use the results

The DNA tests results disclosed to us will be used for immigration purposes only. We are bound by the Privacy Act 1988.