FAQs for Facilities Seeking Accreditation in Relationship Testing

Is accreditation required for Relationship Testing?

Accreditation for Relationship Testing is voluntary in the United States. However, many state laws require AABB accreditation for any test reports to be used in legal proceedings.

DNA testing intended for visa, passport, and citizenship testing cases for the United States of America will be accepted only if the case is initiated directly between the petitioner and a facility that is accredited by AABB for relationship testing activities. U.S. Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual can be found at https://fam.state.gov/.

Does the facility need a Laboratory Director?

Yes, a director who has a doctoral degree in medical, biological, clinical laboratory science, or genetics and has at least two years of training or experience in relationship testing.

A technical leader qualified to the current FBI quality assurance standards for Forensic DNA testing laboratories and currently employed in a forensic lab accredited to those standards may serve as the AABB laboratory director in that lab under the RT Standards.

Often, smaller labs or labs seeking accreditation contract with an off-site director to meet this qualification and give existing staff the necessary two-year training and experience.

Does the Laboratory Director need to be on-site?

The Laboratory Directory is not required to be physically located in the facility and may perform duties remotely. However, the Laboratory Director retains ultimate authority for the technical operations of the accredited facility.

Does the facility need an on-site laboratory?

No, an on-site laboratory is not required. The testing can be performed at another AABB accredited facility.

What activities are covered in the scope of accreditation?

  • Collection: The controlled process for obtaining a sample for relationship testing, including but not limited to; client scheduling and instruction, consent, identification, sampling, chain-of-custody documentation, and secure transport to the testing laboratory.
  • Testing: The laboratory portion of a controlled process for DNA analysis and interpretation for the purposes of human relationship testing.
  • Verification: Confirmation by examination and provision of objective evidence that specified requirements have been met.

How does a new facility meet the experience requirements for accreditation?

The majority of all relationship testing performed is for non-legal purposes – curiosity tests. A laboratory seeking accreditation should perform these non-legal cases following all the AABB Standards for Relationship Testing Laboratories, including a complete chain-of-custody, and then these cases may be submitted as representative cases for accreditation.

For a new laboratory seeking accreditation, the tests performed prior to completing the accreditation process and receiving their certificate, will not be accepted by immigration offices and most state court systems. So, any cases that may be presented for court and all immigration cases should be referred to an AABB-accredited laboratory.