Wed | Sep 20, 2017

Immigration Corner | Need dad's DNA

Published:Tuesday | April 18, 2017 | 4:00 AM

Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,

My brother and I tried to file for our dad a few years ago and found out then that my dad's name is not on our birth certificates. The United States requires DNA proof. Dad did not want to do the test. He is now 91 years old.

I would like to file for my sister, but the same issue exists. How can we add my father's name? My mom is still alive and they are married. What can I do?

- AW

Dear AW,

You can add your father's name to your Jamaican birth certificate as a 'late entry'. Please be in touch with the Registrar General's Department in Jamaica to learn the process (www.rgd.gov.jm). You mentioned that your father and mother are married, but you did not indicate whether the marriage took place before you and the other children were born or if it took place before you and your siblings were 18 years of age. You also didn't indicate if you and your sister share the same mother.

When a US citizen files for their parent - especially his father - the US Citizenship and Immigration Services wants to ensure that the parent is the biological parent and that there was a parent-child relationship before the child was 18 years old. This is not to say that if a parent-child relationship developed after age 18 that a petition cannot be approved, as there are varied reasons that could have existed to prevent the relationship.

In your situation, add your father's name to both birth certificates. You will also need your parents' marriage certificate and proof of your relationship with your father and your sibling.

 

Conditionalities

 

If you both were raised in the same household, this would be easier. If your parents were married before you were 18 years old, this means that you would be considered legitimised even if your father's name was added late.

If a DNA test is required because you were not

legitimised or if you and your sister do not share the same mother, then your dad is going to have to cooperate. You may be allowed to have the testing done with another male relative to prove the relationship.

As there are many questions unanswered with your inquiry, it may be in your best interest to seek advice on the specifics from a US immigration lawyer.

- Dahlia A. Walker-Huntington is a Jamaican-American attorney who practises immigration law in the United States and family, criminal and personal injury law in Florida. She is a mediator, arbitrator, and special magistrate in Broward County, Florida.

info@walkerhuntington.com