People wishing to join relatives or their spouses in another country will often need to go through certain immigration procedures. In many countries, this may involve doing a DNA test; for example, a mother in South America may wish to join her daughter who is legally residing in the US. In this case, the daughter would need to prove the biological relationship to her mother by means of a DNA test. The following involves a case of an attempt to cheat at an immigration DNA test in the USA. Requirements and conditions are very similar for a paternity test in Ireland, the UK or in other Western countries.

34 year old Dora Bibiana Ramirez Laverde from the Virgin Islands found on the border between the Caribbean and the Atlantic, married a US citizen, Joshua Allen Chitolie, from St Croix (A Caribbean Island that is also a US district).

It was not long before Joshua filed an immigration application for his wife with the Citizenship and Immigration Services which falls under the Office of Homeland Security for the US. Such an application was done in order for Dora to obtain a permanent resident visa so as for husband and wife to live together in the US.

With immigration cases such as this, the couple needs to prove that their marriage was done in good faith, bona fide to use the legal terminology, and that the aim of the marriage was not to simply get residency in the US. Dora fell pregnant and gave birth to a child whilst waiting for her resident visa. This was seen as evidence that the marriage between Joshua and Dora was serious and there was no hidden motive to gain residency and perhaps citizenship from the US government.

The Citizenship and Immigration Services (CSIS) requested the Joshua submit to an immigration DNA test, essentially a paternity test that would prove Joshua was the biological father of the child. Having completed the test, the laboratory send back the result along with a photo of the alleged father who had given his DNA sample for the test. It was clear to the CSIS that the man in the photo was not Joshua.

Dora admitted that she had in fact taken her boyfriend with her for the immigration DNA test  and that he was the actually father of the child and not her husband. Moreover, she attempted to pass off her husband using her husband’s identification as she hoped this would save her boyfriend being deported from the US.

The legal consequences of her entering a travesty of a marriage are serious and Dora faces up to 5 years imprisonment. Immigration DNA tests are fool proof and in most countries are done under strict supervision following rigid procedures. Trying to cheat in order to get residency or benefits is considered a serious offence.


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