The Home Office of the United Kingdom has reiterated in a policy update on how DNA evidence is to be used in official government applications related to the office.
This comes after concerns were raised that the Home Office had in the past sent letters to various applicants saying it was ‘imperative’ they supply DNA evidence despite policy stating it is ‘entirely voluntary.’
In fact, on 25 October 2018, the Home Secretary Sajid Javid apologized to people who were wrongly asked to take DNA tests to prove they were entitled to settle in the UK or in support of their applications.
The update provides guidance on how DNA is to be utilized in British passport, immigration or other nationality related applications by the Home Office.
The policy is aimed at ensuring more privacy for the individual concerning their DNA, which is sensitive information of the highest order. In the policy update, the Home Office reiterates that if an individual is applying either to amend their birth certificate, to gain entrance into the UK or for a British passport, they cannot be asked to provide DNA to prove a claimed familial match.
The policy does not only prohibit government officials from asking for a DNA test, it further instructs them not to make any negative inferences based on an applicant choosing not to provide same DNA evidence.
Part of the policy document reads: “This section explains that officials must not require applicants to provide DNA evidence, for example in connection with amending a birth registration record, making an immigration application or representation or nationality application, or an application for a British passport.”
It continues: “Officials must not require DNA evidence, but applicants can choose to volunteer DNA evidence, either proactively or in response to an invitation to submit further evidence. Where applicants choose not to volunteer DNA evidence, no negative inferences can be drawn from this.”
The document also instructs that if there’s a need for further evidence to prove a claimed familial match, there are different ways to attempt to prove the claim without submitting DNA. However if the applicant is ready to provide the evidence, there is no policy against that.
“There are often circumstances where an applicant must satisfy an official that they are related as claimed to a particular person. This can usually be achieved by providing many different forms of evidence, which may include DNA evidence. However, DNA is sensitive personal information and there is no obligation to provide it. Officials can give applicants the opportunity to provide DNA evidence as one of a range of options to prove a relationship, but it is voluntary, and it is the applicant’s choice whether to volunteer DNA evidence.
“Where individuals choose not to provide DNA evidence, no negative inference can be drawn from it. There is nothing to stop applicants from proactively offering to supply DNA evidence to the Home Office if they consider it is in their interest, but again, this must be entirely voluntary. Children who are aged under 16 are advised to only volunteer DNA evidence, where they have the consent of the person who has parental responsibility for them.”
This, therefore, means that anyone making any sort of application including for settlement, leave to remain or British passport cannot be required by the Home Office to provide DNA evidence. And failure to provide a DNA evidence cannot be considered as having a negative inference in an application.
However, applicants can voluntarily provide DNA evidence to the Home Office.
If you have made an application to the Home Office in the past and your failure to provide DNA evidence per their request led to a refusal, contact us at Adukus Solicitors on +447837576037 (Direct and Whatsapp) or +442071831479.
Alternatively, E-mail: Vincent@AdukusSolicitors.Com
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