What is a Biometric Appointment? What if I get Multiple? Why should I Go?

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A USCIS Biometric appointment is commonly required in order for an immigrant to receive an immigration benefit, such as:

  1. Employment Authorization Document (EAD Card)
  2. Travel Permit / Advance Parole Document
  3. Green Card (aka Lawful Permanent Resident)

The Biometrics Appointment allows USCIS to perform a Background Check, and see any criminal records or any prior immigration violations. The Biometric Appointment is extremely straightforward and typically lasts about 5 minutes.

USCIS will take:

  • Fingerprints
  • Passport-styled Photo (to be used on the Immigration Document. So, dress to impress!)
  • Biographical Information, such as height, weight, eye color, and hair color
  • Signature Sample

There is no immigration interview at the biometrics appointment. Rather, it is the STARTING POINT for USCIS to begin to do your background check and get to know you.

Additionally, the Biometric Location (aka Application Support Center) IS NOT a place to receive information on an immigration application. It is also NOT APPROPRIATE to ask questions and raise concerns. The SOLE PURPOSE of the Biometric location is to take the Biometrics.

Please Note: The people who do the fingerprinting may not even be USCIS employees, but could be contract workers and may not know anything about immigration processes. 

What to do If I receive 2 or more (multiple) Biometric Appointment Notices?

The USCIS System is not perfect. There may be instances where an officer didn’t notice or join the filings into one appointment time, fingerprint data may have been previously lost, a name change has occurred and USCIS wants to make sure the same person is still applying, other data may have been lost or corrupted, the reasons can be many.

The answer to this question depends on the situation:

I received multiple notices in the mail around the same time (within a few days or weeks of each other):

Attend the first appointment WITH the other notices. The Fingerprints from the first appointment would be applied to the rest.

I was fingerprinted in the past, over 6 months ago, and now USCIS is asking for another Biometric Appointment

ATTEND THAT APPOINTMENT!!! Something could be lost in the system or an inconsistency arose and the subsequent biometric appointment can resolve the issue. Additionally, it could just be used to verify identity, if a name change has occurred. It is kind of like the old saying: putting names to faces; rather, in this context: putting names to fingerprints.

Can USCIS ever “Waive” the Fingerprint Requirement?

Yes!!! If USCIS has a prior background check from a prior Biometric Appointment, USCIS would usually aim to save time and reuse fingerprints and update the background check to be current.

Should I reschedule my Biometric Appointment if I can’t make it?

NO, IF IT CAN BE AVOIDED!!! Rescheduling = DELAY.

It is more preferred to attempt to visit the fingerprint location early in the morning, days before your appointment (if you cannot attend at the scheduled day/time). You normally CANNOT call in advance to see if that is alright. Going in person might be a small drive, but a delay of 3-8 weeks might be easily avoided if you just attempt to go early.

What if I am traveling Domestically within the US, could I go to a different ASC Location?

Possibly, but you normally cannot call in advance. You can try to do an in-person visit with your Biometric Notice at another location. AN ASC Locator Tool can be seen here: https://egov.uscis.gov/office-locator/#/asc

What is the USCIS Number to Reschedule?

1-800-375-5283

USCIS Provides the Following Guide on How to Prepare for your Biometric Appointment: https://www.uscis.gov/forms/filing-guidance/preparing-for-your-biometric-services-appointment

 

Related Blog Posts:

When Do I Receive The Employment Authorization Card through the Pending I-485 Green Card Application?

Name Change and the Green Card: Things to Know

How to apply for a Social Security card at the local SSA office and what documents are needed for immigrants?

DHS Annotated US Social Security Card versus an Unannotated US Social Security Card

 

 

 

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