What is a USCIS biometrics appointment?
A USCIS biometrics appointment is part of the immigration application process for certain types of immigration benefits, such as green card applications, work permits, and citizenship applications.
Biometrics refer to the collection of an individual’s fingerprints, photograph, and signature.
During the biometrics appointment, applicants are required to provide their fingerprints, have their photo taken, and provide a signature.
This information is used by USCIS to conduct background checks and verify the identity of the applicant.
The biometrics appointment is a crucial step in the application process, as it helps the USCIS confirm the identity of the applicant and conduct necessary security checks.
Applicants typically receive a notice from USCIS indicating the date, time, and location of their biometrics appointment.
It’s important for applicants to attend the appointment as scheduled, as failure to do so may result in delays or denials of their immigration applications.
Who is required to attend an USCIS biometrics appointment?
Individuals applying for certain immigration benefits or change/extension of status in the U.S. are required to attend a USCIS biometrics appointment.
Some common categories that may require a biometrics appointment include:
- Green Card Applicants: Individuals applying for adjustment of status (Form I-485) to obtain a green card, remove conditions on residence (Form I-751) or renew a green card (Form I-90)
- Naturalization Applicants: Individuals applying for U.S. citizenship (Form N-400).
- Employment Authorization Document (EAD) Applicants: Individuals applying for a work permit or renewal (Form I-765). For example, F-1 students, H-4 nonimmigrants, etc.
- Refugees and Asylees: Individuals seeking asylum (Form I-589) or those granted refugee status.
- Change or Extension of Status Applicants: Individuals applying for change or extension of their nonimmigrant status
- Travel Document Applicants: Individuals applying for Advance Parole, Refugee Travel Document or Reentry Permit.
- Certain Visa Holders: Some visa categories, such as U-visas or T-visas, may also require biometrics.
If you have ever attended a USCIS biometrics appointment in the past, your biometrics can be reused and you will not be required to attend an appointment again.
How long does it take for USCIS to schedule a biometrics appointment?
USCIS typically schedules biometrics appointments within one to two months after receiving an application.
However, it can take longer than 1-2 months to receive a biometrics appointment notice from USCIS.
After submitting an application, applicants should receive a notice from USCIS that includes the date, time, and location of the biometrics appointment.
USCIS typically processes applications in the order they are received, and the processing times can vary.
How to reschedule a USCIS biometrics appointment?
If you need to reschedule a USCIS biometrics appointment, you must reschedule it with USCIS before the date and time of your appointment and establish good cause for rescheduling.
Examples of good cause for rescheduling include:
- Medical issues (being tested positive for COVID, flu, surgeries, etc.)
- Birth of a child
- Death of a family member
General steps to reschedule your biometrics appointment include:
- Review the Biometrics Appointment Notice: Carefully read the biometrics appointment notice you received from USCIS. Look for specific instructions on how to request a reschedule.
- Reschedule the Biometrics Appointment in your online account (if applicable): If you have an online USCIS account that is linked to your application, you can reschedule your biometrics appointment online.
- Contact the USCIS Customer Service Center by phone: If you can’t reschedule the appointment online, you may need to contact the USCIS Customer Service Center by phone: 1-800-375-5283.
Always make sure to follow the instructions in the biometrics appointment notice and act promptly.
Failure to attend a scheduled biometrics appointment without rescheduling may result in denial of your immigration application.
What happens at USCIS biometrics appointment?
During a USCIS biometrics appointment, the applicant’s fingerprints, photographs, and a signature are collected.
This biometrics data is used to conduct background checks and confirm the identity of the applicant.
You should expect that your biometrics appointment will take anywhere from 15 mins to 1 hour depending on the workload of the Application Support Center (ASC).
Arrive at the USCIS Application Support Center 15 minutes before the scheduled time.
Here’s an overview of what typically happens at a USCIS biometrics appointment:
- Fill out page 2 of the biometrics notice: you must fill out the page 2 of the biometrics notice – Applicant’s Information Worksheet (AIW)
- Check-In: Upon arrival at the USCIS Application Support Center (ASC) or other designated location, applicants need to check in. This involves presenting the biometrics appointment notice and a government-issued photo ID. Applicants who filed Form N-400 and Form I-90 applications must also present an original green card. Your name on the biometrics notice must match the name on your government-issued ID. If your name does not match, you must bring supporting documentation (for example, a marriage certificate, divorce decree, legal name change court order, etc.)
- Fingerprinting: The applicant’s fingerprints will be collected electronically. This process involves placing the fingers on a fingerprint scanner to capture the unique patterns of each fingertip. The collected fingerprints are used for background checks.
- Photograph: A picture of the applicant will be taken. This picture is used for identification purposes and is often included in the applicant’s immigration file. This photograph will be printed on your Employment Authorization Document (EAD), green card, or naturalization certificate.
- Signature: The applicant may be required to provide a signature.
- Completion of Appointment: Once the fingerprinting, photographing, and signature collection are completed, the biometrics appointment is concluded. The applicant will receive a stamped biometrics notice and may leave the USCIS facility. Keep the stamped notice for your records.
What do I wear to my USCIS biometrics appointment?
When attending your USCIS biometrics appointment, it’s advisable to dress in a manner that is respectful and professional.
While there is no specific dress code mentioned by USCIS for biometrics appointments, here are some general guidelines to consider:
- Business Casual Attire: Opt for business casual clothing, such as slacks or khakis with a collared shirt for men, and a blouse or a conservative top with slacks or a skirt for women.
- Avoid Casual or Athletic Wear: It’s best to avoid overly casual or athletic wear, such as shorts, tank tops, flip-flops, etc.
- Neat and Tidy Appearance: Aim for a neat and tidy appearance. The photograph taken during the biometrics appointment will be printed on your immigration documents (EAD, green card, naturalization certificate, etc.)
How long does it take to get a USCIS interview after a biometrics appointment?
It can take anywhere from 6 months to 18 months to get an USCIS interview after the biometrics appointment.
Not all immigration applicants are required to attend an interview at the USCIS local office.
Some categories of applicants such as parents of US citizens or individuals applying for a green card based on asylum or refugee status do not need to attend an interview.
The timeline between the USCIS biometrics appointment and the USCIS interview can vary widely depending on several factors, including the type of immigration benefit you are applying for, the USCIS field office’s workload, and any specific circumstances related to your case.
To find the average processing time for your type of applications, visit the USCIS website:
- Visit Check Case Processing Times page
- Select your form
- Choose your category (if applicable)
- Choose your USCIS service center
The USCIS service center handling your case can be found in the lower left corner of the receipt notice (Form I-797).
What is the next step after a biometrics appointment?
After a biometrics appointment with USCIS, the next steps in the immigration application process depend on the type of application you’ve submitted.
Here are some general steps that typically follow a biometrics appointment:
- Background Checks: USCIS will use the collected biometric information (fingerprints, photograph, and signature) to conduct background checks. This involves checking databases for any criminal history or immigration violations.
- Application Processing: The USCIS will continue processing your application, taking into consideration the results of the background checks and the information provided in your application forms.
- Request for Additional Evidence (RFE): In some cases, USCIS may issue a Request for Evidence (RFE) if additional documentation or information is needed to complete the application. If you receive an RFE, you will be given a specified period to respond with the requested documents.
- Interview Scheduling (for some applicants): Depending on the type of application, USCIS may schedule an interview. Not all applications require an interview, but for those that do (e.g., adjustment of status, naturalization), USCIS will notify you of the interview time and location at least 3-5 weeks before the scheduled interview date.
- Decision Notification: After completing the necessary processing steps, USCIS will make a decision on your application. If approved, you will receive an approval notice. If denied, you will be provided with a notice explaining the reasons for the denial.
- Next Steps for Approved Applications: If your application is approved, the next steps may vary. For example:
- For green card applicants, USCIS may send the green card by mail.
- For EAD applicants, USCIS may send the EAD card by mail
- For change/extension of status applicants, USCIS may send the approval notice along with the new Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record
- For naturalization applicants, USCIS may schedule the oath ceremony.