Are you expecting a USCIS biometrics appointment? If so, do not panic. In this blog post, you will find valuable tips to help you understand exactly what to expect at your biometrics appointment. This way, you can fully prepare for a successful biometrics appointment experience.
What Types of USCIS Applications Require a Biometrics Appointment?
The biometrics appointment is usually required for applicants who have applied with USCIS for an immigration benefit. The most common are applications for a green card, a work permit, and naturalization.
Some common USCIS applications that require the submission of biometric information are:
- Form N-400, Application for Naturalization
- Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
- Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card or Green Card
- Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence
- Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status
However, in very limited circumstances, USCIS may waive the requirement for your biometrics.
By submitting your biometric information, you grant the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services the right to use your biometrics to conduct a criminal background check with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or for any other purposes allowed by law.
So, if you’re worried about how your record might affect the outcome of your immigration petition or your current immigration status, you should seek help from an experienced immigration attorney.
Is the USCIS Biometrics Appointment an Interview?
As scary as the word biometrics might sound, your USCIS biometrics appointment is not an interview. Not even close!
The biometrics appointment simply allows the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to verify your identity, thereby confirming that you are who you say you are.
To confirm your identity, you will be required to perform some or all of the following at your appointment;
- Provide a digital scan of some or all of your fingerprints
- Take a passport photograph
- Provide your electronic signature
There are no specific questions about your USCIS application case that will be asked at your appointment. So there’s no need to worry about that at this stage.
What is the Appointment Notice (Form I-797C)?
If USCIS requires your biometric information, you will be sent an original biometrics appointment notice by mail to the address you provided in your application.
This biometrics appointment notice is called a Form I-797C, Notice of Action, shown in the image below.
If you have a legal representative on your application, such as an attorney, a copy of your biometrics appointment notice will be sent to your attorney as well.
It is imperative that you update your mailing address with USCIS if you ever change locations after filing your application.
This way, you can be sure to receive any notice from USCIS on time.
You should also ensure that you safely store this document, as you must provide your Form I-797C on the day of your appointment.
How long does it take for USCIS to send biometrics appointment notices in 2023?
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues in 2023, processing times at USCIS service centers have increased significantly.
It might take 4 – 12 weeks to receive a biometric appointment notice after filing your application with USCIS. However, your wait time will depend on the USCIS service center processing your case.
However, your wait time will depend on the USCIS service center processing your case.
What does the Biometric Notice Code mean?
At the top right corner of the ASC appointment notice is a code. This code could show the numbers 1, 2, or 3. This number determines the type of biometric information collected during your appointment, and it varies with applications.
- Code #1 indicates that ALL fingers will be scanned
- Code #2 indicates a collection of your photograph, signature, and scans of both index fingers
- Code #3 indicates a collection of your photograph, signature, and scans of ALL fingers
What if you did not receive your Biometrics Notice?
If your biometrics notice has not been sent, call the USCIS contact center at 800-375-5283.
Where is My Biometrics Appointment Held?
On your appointment notice, you will find the date, time, and location of the USCIS Application Support Center (ASC) for your appointment.
For US residents, your biometrics will be collected at the ASC that services the address you provided in your application.
You can find your nearest application support center using the USCIS office locator tool.
For non-US residents, your biometrics will be collected at the US Consulate or Embassy responsible for processing your immigration application.
How to Reschedule Your Appointment
You may only reschedule your appointment if USCIS deems you have a good cause for rescheduling.
To establish good cause for rescheduling, you must be rescheduling for health-related reasons.
To reschedule your appointment to a date and time that works best for you, you may contact USCIS at 800-375-5283.
You must call USCIS to reschedule your appointment before the date on your Form I-797C.
Documents to Bring to your Biometrics Appointment
When you appear at the Application Support Center (ASC), you are required to bring the following:
- The ASC Appointment Notice (Form I-797C) – If you have received multiple ASC notices, you should bring all of them to your appointment AND
- Valid Photo identification – This should be a government-issued photo identification document (such as a green card, driver’s license, or passport). Suppose the name on your photo ID does not match the name on the ASC appointment notice. In that case, you should bring original supporting documents.
Applicants filing an Application for Naturalization or an Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card or Green Card must bring their Green Card to the appointment.
What to Expect During Your Biometrics Appointment in 2023
On the day of your appointment, you should check for office closures or any other updated information on the USCIS website.
Plan to arrive at the facility no earlier than 15 minutes before your scheduled time, as shown on your Form I-797C.
When you arrive at the ASC, you will observe notices on the door saying that using all electronic devices is not allowed. Be prepared to turn your cell phone off if you must bring it into the facility.
As the pandemic continues in 2023, some ASC locations might require you to wear a face covering. So be prepared to bring a face covering to your appointment. Otherwise, you may be denied entry into the facility. If a mask is required in your facility, be prepared to wear your face covering at all times.
Once you enter the facility, you will meet a receptionist reviewing your ASC appointment notice and photo identification.
After the receptionist reviews your documents and confirms your identity, you will be given a processing form and a ticket number. After that, you will be directed to take a seat as you wait for the biometrics officer to call your ticket number.
Again, depending on the number of people ahead of you, you may not wait here for long.
While you wait here, you may request to use a restroom. Just make sure to be mindful of your waiting time.
What happens when you get your fingerprints and photographs taken?
When the biometrics officer calls on your ticket number, you will go to the biometrics officer’s booth.
The biometrics officer will collect and review all the documents you brought, including the processing form and ticket number handed to you by the receptionist.
If your ASC code states code #2 or code #3, you will be asked to sit on a chair where your photograph will be taken.
After taking your photo, you will be asked to scan your fingerprints. Here, the number of digits that will be scanned will depend on your ASC code.
If you have ASC Code # 1 or code #3, all your fingers will be scanned.
For ASC code #2, only your left and right index fingers will be scanned.
Your biometrics officer will assist you with the scanning process. So don’t worry about making a mistake.
For ASC code #2 and code #3, you will be asked to provide your electronic signature after your fingerprints are captured.
At this point, your biometrics collection process is complete.
What happens after my biometrics are collected?
Once your biometrics have been collected, the biometrics officer will stamp your Form I-797C, indicating that your biometrics have been collected.
Your stamped Form I-797C and your photo identification will then be returned to you.
At this point, you may leave the ASC facility.
How long does the scheduled appointment last?
The approximate time of your biometrics appointment should be between 10 – 20 minutes. This could be shorter or longer depending on the number of people waiting before you or the number of available biometrics officers.
What Happens After My Scheduled Appointment?
After your biometrics are collected, USCIS will use your biometrics to perform a background search with the FBI. The results of this search will be used to either deny or approve your immigration-related application.
The next step after your biometrics appointment will depend on the type of USCIS application. For example, an interview is typical for the marriage green card or employment-based green card application after the biometrics have been collected.
Does USCIS biometrics appointment accept walk-ins?
Currently, walk-in appointments are not allowed at the Application Support Center. The only exception is for applicants who are in the US military. Appointments for other applicants must be scheduled.
Is there a fee for the USCIS biometrics appointment?
Currently, the USCIS biometrics fee is $85. This fee is paid when you submit your application to USCIS and not during your USCIS biometrics appointment. You are not required to show proof of payment for your biometrics fee during your appointment.
What happens if I do not show up to my appointment?
Failing to attend your scheduled appointment might cause USCIS to regard your application as abandoned, and your entire application could be denied. If you can’t make your appointment, you should consider rescheduling your appointment to a date and time that works best for you.
Receiving an appointment notice is a great step along your US immigration journey. We hope this article resolved some of your pressing USCIS biometrics appointment questions.
If you are experiencing significant delays in processing your immigration case, check out our article on the best ways of speeding up your case with USCIS.
And if you need help with your immigration case, you can chat with an online immigration attorney 24/7 through JustAnswer.com
Best of Luck!
DISCLAIMER: This article and any content on this website is designed for general information only and is NOT legal advice. We do not guarantee the accuracy or validity of any legal information in this article. If you need personalized legal advice, you should seek the counseling of a licensed attorney.