To become U.S. citizens, immigrants have to carry off the naturalization process, which took years to navigate and comply with the U.S. immigration system. The biometrics appointment is generally the first milestone after you have filed your green card application package.
You might even get the initial appointment notice before you receive confirmation from USCIS that your application package has been processed. However, the actual appointment is usually scheduled between 5–8 weeks after your filing date.
After you file your application, petition, or request, USCIS will schedule your biometric services appointment at a local Application Support Center (ASC) if you need to provide your fingerprints, photograph, and/or signature. Your appointment notice (Form I-797C, Notice of Action) will include the date, time, and location for your ASC appointment. During your ASC appointment, the biometrics you provide allow USCIS to confirm your identity and run required background and security checks.
You may obtain a copy of your own FBI identification record using the procedures outlined in 28 CFR 16.32. The procedures to change, correct, or update your FBI identification record are outlined in 28 CFR 16.34.
What Types of USCIS Applications Require a Biometrics Appointment?
The biometrics appointment is usually required for applicants who have filed an application 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
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.
Where will the Biometrics Appointment be held?
In most cases, USCIS requires that people attend their biometrics appointment at a USCIS-authorized “Application Support Center.” This is different from the main USCIS office, where you will go for your interview for naturalization, status adjustment, or whatever you’re applying for.
Documents required to bring to USCIS Biometrics Appointment:
You are required to appear at the USCIS office at the scheduled date, time along with the following documents;
- A photo ID, such as your passport or driver’s license
- The notice you got from USCIS informing you of the time and place of your biometrics appointment
- Any other receipt notices you’ve gotten from USCIS
- Any other documents USCIS has requested explicitly on your appointment notice (typically any previous employment authorization documents or travel permits issued to you)
You should NOT bring any weapons of any kind to the appointment, and you should not bring food, electronic devices, or cameras into the fingerprinting area.
What Happens at a Biometrics Appointment?
In scientific terms, “biometrics” means anatomical or physiological data that can uniquely identify a person. At your biometrics appointment, USCIS will most likely collect your fingerprints, take your photo, and have you sign your name for electronic capture.
The actual process takes about 20 minutes, though you might have to wait a while after you arrive. Some people might have received the same appointment time as you did. As a general rule, everyone given the same appointment time will probably be called in on a first-come, first-served basis.
Once you arrive at the ASC, you might be given a number showing your place in line, or you might be asked to fill out and hand in a short form letting the ASC employees know you’re there. They’ll call your wait-list number or your name when it’s your turn.
What to Expect During Your ASC Appointment?
When you appear for your appointment, you will submit your biometrics on machines designed to collect biometrics. When you provide your digital signature, you will also be attesting, under penalty of perjury, that the information in your application, petition, or request (or one submitted on your behalf), and all documents filed in support of your application, petition, or request, were complete, authentic, and correct at the time of filing.
We recommend that you print or save a copy of your completed application, petition, or request for your records. We also recommend reviewing this copy before you come to your ASC appointment. We cannot provide you with a copy at your appointment.
When Your Biometrics Appointment Is Done:
At the end of the biometrics appointment, you will be given a stamp on your appointment notice confirming that you attended. Keep this document safe if you are later asked for it, or USCIS cannot find its record stating that you indeed came to the appointment.
Your fingerprints will be sent on for review by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which will check them against records held by the police and by USCIS (which often takes the fingerprints of people caught crossing the border illegally).
The FBI will send a report to USCIS to confirm your identity and to show whether you have committed any crimes or immigration violations that might make you inadmissible, deportable, or otherwise ineligible for the benefit that you seek.