What to Expect With Your USCIS Biometrics Appointment
When you apply for most any USCIS immigration benefit (Green Card, U.S. Citizenship, work permit) you will be required to pay an $85 Biometrics Fee along with your application at the time of filing. This fee covers the Biometric Services Appointment that you will attend once your application begins processing.
Biometrics Appointments are required to prove your identity as well as to conduct any background and security checks that are necessary for your application by USCIS.
It is important to be prepared and to show up on time for this appointment. It helps to know what to expect beforehand in order to feel comfortable and ready for the appointment.
After you file your application with USCIS, you will receive a biometrics notice within a few weeks with the information that you need for the appointment including the assigned date, the time, and the location of the Application Support Center (ASC) that you will go to for the appointment. You can see a list of all ASCs here.
Preparing for the Appointment
Your Notice will contain a list of items that you should bring with you, the main two are the notice letter itself and a form of photo identification. Typically, the items that are accepted as ID include any of the following:
- Green Card
- Driver’s License
- Military Photo ID
- State-issued Photo ID Card
Depending on your case, you may need to bring in other documents such as your birth or marriage certificate.
What Does the Appointment Consist of?
The first thing to keep in mind is that you probably have absolutely nothing to worry about when it comes to your biometrics appointment. It is a simple process.
When you check in at the ASC, you will verify your basic information from your application and then wait for your name to be called. Your appointment will be anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes long. During your appointment you will be fingerprinted, have your photo taken, and have your signature recorded for any document printing such as a green card.
Keep in mind that when you are providing your digital signature at your ASC appointment, you are reaffirming that everything in your application is correct, true, and complete at the time of filing. If you deny to sign and attest to the statement at the time of your appointment, your application/petition will be denied.
Your appointment letter than you will receive may have a Notice Code on it which can give you a better idea about what you will do at the appointment. There are three codes:
Code 1: 10 fingerprints only
Code 2: Photo taken, signature, and index fingerprint
Code 3: 10 fingerprints, photo taken, signature, and index fingerprint
If You Cannot Make it to Your Assigned Appointment
It is possible to reschedule your biometrics appointment but it is probably easier to stay with the one that you have. The Notice you receive in the mail will have instructions on how to reschedule if you know that you cannot make the appointment. You cannot reschedule once the appointment date has passed, however. If you miss your appointment, it is likely that USCIS will delay or possibly deny your application.
If You are Filing from Outside the United States
If you are filing for some immigration benefit from outside the United States (most likely naturalization) and cannot go to a biometrics appointment, you must include fingerprinting cards (FD-258) with your application and two passport-style photos which is explained in the N-400 application filing instructions.
If You Have a Criminal Record
If you have any type of criminal record or past interaction with law enforcement, even if expunged, you should have an immigration lawyer before filing any USCIS form. If you are not sure if you have a criminal record, but think that you might, it is best to get in contact with an immigration lawyer before you go to your biometrics appointment. There is no way to know what the FBI has on your record until you get to your appointment unless you have the help of an immigration lawyer.
After Your USCIS Biometrics Appointment
Once your appointment is completed, ASC will stamp the appointment notice. Be sure to keep this document safe just in case you need proof that you attended the appointment for any reason. It is possible that you may receive a notice in the mail with another appointment date. This is not unusual. It is usually a result of a problem with the fingerprints such as smudging.
If you have a concern with your case, you can always check its status here.