Learn more about USCIS biometrics collection and what to expect during an appointment
With several key updates in previous months, employers and employees are eager to know what changes they should be aware of for biometrics collections. Notably, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is now allowing individuals to reschedule their biometrics appointments by calling the USCIS Contact Center (800-375-5283 (TTY 800-767-1833)) rather than requesting a rescheduled appointment time in writing. Additionally, the agency introduced a new policy in May 2021 that suspends biometrics requirements for certain applicants.
Although USCIS has made changes to its policies, the general process for biometrics collection remains the same. After filing an application, request, or petition, certain individuals are required to submit biometrics to USCIS. This government agency is legally permitted to require and collect biometrics data from a sponsor, beneficiary, petitioner, applicant or other individual residing in the U.S. for any naturalization and immigration benefit through 8 CFR 103.2 (b) (9).
Frequently asked questions about the USCIS biometrics process
What is a biometrics appointment?
Biometrics data collection is required from certain individuals. USCIS will send applicants a Form I-797C, Notice of Action, if they need to provide biometrics as part of the application process. The appointment notice will include the location, time and date for biometrics collection at the local Application Support Center (ASC).
What information is included in biometrics collection?
Biometrics data includes a photograph, fingerprints and the applicant's digital signature.
What is a digital signature?
A digital signature is required for certain forms, and it is an attestation, under penalty of perjury, that the information provided by the individual in his or her application, request, or petition, along with the information in all supporting documents, is true, complete and accurate at the time of filing. The digital signature reaffirms the contents of your application, request, or petition, even if the paper or electronic forms were already signed.
Where are biometrics appointments held?
USCIS will schedule a biometrics appointment for qualifying individuals at an Application Support Center, also known as an ASC.
Why does USCIS collect biometrics?
USCIS collects biometrics data to verify an individual's identity. The agency also uses biometrics information to complete background and security checks.
What do I need to bring to a USCIS biometrics appointment?
To prepare for a biometrics appointment, applicants should bring the following items:
- Form I-797C, which is the ASC appointment notice (applicants should bring all biometrics appointment notices if they received multiple notices); and
- Valid photo identification (such as a driver's license, passport, or green card)
Applicants should note that they do not need to have an accredited representative or attorney accompany them to an ASC biometrics appointment, even if the attorney or representative submitted the original petition, application, or request to USCIS.
What to expect at a biometrics appointment?
A biometrics appointment includes several steps. Individuals will submit their biometrics information on a machine and provide a digital signature. USCIS collects this personal information to verify an individual's identity and see if the applicant has a criminal history.
Will USCIS accept requests to change personal information?
USCIS will not honor an individual's request to change his or her name or other personal information, as the ASC appointment notice is created based on the information that the individual provided with an application, petition, or request.
Does USCIS accept walk-ins for biometrics collections?
Due to COVID-19, USCIS biometrics appointment walk-ins are currently not permitted. Individuals must appear for their appointment at an ASC only at the exact time and date specified by the agency on Form I-797C, which is the ASC appointment notice.
Does USCIS accommodate disabilities?
USCIS will accommodate individuals with disabilities when collecting biometrics. The agency has a notice on its website titled "Notice for People with Disabilities" that provides additional guidance for those who need special accommodations. Individuals who have a serious ongoing medical condition and cannot leave their home or hospital room can request to have an appointment scheduled at their location.
To request an accommodation for a disability, individuals can submit an electronic request through the USCIS disability accommodations webpage or call the USCIS contact center.
How to reschedule a biometrics appointment
Individuals who are unable to attend their original biometrics appointment for a good cause may request to reschedule. Appointments can be rescheduled over the phone by calling the USCIS Contact Center. The request must be made before the time and date of the original appointment, and individuals must demonstrate a good cause for rescheduling the appointment.
USCIS may not reschedule an individual's appointment if he or she fails to establish a good cause or does not call to reschedule before the original appointment date. If USCIS does not reschedule the appointment, the original petition, application, or request will be considered abandoned and may be denied.
Originally published 24 August 2021
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.