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What are My Options if I Can’t Attend My Biometrics Appointment?

Most applicants seeking immigration benefits must undergo a records check. This records check is often initiated through a scheduled biometrics appointment held at a USCIS Application Support Center (ASC). During the appointment, your fingerprints will be taken and electronically submitted to various government agencies’ databases. Your biometric information is captured in order to conduct a criminal background check and to also ensure that you are the same person who submitted the application for immigration benefits.
The biometrics appointment procedure is relatively straightforward. An applicant appears at the date and time specified on their interview notice, provides their fingerprints and leaves with a stamped form. See more details here:
But while this may seem like a simple task, there are sometimes complicating factors for applicants. For example, here are two scenarios that can complicate the biometrics process:
Example One:
Problem: An applicant has a vacation, work or family commitment on the date the biometrics are scheduled.
Solution: Most importantly, an applicant should make every possible effort to adhere to the biometrics appointment on the day, time and at the location originally indicated on the notice. This will allow for the best and most efficient use of USCIS resources and it will streamline the biometrics process for all applicants. Your first course of action should be to determine if the prior commitments can be changed to allow you to attend your biometrics appointment as scheduled. If not, there are two options:
• Do a “walk-in” – Take your biometrics notice to the ASC any time BEFORE you are scheduled to appear. Almost all Application Support Centers will process your biometrics on a walk-in basis. Understand that this disrupts the normal flow of the office and you may be required to wait until all scheduled applicants have been serviced. Make sure you bring a government-issued ID document and your original biometrics appointment notice. The biometrics appointment is crucial to your application; without this document, you will not be able to have your biometrics captured. This is the main reason why individuals are turned away at the ASC.
• Reschedule the appointment – Each biometrics appointment notice provides information on how to reschedule an appointment. It is important to request rescheduling BEFORE you are scheduled to appear. Failure to appear may result in denial of your application for “abandonment.”
Example Two:
Problem: An applicant is physically present for the filing of an application for a  re-entry permit to preserve their green card status during extending travel, but has since departed due to employment or other imperative reasons, prior to providing biometrics.
Solution: Except in very rare cases, you have no option but to return to the U.S. and provide your biometrics. You have the option to walk-in or reschedule as described above if you cannot attend the appointment as scheduled. If you do not attend, your application will be denied.
Here are some tips for when you finally attend your biometrics appointment:
• Thoroughly read your appointment notice beforehand so you know what to bring and what not to bring. CIS (Citizenship and Immigration Services) will provide a comprehensive list of documentation with your biometrics appointment letter; be sure to bring all required documentation with you to the ASC office.
• Be aware of items, such as cell phones or laptops, which may not be allowed in the building.
• Dress appropriately; you want to promote a professional image of yourself and maintain a professional demeanor.
• Be sure to bring proper government-issued identification (driver’s license, original passport) and the original biometrics notice.
If you have any questions regarding your biometrics appointment or anything immigration related, please contact Berardi Immigration Law for a consultation.