Many applications filed with USCIS require that a comprehensive record check be conducted on the individual applicant prior to adjudication and/or interview. USCIS accomplishes this by capturing an applicant’s biometrics via electronic fingerprinting, which is then followed by a criminal and immigration records search.
For many people, the prospect of being fingerprinted can be stressful. However, for those who are prepared, the biometrics process should be straightforward. All biometric appointments are conducted at an Application Support Center (ASC) in your area. You should try to remain calm — there is no reason to be nervous. Almost all applicants for any kind of immigration benefit must undergo a records check and you have not been singled out for any particular reason. The actual process only takes a few minutes and you will likely be at the ASC no longer than 30 minutes. However, we recommend that you budget approximately one hour of time for the entire process. Please click here if you would like to find an ASC near you.
The General Process
USCIS will provide a comprehensive list of required documentation with your biometrics appointment letter. When you arrive at the appointment, you should present your notice to a designated employee who will provide you with a form to complete. The ASC employee will ask to see your government-issued identification and any immigration-related documentation. Generally, your name will be called and you will be brought in to a separate area to have your biometrics captured. This is accomplished by rolling your prints onto a computer screen. Your fingerprints are then cataloged and sent electronically to various governmental agencies’ databases.
Assuming that all of your documentation is in order and your fingerprints were successfully submitted electronically, the ASC technician will then stamp your biometrics appointment notice, which serves as evidence that you complied with the requirement. If your fingerprints were illegible or otherwise not suitable, you will be rescheduled for a second attempt at capturing your biometrics.
Tips for Your Biometrics Appointment
• Carefully read the entire appointment notice from USCIS so that you know what to bring and what not to bring.
• Inform a friend or relative of your biometrics date, time and location and ask them to remind you a day or two prior to ensure you do not inadvertently miss the appointment.
• DO NOT attempt to reschedule your appointment except in the most urgent of cases.
• If you should miss your biometrics appointment as scheduled, your application will be considered abandoned.
• Wear business attire in order to promote a professional image to the ASC staff.
• Arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment.
• The ASC technician will want to see original government-issued identification as well as all immigration-related documentation to ensure your identity and immigration status (examples would include original passport, I-94 card, drivers license and/or I-551 card), so make sure to bring them with you.
• Be yourself but maintain a professional demeanor.
• Do not be afraid to ask the ASC employee to repeat themselves if you do not understand a question being asked.
• If you have rough hands or shallow fingerprint ridges, we would recommend that you purchase “Corn Huskers” lotion which is available at many drugstores and apply this to your hands several times a day prior to your appointment.
• Please forward a copy of the stamped notice to our office for inclusion in your file.
Most importantly, if you have concerns before the interview, we urge you to contact us to schedule a consultation.