What to Expect at a Biometrics Appointment
June 19, 2018
The term “biometrics” refers to a person’s unique anatomical and physiological data. Biometric information is used to confirm your identity and run required security and background checks. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) collects this information from people applying for green cards, naturalization, and other U.S. immigration benefits.
When you apply for any of these documents, there is a biometrics fee and an appointment that is usually a few weeks before your application interview (if required). The biometrics appointment takes place at an authorized USCIS Application Support Center. Applicants are asked to bring valid photo identification and a copy of your appointment confirmation notice.
At the Appointment
Typically, the appointment takes about 20 minutes if you do not have to wait when you arrive. General appointment times are given to groups of people, and then when those people arrive they are taken on a first-come, first-serve basis.
USCIS will take your photo, collect your fingerprints, and have you sign your name for electronic capture. By signing, you affirm that the content of your USCIS application and supporting documents were complete, true and correct at the time you filed them.
At the end of the appointment, your appointment notice (Form I-797C, Notice of Action) will be stamped as confirmation that you attended. It is important to retain this document as proof that you were at the appointment, in case the USCIS cannot find record of it.
USCIS Background Checks
The FBI reviews all fingerprints from biometric appointments and cross checks them against police and USCIS records. They will confirm your identity and report back to the USCIS as to whether they find any record of criminal activity or immigration violations that could jeopardize your application.
Not all crimes make you ineligible for immigration benefits. Consult with a qualified immigration lawyer if you think you have a criminal record or are not sure.
Assistance for Biometrics Appointments
You are not required to bring your attorney with you, even if they submitted the application for you. However, if you need assistance, or do not understand spoken English, you may bring someone with you to your appointment. This could be a family member, attorney, or accredited representative.
For the digital signature capture there is an attestation paragraph that was included on your application, petition, or request, under the section titled “Acknowledgement of Appointment of USCIS Application Support Center”. This is a statement affirming that all the information you provided is complete, true, and correct. At the appointment it is available in English and Spanish and can be reviewed beforehand in 12 other languages.
Those who cannot sign in English or their native language can make a mark such as an “X.” If a physical or mental disability prevents this, the USCIS has alternatives procedures in place to accommodate such impairments.
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