Certain applications from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) require you to attend a scheduled biometrics appointment. While the name might make the appointment sound intimidating, it is a simple part of the green card process. If you’re unsure of how to prepare for your USCIS biometrics appointment, it’s a good idea to speak with a qualified immigration attorney.
If you are applying for immigration benefits with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, you will likely receive a biometrics appointment notice from them. Although this is a regular part of the immigration process, it can feel overwhelming to not know how to prepare. An immigration lawyer with Ybarra Maldonado Law Group can help. Our team of professionals is highly-skilled at handling all parts of the immigration process, including the green card interview, the biometrics appointments, and obtaining a permanent resident card. If you need help with any part of the process, we’re here for you. To schedule an appointment with us, please call 602-910-4040 today.
What Types of USCIS Applications Require a Biometrics Appointment?
Not every immigration process requires you to attend a biometrics appointment. However, those who apply for some kind of immigration benefit with USCIS will usually need to attend one. Common examples include applications for an employment authorization document (work permit), a green card, and naturalization. Below, we list some of the immigration application forms that require a biometrics screening.
- Naturalization applications
- Adjustment of status or permanent residence applications
- Green card replacement or renewal
- Temporary protected status applications
- Petitions to remove conditions on residence
The purpose of biometric screening is partially to conduct a background check on your criminal record and any potential immigration violations. Many people who do have a criminal record worry if it will affect their immigration case. We recommend working with an attorney if you’re worried that anything will affect your ability to apply for immigration benefits.
What Is the Biometrics Appointment?
When you submit certain immigration applications to USCIS, you will receive a USCIS biometrics appointment notice. Conducting a biometrics screening of someone means taking their physiological and anatomical data in order to identify them. Most people have their fingerprints taken, have their photos taken, and produce a signature for biometric identification. The appointment will be held at a USCIS Application Support Center (ASC). USCIS is responsible for sending you an appointment notice confirming your time slot.
What to Bring to the Appointment
The biometrics appointment notice we mentioned above will contain information about what to bring to your biometrics appointment. Generally, you will need copies of the following documents.
- Copy of the biometrics appointment notice (Form I-797C). If you received a second biometrics appointment notice, take a copy of this notice as well.
- A valid form of photo identification, such as your driver’s license. If you use your passport as your photo identification, make sure it has not expired.
- Any other receipt notices you have received from USCIS.
- Any and all documents that USCIS requested that you bring.
Although it is not required to have legal representation at your scheduled appointment date, you can still ask that they go with you. After all, it’s better to be over-prepared than under-prepared.
What Not to Bring to the Appointment
Importantly, there are also items that you should not take with you to the USCIS Application Support Centers for your scheduled appointment. These items include the following.
- Any electronic devices
- Weapons or dangerous items
- Cameras or recording devices
Additionally, you won’t need to bring any money to your appointment time if you already paid the biometrics fee when you submitted your immigration benefit application. If you have not paid the fee, you will need to bring enough money to pay this fee before your biometric screenings.
How to Prepare for a USCIS Biometrics Appointment
After submitting your immigration petition or form, a USCIS officer will schedule an appointment to collect biometrics from you. You will receive your Application Support Center (ASC) appointment notice within a few weeks after you submit your form. Your USCIS appointment notice will come in the form of a Form I-797C or Notice of Action.
This Notice of Action contains important information about your biometrics appointment, including the following.
- Date of the appointment
- An appointment time
- Location for your appointment, which is usually at your local Application Support Center
- Type of biometrics you will provide to the USCIS office
- Code 1: All 10 fingerprints only
- Code 2: Photo, digital signature, and index fingerprint
- Code 3: Photo, digital signature, index fingerprint, and all 10 fingerprints
What Happens at a USCIS Biometrics Appointment?
Usually, the entire appointment takes only 15 to 20 minutes total. You should plan to arrive at the local USCIS office on time or early for your appointment. If the location listed in the appointment notices is not convenient for you, you can reschedule for another appointment at a different location. We recommend doing this as soon as possible, as any unnecessary delays could negatively impact your immigration application.
What Happens After the Biometrics Appointment?
After you complete your biometrics screening, the biometrics officer will stamp your appointment letter. This stamp confirms that you attended the ASC appointment and gave your biometrics for the background check. Always keep this document in a safe place. If for some reason, USCIS loses their records of your attendance, you can show this document as proof that you did.
Then, you will wait to receive further information from USCIS. Depending on the form or application you submitted that required biometric information, you might need to attend an additional interview. These interviews are usually held at a USCIS Contact Center.
Sometimes, people will receive a second biometrics notice in the mail. This is normal, as it usually occurs due to smudged fingerprints. You will simply return to the USCIS service center that originally took your fingerprints and give them again. After you have completed biometrics and all necessary interviews, you may be waiting weeks before you hear a status update on your case.
How Long After Biometrics Will I Get My Green Card?
After your green card interview, you might have to wait weeks or even months to officially receive your green card. Even if you receive approval fairly quickly, it may take a while for USCIS to process your application. Most people receive their green card packet in the mail within 30 days of their official approval. Note that this packet does not contain the actual green card. Instead, it includes important information regarding your shift into the culture of the United States.
Within 30 days after you receive your welcome packet, you should receive your lawful permanent resident card. We recommend that you look over the card carefully for any potential errors. If you have any questions about your green card, you can call the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283.
How Long After Biometrics Will I Get My Green Card 2022?
This largely depends on the form or application you file with USCIS. Unfortunately, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) often deals with long wait times and processing times. While some people may only wait a few weeks, others might wait months before they even receive a biometrics appointment date. However, you can check the status of your case online.
The USCIS has a specific page dedicated to immigration case statuses. If you visit the Case Status Online page, you can enter the receipt number for your case. This allows you to check your case status.
How Long Does It Take to Renew a Green Card After Biometrics?
Green card renewal processing time can take anywhere from 6 to 10 months after your biometrics appointment. However, if you wish to check the status of your case for an update, you can either contact USCIS directly or check your case status online.
How Long Does It Take to Get an Employment Authorization Card After Biometrics?
Immigration law states that applicants should receive a notice about their work authorization within 90 days. However, with all the recent activity in immigration, cases have been taking much longer. Some people wait months to receive their work permit.
Do Children Have to Attend a Biometric Appointment?
If your child is listed on the USCIS biometrics appointment notice, they must attend the ASC appointment. If they are not listed, there is no need for them to attend the biometric appointment.
Is There a Fee for USCIS Biometric Appointments?
Yes. Generally, you will pay the biometric fee when you apply for certain immigration benefits that require biometrics. The fee is $85 for a one-time biometrics appointment. If you receive a second notice due to smudged fingerprints or another USCIS error, you will not need to pay another fee.
Can I Reschedule My Biometrics Appointment?
Yes, but you must establish good cause in order to reschedule the appointment. Those who wish to reschedule must call the USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283. Additionally, you must call well before the scheduled appointment date and time in order to reschedule. Failing to do this could result in USCIS considering your application abandoned. This could ultimately lead to a denial of your application or petition.
Contact Our Phoenix Immigration Attorneys Today
Immigration processes can be complicated, especially if you’ve never dealt with them before. Working with an experienced law firm from start to finish could be the difference between an approval and a denial of your application. If you’re stressed about your biometrics appointment or another immigration matter, Ybarra Maldonado Law Group is here for you. We represent immigrants and their families across the state of Arizona in various immigration matters, including deportation defense, immigration bail bonds, adjustment of status, and much more. To schedule an appointment with our Phoenix law firm, please call 602-910-4040 today.