United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is the government agency responsible for administering the lawful immigration of people to the United States. Whether you want to relocate to the US with your family, as a student, or on a work permit, you will need to undergo the application procedure with USCIS.
The process of lawful immigration to the United States can be time-consuming and involves several steps and verifications. Therefore, you will need to fulfill every requirement as defined by the USCIS to get immigration to the US. The process involves several interviews, appointments, verifications, and tests.
In today’s article, we will talk about Biometrics Appointments. If you have applied for a work permit or citizenship and you are confused about what to do after receiving the notice for your Biometrics Appointment. What to do, prepare, what to expect, what to wear, etc., and many other questions need answers.
So let’s get into the article.
What Is USCIS Biometrics Appointment?
Once you file a petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, the applicant is called by the department for biometrics. Biometrics appointment refers to the visit scheduled at USCIS that is meant to investigate the criminal background and history of the applicants. A biometrics appointment is also necessary to verify that the applicant has not been involved in any immigration violations.
The applicant’s signatures, fingerprints, photographs, etc., are referred to as biometrics. Therefore, it is safe to say that the USCIS will collect the fingerprints, photographs, and signatures of the applicant and verify the details with the database before proceeding any further.
When does USCIS fix Biometrics Appointments?
Some people believe that all applications, regardless of their nature, require the applicant to appear at the USCIS office and undergo the biometrics collection & verification process. However, certain applications with USCIS require the applicants to undergo a biometrics appointment.
So here are the applications for which the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services agency calls applicants:
- Naturalization application(Form N-400) –Filed to become a US citizen when you were born outside the US
- When an applicant applies for a work permit in the United States
- When an applicant files the application to get a green card(residence) in the United States
- Removal of Conditions as a conditional permanent resident of the US for being married to a US citizen
- Temporary Protected Status
After you file your application with USCIS, the department calls you at the local USCIS once the application processing starts.
Biometrics Appointment Codes And Interpretation
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services agency sends the notice to the applicants who are supposed to appear for a biometrics appointment at the local USCIS. The notice is sent via mail and contains all information necessary for the applicant. The letter’s content also contains the date of appointment, place of appointment, and notice code.
Notice code is an important detail as it helps in determining the procedure you will undergo. Therefore, you must carefully check the notice code on the letter you received from USCIS. The letter might contain any of the following codes:
Code 1: If your ASC biometrics notice has code 1, it means that all fingers of both hands will be scanned during the biometrics appointment. Nothing else will be asked to be provided by the applicant.
Code 2: When your ASC biometrics notice has code 2, it means that you will be asked to have a photo, scan the index fingers of both hands and give your digital signature during the biometrics appointment.
Code 3: If someone received the notice with code 3, it means that he will be asked to take a photo, scan all fingers of both hands, and also give the digital signature.
What Happens At Biometrics Appointment?
We have already mentioned that the process will depend on the notice code. Therefore, when it comes to what to expect from your biometrics appointment, you will know once you read your notice carefully.
Once you are at the local USCIS, the processing time will depend on what processes you have to undergo and the presence of other applicants. If more people are scheduled to appear for an appointment on the same day, you will have to wait for your turn, which can take time.
Let’s say that your notice code was 3. Here is what will happen during your appointment:
- You will be asked to record your fingerprints on all fingers and also the digital signature.
- The next step will be photo capturing by the concerned person at the office.
- Once completed, the USCIS officer will stamp your appointment letter. The stamping implies that the applicant has appeared on the said date. The stamped appointment letter is proof that you attended the biometrics appointment. Therefore, always keep it safe.
Preparing For Your USCIS Biometrics Appointment
Now, you know what happens during a biometrics appointment.
The next most important concern of applicants is how to prepare for USCIS biometrics appointments. So here is everything you need to know about preparing for a USCIS appointment.
What To Bring?
Punctuality and preparedness for your appointment are the first two things you have to make sure of. Preparedness means having everything necessary with you when visiting the local USCIS office on the day of the appointment. Here are the documents you must carry along with you to the biometrics appointment:
- Your USCIS biometrics appointment notice you received at the mailing address
- Identity proof like your passport, State ID, Military ID, or Drivers license
- Current Green Card when applying for renewal of the green card
- In case your green card is stolen or lost, evidence to prove the status of your green card
Besides these documents, you should make sure to bring anything mentioned in the notice. Therefore, it is important to read the notice you received from USCIS carefully.
What To Wear To USCIS Biometrics Appointment?
Many people also get concerned about what to wear for their biometrics appointment at USCIS. USCIS defines no certain dress code for the applicants visiting the local office on the appointment date. However, it is better that you dress nicely and appropriately according to the nature of the appointment.
Here are a few tips for dress code on appointment day:
- Choose formal dressing over informal to give a professional image of yourself
- Don’t choose an uncomfortable style, as it can make you and your body language uncomfortable
- Pick the perfumes with a light fragrance
- Avoid wearing too much jewelry or accessories
Can I reschedule my biometrics appointment?
You should avoid rescheduling your biometrics appointment without any reason. However, the answer to this question is that you can reschedule your biometrics appointments if you are unable to visit the office on the date mentioned in the notice. To reschedule your appointment, you will call the USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283 and request a rescheduling of the original appointment. The applicant must satisfy the USCIS about why he cannot visit the office on a pre-decided date.
Can I get language during my biometrics appointment?
If an applicant cannot understand spoken English and wants language assistance, he can bring someone from his family for help. If not, an attorney or accredited representative must come with the applicant to help with the language. For more details, you can check out the link here.
Do they ask questions during biometrics appointments?
We have already discussed what happens during a biometrics appointment. The purpose of biometrics is to collect the applicant’s signature, fingerprints, and photo. Therefore, no questions are asked during the biometrics appointment.
Can I wear makeup for my biometrics appointment?
They will take your photo during a biometrics appointment. Therefore, it is advisable not to wear heavy makeup and not cover your face with hair.
How long does the biometrics appointment take?
The actual process of a biometrics appointment is almost 15-20 minutes. However, it can depend upon the number of applicants before you.
Can I bring my cell phone to my biometrics appointment?
You cannot bring any camera, cell phone, or digital gadgets when visiting the USCIS office. Therefore, make sure to leave your belongings in the car or with someone who came along.
How early should I arrive for my biometrics appointment?
You should make sure that you reach the USCIS office 15 minutes before the time mentioned on the biometrics appointment notice. Therefore, plan your trip accordingly, and if you live in a far-off place, make sure to leave the house on time so that you can reach 15 minutes before the appointment time.