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USCIS Biometrics Appointment – Everything You Must Know in 2021 

 August 21, 2021

By  Chuky Ofoegbu

fingerprints are taken during your USCIS biometrics appointment

Are you expecting a USCIS biometrics appointment? If so, do not panic. In this blog post, you will find valuable tips that will help you understand exactly what to expect at your biometrics appointment. This way, you can be fully prepared to have a successful biometrics appointment experience.  

What Types of USCIS Applications Require a Biometrics Appointment?

The biometrics appointment is usually required for applicants who have filed an application with USCIS for an immigration benefit. The most common are applications for a green card, a work permit, and naturalization.

Some common USCIS applications that require the submission of biometric information are:

  • Form N-400, Application for Naturalization
  • Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
  • Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card or Green Card
  • Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence
  • Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status

However, in very limited circumstances, USCIS may waive the requirement for your biometrics.

By submitting your biometric information, you grant the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services the right to use your biometrics to conduct a criminal background check with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or for any other purposes allowed by law.

Is the USCIS Biometrics Appointment an Interview?

As scary as the word biometrics might sound, your USCIS biometrics appointment is not an interview. Not even close!

The biometrics appointment simply allows the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to verify your identity, thereby confirming that you are who you say you are.

To confirm your identity, you will be required to perform some or all of the following at your appointment;

  • Provide a digital scan of some or all of your fingerprints
  • Take a passport photograph
  • Provide your electronic signature

That's it!

There are no specific questions about your USCIS application case that will be asked at your appointment. So there's no need to worry about that at this stage.

What is the Appointment Notice (Form I-797C)?

If USCIS requires your biometric information, you will be sent an original biometrics appointment notice by mail to the address you provided in your application.

This biometrics appointment notice is called a Form I-797C, Notice of Action, shown in the image below.

USCIS Biometrics Notice - SojourningScholar.com

If you have a legal representative on your application, such as an attorney, a copy of your biometrics appointment notice will be sent to your attorney as well.

It is imperative that you update your mailing address with USCIS if you ever change locations after filing your application.

This way, you can be sure to receive any notice from USCIS on time.

You should also ensure that you safely store this document, as you will need to provide your Form I-797C on the day of your appointment.

Important COVID19 Update

In light of the ongoing pandemic in 2021, the Form I-797C now includes an Applicant's Information Worksheet (AIW) that must be reviewed and completed before your appointment.

How long does it take for USCIS to send biometrics appointment notices in 2021?

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues in 2021, processing times at USCIS service centers have increased significantly.

It might take anywhere between 4 - 12 weeks to receive a biometric appointment notice after filing your application with USCIS. However, your wait time will depend on the USCIS service center processing your case.

What does the Biometric Notice Code mean?

At the top right corner of the ASC appointment notice is a code. This code could show the numbers 1, 2, or 3. This number determines the type of biometric information collected during your appointment, and it varies with applications.

  • Code #1 indicates that ALL fingers will be scanned
  • Code #2 indicates a collection of your photograph, signature, and scans of both index fingers
  • Code #3 indicates a collection of your photograph, signature, and scans of ALL fingers

What if you did not receive your Biometrics Notice?

If your biometrics notice has not been sent, you should call the USCIS contact center at 800-375-5283.

Where is My Biometrics Appointment Held?

On your appointment notice, you will find the date, time, and location of the USCIS Application Support Center (ASC) for your appointment.

For US residents, your biometrics will be collected at the ASC that services the address you provided in your application.

You can find your nearest application support center using the USCIS office locator tool.

For non-US residents, your biometrics will be collected at the US Consulate or Embassy that is responsible for processing your immigration application.

How to Reschedule Your Appointment

You may only reschedule your appointment if USCIS deems that you have a good cause for rescheduling.

To establish good cause for rescheduling, you must be rescheduling for health-related reasons.

To reschedule your appointment to a date and time that works best for you, you may contact USCIS at 800-375-5283.

You must call USCIS to reschedule your appointment before the currently scheduled appointment date on your Form I-797C.

Documents to Bring to your Biometrics Appointment

When you appear at the Application Support Center (ASC), you are required to bring the following:

  1. The ASC Appointment Notice (Form I-797C) - If you have received multiple ASC notices, you should bring all of them to your appointment AND
  2. A Valid Photo identification - This should be a government-issued photo identification document (such as a green card, driver's license, or passport). Suppose the name on your photo ID does not match the name on the ASC appointment notice. In that case, you should bring original supporting documents.

Note that applicants filing an Application for Naturalization or an Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card or Green Card must bring their Green Card to the appointment.

What to Expect During Your Biometrics Appointment in 2021

On the day of your appointment, you should check for office closures or any other updated information on the USCIS website.

Plan to arrive at the facility no earlier than 15 minutes before your scheduled time, as shown on your Form I-797C.

When you arrive at the ASC, you will observe notices on the door saying that the use of all electronic devices is not allowed. Be prepared to turn your cell phone off if you must bring it into the facility.

As the pandemic continues in 2021, some ASC locations might require you to wear a face covering. So be prepared to bring a face covering to your appointment. Otherwise, you may be denied entry into the facility. If a mask is required in your facility, be prepared to wear your face covering at all times.

Once you enter the facility, you will meet a receptionist who will review your ASC appointment notice and photo identification.

After the receptionist reviews your documents and confirms your identity, you will be given a processing form and a ticket number. After which, you will be directed to take a seat as you wait for the biometrics officer to call your ticket number.

Again depending on the number of people ahead of you, you may not wait here for long.

While you wait here, you may request to use a restroom if you please. Just make sure to be mindful of your waiting time.

What happens when you get your fingerprints and photographs taken?

When the biometrics officer calls on your ticket number, you will go to the biometrics officer's booth.

The biometrics officer will collect and review all the documents you brought, including the processing form and ticket number handed to you by the receptionist.

If your ASC code states code #2 or code #3, you will be asked to sit on a chair where your photograph will be taken.

After your photo is taken, you will be asked to scan your fingerprints. Here the number of digits that will be scanned will depend on your ASC code.

If you have ASC Code # 1 or code #3, all your fingers will be scanned.

For ASC code #2, only your left and right index fingers will be scanned.

Your biometrics officer will assist you with the scanning process. So don't worry about making a mistake.

For ASC code #2 and code #3, you will be asked to provide your electronic signature after your fingerprints are captured.

At this point, your biometrics collection process is complete.

What happens after my biometrics are collected?

Once your biometrics have been collected, the biometrics officer will place a stamp on your Form I-797C, indicating that your biometrics have been collected.

Your stamped Form I-797C and your photo identification will then be returned to you.

At this point, you may leave the ASC facility.

How long does the scheduled appointment last?

The approximate time of your biometrics appointment should take between 10 - 20 minutes. This could be shorter or longer depending on the number of people waiting before you or the number of available biometrics officers.

Is the Application Support Center kept clean during the pandemic?

With the ongoing pandemic, you can expect the ASC workers to perform strict cleaning protocols during your appointment.

There should be hand sanitizers available for use after you have touched common areas.

Furthermore, between applicants, the biometrics officers will disinfect the booth where your biometrics information is collected.

The biometrics officers are required to wear face-covering and gloves while attending to applicants at all times.

What Happens After My Scheduled Appointment?

After your biometrics are collected, USCIS will use your biometrics to perform a background search with the FBI. The results of this search will be used to either deny or approve your immigration-related application.

The next step after your biometrics appointment will depend on the type of USCIS application. For example, an interview is typical for the marriage green card or employment-based green card application after the biometrics have been collected.

FAQs

Does USCIS biometrics appointment accept walk-ins?

Currently, walk-in appointments are not allowed at the Application Support Center. The only exception is for applicants who are in the US military. Appointments for other applicants must be scheduled.

Is there a fee for the USCIS biometrics appointment?

Currently, the USCIS biometrics fee is $85. This fee is paid at the time you submit your application to USCIS and not during your USCIS biometrics appointment. You are not required to show any proof of payment for your biometrics fee during your appointment.

What happens if I do not show up to my appointment?

Failing to show up to your scheduled appointment might cause USCIS to regard your application as abandoned and your entire application could be denied. If you can't make your appointment, you should consider rescheduling your appointment to a date and time that works best for you.

Final Thoughts

Receiving an appointment notice is a great step along your US immigration journey. We hope this article resolved some of your pressing USCIS biometrics appointment questions.

If you are experiencing significant delays in processing of your immigration case, check out our article on the best ways of speeding up your case with USCIS.

Best of Luck!

Chuky Ofoegbu


With almost a decade of experience pursuing higher education in the United States, I fully understand the pain points foreign students endure. I created this website to help foreign students successfully navigate their way through the challenges they will face while living in the United States.

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