If you are applying for an immigration benefit, are over the age of 14, and live in the United States, you will probably need to attend a biometrics appointment at a local Application Support Center (ASC). This is required for a variety of immigration applications, including citizenship, green card renewals, adjustments of status, asylum, and more.
At that appointment, you will provide U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) with your fingerprints, photograph, and/or signature.
If you fail to attend your biometrics appointment, it could result in significant delays in your application. USCIS could even deem your application abandoned and reject it. This is true even if you never received the biometrics notice. Your only option after an abandoned or rejected application would be to refile your application, including paying new filing fees.
With careful monitoring of the progress of your application and your appointment dates, however, you can take steps to get a new biometrics appointment and quickly get your application back on track.
Some applicants never receive their biometrics notice at all. USCIS normally sends out biometrics notices within three to eight weeks of receiving an application.
If you have received neither a receipt notice nor a biometrics notice in over two months, USCIS may have the wrong address on file. Contact USCIS customer service immediately (1-800-375-5283) and see whether it can send the receipt notice and biometrics to the correct address.
However, if you received your receipt notice and never received a biometrics notice, the biometrics notice might have been lost in the mail. In that case, you can again contact USCIS customer service to request a new appointment date. You can also submit an e-request using the case number on your receipt with an online case inquiry.
It’s also possible that you did not receive a biometrics notice because USCIS already has your biometrics on file. This may occur if someone already went to a biometrics appointment with USCIS within the last year, for example for renewing a green card, and then the person later filed for citizenship.
If you are not sure whether USCIS already has your biometrics on file, call USCIS customer service for clarification.
If you received a biometrics appointment notice but missed your appointment, you have several options.
First, if the missed appointment was recent (less than a week ago), you can simply check the “request for rescheduling” box midway down the application and mail it to the address shown. USCIS will send you a new biometrics notice, but it may take several weeks to do so. If you choose this option, make a copy of the notice and save it for your records.
A quicker option is to visit the ASC as a walk-in. In some areas, the local ASC will accept walk-in applicants. You could go to the ASC, bring a copy of your biometrics notice as well as the documents listed on your notice, and explain to the officer why you missed the initial appointment. Often, the officer will be willing to capture someone’s biometrics, even if it is past the original appointment date. However, this is not guaranteed, and USCIS is not required to take your biometrics outside of the scheduled appointment time.
You can always contact USCIS by phone or online inquiry to request a new notice, instead.
If you live outside the United States and need to have your biometrics taken, the process is different. If you are applying for naturalization, you do not attend a biometrics appointment. Instead, you submit two passport-style photos of yourself and, in some cases, the Form FD-258 fingerprints card with your application. Contact your local U.S. consulate or embassy and go to the Ink Fingerprinting Overseas page of the State Department website for more information.
For applications besides naturalization, USCIS overseas field offices will only take biometrics in rare and exceptional circumstances. Plan any international travel accordingly.