For many applications—including applications for adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence, applications for employment authorization, and applications for some nonimmigrant classifications—the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires the applicant to appear at a local Application Support Center (ASC) office so that USCIS can collect their biometrics and perform a biometric background check. USCIS collects the applicant’s fingerprints, photograph, and/or signature.
USCIS typically schedules the Biometrics Appointment within a few weeks of receiving the application, although there have been some delays lately. When USCIS schedules the Biometrics Appointment, it prepares and send an ASC Appointment Notice to the applicant which lists the address, date, and time of the appointment along with an explanation of what documents to bring. Typically, the appointment date will be about two weeks after the Notice is delivered.
If you receive a Notice instructing you to appear at a Biometrics Appointment, you should plan to attend at the date and time listed. The penalty for failure to appear at a scheduled Biometrics Appointment is that USCIS will consider your application abandoned, and deny the application.
While it is possible to request that a Biometrics Appointment be rescheduled, that process is unreliable and not automatic. In fact, in the past month USCIS has made it considerably more difficult to request rescheduling.
Previously, the ASC Appointment Notice included a check box which said “Please reschedule my appointment,” which could be checked before sending the Notice back to USCIS. Upon receipt, USCIS would reschedule the appointment and send a new Notice.
Now, USCIS requires an applicant to call its USCIS Contact Center, wade through a complicated automated phone system which is designed to make it difficult to speak with a person, and make a request to reschedule the Biometrics Appointment over the phone. USCIS has also added a requirement that the applicant “establish good cause for rescheduling.” If the applicant is unable to convince the USCIS representative on the phone that there is a good enough reason to reschedule the appointment, that request can be denied and the applicant will have to attend the originally-scheduled Biometrics Appointment, or have their application be denied.For the sake of your application, if at all possible, you should plan to attend any scheduled Biometrics Appointment at the date and time originally provided by USCIS.
Senior Associate Attorney – Dallas, Texas
David Swaim and Associates, P.C.