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The Immigration Observer

USCIS Announces Online Self-Service Tool to Reschedule Biometric Fingerprinting

July 13, 2023

On June 28, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) launched a new self-service tool on https://my.uscis.gov/ that allows benefit requestors and their attorneys and accredited representatives to reschedule most biometric services appointments online, without calling the USCIS Contact Center.

USCIS collects fingerprints, photographs, and digital signatures to conduct background checks on individuals seeking immigration benefits as well as any individual associated with the benefit request. Biometrics appointments are generally scheduled by USCIS based on availability at an Application Support Center located in the area where the applicant resides.  Missing a biometrics appointment could have significant implications for an individual’s application status, including USCIS considering such applications abandoned.

While USCIS already allows individuals to reschedule biometrics appointments under certain circumstances, prior to the newly adopted policy, individuals or their attorneys or accredited representatives could do so only by calling the USCIS Contact Center. This process has traditionally been plagued by long wait times, thus draining valuable resources from individual applicants, their representatives, and USCIS itself. This new option aims to both streamline the process of biometrics rescheduling and reduce USCIS Contact Center wait times, thus improving the overall experience for all USCIS customers.

USCIS Biometric Services Instructions

While the biometric services appointment rescheduling tool is available for both paper- and online-filed benefit requests, there are currently some restrictions on its use. For example, customers must still call the Contact Center to reschedule a biometric services appointment in the following circumstances:

  • The request is within 12 hours of your existing appointment time;
  • This is the third attempt to reschedule the same appointment;
  • The request is for a missed appointment; or
  • The tool is unavailable due to technical reasons.

Additionally, as has been the case previously, requests to reschedule a biometrics appointment must be accompanied by “good cause,” meaning that the requestor must provide a sufficient reason for the inability to appear on the scheduled appointment date. Under new guidance, USCIS has clarified that sufficient reasons for “good cause” may include, but are not limited to:

  • Illness, medical appointment, or hospitalization;
  • Previously planned travel;
  • Significant life events such as a wedding, funeral, or graduation ceremony;
  • Inability to obtain transportation to the appointment location;
  • Inability to obtain leave from employment or caregiver responsibilities; and
  • Late delivered or undelivered biometric services appointment notice.

New Online Biometric Appointment Instructions

Individuals looking to use USCIS’s new online biometrics rescheduling tool can follow these steps:

  • Create a USCIS online account (if they do not already have one) at https://www.uscis.gov/file-online/how-to-create-a-uscis-online-account;
  • Visit https://my.uscis.gov/ before their scheduled appointment date;
  • Select the Biometric Rescheduling option;
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to reserve a new appointment time and/or appointment location;
  • Choose a method (email or SMS message) to receive a confirmation message once a printable copy of the new appointment notice is available;
  • Print the new appointment notice to bring to the application support center (ASC);
  • Attend the new appointment with:
    • A printed copy of all appointment notices;
    • A valid, unexpired photo identification (Green Card, passport, or driver’s license) or other identity documentation authorized by USCIS.

Given the novelty of USCIS’s online biometrics rescheduling tool, it will take some time to adequately assess whether it will have a significant impact. It is, however, a major step in USCIS’s recent attempts to streamline many of its services and improve overall customer satisfaction. Hopefully, one of many to come.

If you have any questions about this process, please contact Lepore Taylor Fox by emailing info@ltf-law.com or by calling (908) 873-1800.

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