Biometrics Collection From US Immigrants Expanded To Include DNA Testing, Iris Scans

Posted on January 15, 2021
New biometrics

In an extreme step towards a very ‘personal’ data collection arrangement, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs of The White House has reviews and approved extending the boundaries of biometrics. The biometric collection is now extended to include DNA testing, palms prints, voice recordings and iris scans.

This invasive personal data will now be taken from a larger pool of immigrants which may be required more than once along the process of acquiring US citizenship, and even after that. The biometric requirement will now extend over 6 million immigrants per year instead of the 3.3 who qualify currently.

Important To Know: Biometric Fees For B2, Visitor Visa Extensions

The New Biometrics Rule – A Continuous Vetting Process

Under the published final ruling, DHS will collect biometrics for “any application or petition” unlike now where biometrics is required only for applications involving background checks. This would include non-immigrant visas, green card applicants, those seeking work permits including eligible dependents of foreign workers, DACA members and US citizen applicants.

Related Article: What To Expect At Your Fingerprinting Appointment Today

Even after receiving citizenship, US citizens can be asked to verify their biometrics if they are sponsoring a family member. This will mean seeking DNA of the applicant as well as the sponsoring US citizen to confirm genetic relationships in cases where that is an eligibility requirement.

Related Article: Fingerprinting For US Citizenship

Per this final ruling, the vetting process will not stop with having received US citizenship. Biometrics of different forms will be sought on a continuous basis, if the DHS feels the need for it.

Expanded Biometrics

Currently, submitting ones biometric is limited to fingerprints, photographs and signatures. With the new rule, DHS will have the authority to go beyond that and seek the immigrant petitioner’s DNA, voiceprints, iris scans, and detailed photographs for facial recognition.

This expansion is expected to widen further as varying technologies are being explored that can be utilized to gain further personal information from any and all immigrants seeking US citizenship. 

Related Article: Biometric Screening Replaces Boarding Passes In Some US Airports

No Age Barred

While the current biometric system limits collection from petitioners above the age of 14, this expansion will have no age bar. Even minors will be subjected to the above personal data collection which includes DNA and eye-scans. 

As stated above, this requirement might be frequently sought at all stages of the immigration process until or after US citizenship has been acquired.

Why, The Need For An Extensive Biometric Collection

Contactless Surveillance
  • Reduce the dependence on paper work and use technology to collect information to prove “identity and familial relationships”;
  • Introduce contactless vetting to improve processing times;
  • Improve surveillance by identifying fraudsters and grant access to US benefits to the eligible by preventing identity theft;

While The White House regulatory review office has cleared the Department of Homeland Security’s final rule regarding this extensive collection of biometrics, President-elect Joe Biden is expected to halt all similar midnight regulations as soon as he takes charge at The Oval Office on January 20, 2021. Moreover, some opposition in the form of privacy invasion lawsuits could be anticipated as well.

Stay tuned to this space for the latest details pertaining to your US immigration application.

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