Biometrics is an integral part of your journey towards U.S. citizenship. This involves a background check to ascertain your criminal history, any immigration violations, etc. before a U.S. citizenship is granted. USCIS requires applicants and petitioners for certain immigration benefits to undergo a biometrics process wherein you will be fingerprinted, photographed and signatures are collected for the purpose of conducting FBI criminal background checks.
Once you have filed the application, the USCIS will send out a letter informing you about when and where you can get your fingerprinting for Citizenship & Naturalization done. On the given date, take the appointment letter and some form of identification with you.
Fingerprinting: Sites & Authorized Locations
To better ensure both the quality and integrity of the process, USCIS processes fingerprint cards for immigration benefits only if an authorized fingerprint site prepares them. Authorized fingerprint sites include USCIS offices, Application Support Centers (ASCs), and U.S. consular offices and military installations abroad.
In general, USCIS schedules people to be fingerprinted at an authorized fingerprint site after an application or petition is filed. USCIS charges $85 per person (for most applicants) at the time of filing for this fingerprinting service. Please check the instructions on your Immigration application or petition form to find out if you must be fingerprinted.
To make fingerprinting more convenient for customers, USCIS has opened 84 freestanding fingerprint sites (ASCs) and 46 sites located in existing USCIS offices. USCIS now employs a system where fingerprints are taken and submitted electronically to the FBI. By using electronic fingerprint technology, USCIS has significantly reduced processing times for criminal background checks.
Fingerprinting: How It Works
When you are at the stage when you have to submit your biometric fee of $85, you will be asked to submit your application for fingerprinting.
Once submitted, USCIS will send you an appointment letter. This will detail out your location and date of appointment. Please ensure you go this authorized site only.
Your appointment letter will list out any additional documents you may need to carry with you for the finger printing. This includes your permanent resident card, driver’s license, passport, and some other documents. There should also be a photograph on your second form of identification. Ensure you take your finger printing letter as well.
At the Fingerprinting Appointment
- Fill out forms identifying that this is for U.S. naturalization.
- Submit all requested paperwork.
- Finger prints are taken electronically and sent directly to FBI to conduct a background check on you.
- You will be asked to await a response from USCIS via postal mail. This will have details for next steps.
Once Finger Printing Is Completed
If the background check comes clear:
- Your case status will read, “fingerprint review was completed”.
- You will be scheduled for an interview.
- A notice will be mailed to you by USCIS that contains the time, date, and place of your interview.
If the background does not check come clear:
- You will be asked to redo your finger printing
- You will be asked to bring some police clearances for every place you lived in for the last 5 years.