What is Biometrics?
Biometrics refer to the technologies that measure and analyze human physical characteristics, such as fingerprints, eye retinas and irises, voice patterns and facial patterns for the purpose of verifying the identity of an individual or checking against other entries in the database.
Why is biometrics procedure required for most foreigners?
Applicant for Green Card and Naturalization(Citizenship) are required to be fingerprinted so that FBI can check against their databases to ensure prospective immigrants are not inadmissible.
For international visitors, biometrics procedures enhance U.S. national security, because fingerprints taken will be compared with similarly collected fingerprints at US ports of entry under the US-VISIT program. This will verify visitors identity to reduce use of stolen and counterfeit visas, and protect against possible use by terrorists or those who might pose security threats to the U.S.
Who needs to be fingerprinted?
Most visitors coming to the U.S. (US-Visit program) and immigrant visa applicants are required to have their fingerprints taken, which include, but not limited to, the following classes of individuals:
- All visa applicants applying for a US Visas at a US Consulate
- All international visitors traveling to the U.S.
- Adjustment of Status (I-485) applicants
- Green card New and Green Card Renewal Applicants.
- Naturalization(US Citizenship) applicants
- Other petitions that have biometric requirements (I-761, I-821, and I-829, etc.)
Are there any exceptions?
The most common exceptions, who may not need biometrics are:
- Foreigners admitted on A, G, NATO visas
- Children under the age of 14
- Persons over the age of 79
- Taiwan officials who hold E-1 visas and members of their immediate families who hold E-1 visas.
- Certain Canadian citizens and Mexican citizens
Please visit DHS website for a complete list http://www.dhs.gov/files/programs/ editorial_0527.shtm
I filed for Adjustment of Status application about 3 weeks ago and just received my receipt notice. What are the next step? When will I receive the biometrics notice?
Once the I-485 Adjustment of Status application package is receipted in by the USCIS, you can expect to receive a biometrics appointment notice in about 4 to 8 weeks. The notice specifies the date, time and location of the nearest Application Support Center (ASC) so that you can have your fingerprints taken. If you miss the date you can always contact the address or number on the notice to reschedule your appointment.
Can I send fingerprint cards to the USCIS?
No, your fingerprint cards will not be accepted.
Can I refuse to be fingerprinted?
Yes, however that also means your application for visa at the consulate or adjustment of status with the USCIS will not be approved.
Is there any fee for US visa Biometrics/ fingerprinting?
Yes, all such applications filed within the US, like Green-card, EAD, Citizenship etc where Biometrics is required, there is a separate biometrics fee of $85( as of Nov, 23, 2010).
For biometrics performed outside the US, at the US consulate for Visa purpose etc OR at any US post the fee may or may not be applicable.
Learn more information about Fingerprinting and biometric process for US visas at US Visa Fingerprinting