USCIS Issues Updates to Biometrics Collection Guidance

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced updates to its Policy Manual that address mobile biometrics services and fingerprint waivers.

USCIS requires biometrics from individuals who submit applications, petitions, and requests for certain immigration benefits. USCIS uses biometrics to verify identity, produce secure documents, and conduct required criminal and national security background checks. 

Mobile Biometrics Services

Generally, individuals have their biometrics collected by appointment at an Applicant Support Center (ASC). In limited cases, at the discretion of the agency, USCIS may make special arrangements to collect biometrics from those who cannot attend scheduled ASC appointments in person, due to disability or other health reasons.

This update clarifies that USCIS will not provide mobile biometrics services in prisons or jails for individuals who cannot attend their ASC appointment due to incarceration or detention.

This policy applies only to individuals held in non-DHS custody. For those in DHS custody, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will continue to collect biometrics.

Fingerprint Waivers

The updated guidance also clarifies that an approved fingerprint waiver is tied to the specific petition, request, or application listed on notice of the appointment for submission of biometrics at the ASC. In other words, someone cannot use an approved waiver for any other biometrics requirement for any future filings. 

Individuals may qualify for a waiver of the fingerprint requirement if they cannot provide fingerprints because of a medical condition. Only certain USCIS employees are authorized to grant a fingerprint waiver.

These updates will improve consistency, fairness, and efficiency in how USCIS handles biometrics services. For more information, see the policy guidance (PDF, 294 KB). Visit the Policy Manual for Comment page for more information on stakeholder review and comment. 

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