Biometrics Appointments for Fingerprints

At a biometrics appointment, also called a fingerprint appointment, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will collect your fingerprints, photo, and signature. Biometrics appointments are a normal part of the asylum process. If you want to pursue your asylum case, it is very important to go to your biometrics appointment!

Scroll down or click on the links below to read questions and answers from the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP). You can also watch this video.

What is a biometrics appointment?

A biometrics appointment (also called fingerprint appointment) is an appointment with USCIS. During the appointment, USCIS collects your fingerprints, photo, and signature.

If you apply for asylum, you will be required to go to a biometrics appointment. It is a normal part of the asylum process, whether you have a case in immigration court or with USCIS. The information that USCIS gathers from you in your biometrics appointment will be used to confirm your identity, and also to check your immigration history and any criminal history.

It is very important to go to your biometrics appointment. Even if you have a deportation order or criminal convictions, it is generally very safe to go to biometrics appointments. If you do not go to your biometrics appointment, your asylum application could be denied. It could also result in delays or denial of your work permit application when you apply for your work permit.

When USCIS has scheduled a biometrics appointment for you, USCIS should send you a biometrics appointment notice with the date, time, and location of your appointment.

  • If you applied for asylum in immigration court, or if you applied for asylum with USCIS by mail, USCIS should mail the biometrics appointment notice to you. Check your mail regularly and keep your address updated.
  • If you applied for asylum with USCIS online, USCIS should upload your biometrics appointment notice to your online USCIS account. Check your online USCIS account regularly.

You should bring your biometrics appointment notice to the appointment. During the appointment, a government official will stamp the notice as proof that you have completed your biometrics appointment. You should keep the stamped notice in a safe place.

Read below to make sure you have taken the necessary steps for USCIS to schedule your biometrics appointment.

How do I get scheduled for a biometrics appointment?

How you get scheduled for a biometrics appointment depends on whether you are applying for asylum with USCIS or immigration court.

If you are applying for asylum with USCIS, you will submit an asylum application (Form I-589) to USCIS. You should then be automatically scheduled for a biometrics appointment.

If you are applying for asylum in immigration court, you will submit an asylum application (Form I-589) in immigration court. Then you have to send a copy of the first three pages of your application to USCIS in order to schedule your biometrics appointment. You need to complete your biometrics appointment before your individual hearing (sometimes also called a “merits” hearing or “final” hearing).

  • After you submit your asylum application to the immigration court, you need to send these documents to USCIS:
    • A copy of the first three pages of your asylum application.
    • A copy of these instructions from USCIS.
    • Note: If you included your spouse or children in your asylum case, and all of you have the same immigration court hearings, you only have to send one package of these documents to USCIS. However, each family member should send a separate package if they have their own separate asylum applications or they have different immigration court hearings. Read more about which family members can be included in your asylum case here.
  • Mail these documents to:

USCIS Nebraska Service Center
Defensive Asylum Application with Immigration Court
P.O. Box 87589
Lincoln, NE 68501-7589

When is my biometrics appointment?

When USCIS has scheduled a biometrics appointment for you, USCIS should send you a biometrics appointment notice.

  • If you applied for asylum in immigration court, or if you applied for asylum with USCIS by mail, USCIS should mail the biometrics appointment notice to you. Check your mail regularly and keep your address updated.
  • If you applied for asylum with USCIS online, USCIS should upload your biometrics appointment notice to your online USCIS account. Check your online USCIS account regularly.

Your biometrics appointment notice tells you the date, time, and location of your appointment. You should bring the biometrics appointment notice and plan to arrive 15 minutes before your appointment.

What do I need to bring with me to my biometrics appointment?

When you go to your appointment, you need to bring your appointment notice with you. During the appointment, a government official will stamp the notice as proof that you have completed your biometrics appointment. You should keep the stamped notice in a safe place.

You also need an identification document, such as your passport, to the biometrics appointment. If you do not have a valid government-issued ID, you can try bringing as many of the following documents as you have:

  • Birth certificate
  • School ID
  • Expired IDs
  • A copy or photo of an ID
  • An immigration document, especially one with your photo on it, like this ICE check-in log.

What should I do if I have not received a biometrics appointment notice?

If you have not received a biometrics appointment notice, your next steps depend on whether you are applying for asylum with USCIS or with immigration court. Even if you have not yet completed a biometrics appointment, you can still apply for a work permit.

If you are applying with USCIS: 

  1. Check your documents to see if you have received a receipt notice for submitting your asylum application (Form I-589). Unfortunately, it is currently normal to have to wait a long time before USCIS sends you a receipt notice.
  2. If you have not received a receipt notice after three months, you can call the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283. When you are asked to explain what you are calling about, you can say “InfoPass” in order to speak with a representative. Then, you can explain that you submitted your asylum application three months ago but you have not received a receipt notice. Be sure to have your A Number ready (if you have one), as well as any mailing information you may have, such as the date you mailed your documents and the mailing tracking number.
  3. If you have received a receipt notice, use the receipt number to check your case status on this USCIS webpage. If you learn that USCIS sent you a biometrics appointment notice but you did not receive it in the mail, you can call the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283. If you learn that you missed your biometrics appointment already, you can call and explain that you did not receive your notice and ask to reschedule the appointment.
  4. If USCIS has not sent you a biometrics appointment notice yet, you can keep checking your case status every week. It is normal to have to wait for a while before getting scheduled for a biometrics appointment. Check your mail and online USCIS account (if you applied for asylum online) and keep your address updated.

If you are applying with immigration court: 

  1. Follow these instructions to request a biometrics appointment.
  2. Check your documents to see if you have received a receipt notice for submitting your documents to USCIS. Unfortunately, it is currently normal to have to wait a long time before USCIS sends you a receipt notice.
  3. If you have not received a receipt notice after three months, you can call the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283. When you are asked to explain what you are calling about, you can say “InfoPass” in order to speak with a representative. Then, you can explain that you are seeking asylum in immigration court, and you submitted a copy of your asylum application to USCIS, but you have not received a receipt notice. Be sure to have your A Number ready (if you have one), as well as any mailing information you may have, such as the date you mailed your documents and the mailing tracking number.
  4. If you have received a receipt notice, you should automatically receive a biometrics appointment notice in the mail. Keep checking your mail and keep your address updated. If after 2 months, you still have not received a biometrics appointment notice, you can call USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283. During the call, if you learn that you missed your biometrics appointment, you can explain that you did not receive your biometrics appointment notice and ask to reschedule the appointment.
  5. If your individual hearing is happening soon, but you still have not received a biometrics appointment notice, you can call the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283. You can also contact the government attorney assigned to your immigration court case, and tell them that you have not had your biometrics appointment yet. You can find the phone numbers of government attorney offices here. The government attorney may be able to get you scheduled for a biometrics appointment.

Can I still apply for a work permit even if I have not completed a biometrics appointment yet?

Yes, you can still apply for a work permit! Asylum seekers can generally apply for a work permit 150 days after submitting an asylum application. If 150 days have already passed but you have not had your biometrics appointment yet, you can still submit a work permit application. You can learn more about applying for your first work permit as an asylum seeker here.

You will eventually need to complete a biometrics appointment to continue with your asylum case, but you do not need it to apply for a work permit.

What should I do if I cannot go to my biometrics appointment on the scheduled date?

If you cannot go to your biometrics appointment, you can request to reschedule it by phone or online. It is best to reschedule your biometrics appointment before your appointment date. That is because if you miss your appointment, your asylum application could be denied. Missing your appointment can also result in delays or denial of your work permit application. 

Option 1: Phone

  • Call USCIS at 1-800-375-5283.
  • When you are asked to explain what you are calling about, you can say “Reschedule biometrics appointment.” You should then be able to speak with a USCIS representative to reschedule your appointment.
  • After the phone call, you should receive a new biometrics appointment notice in the mail. Bring the notice to your appointment.

Option 2: Online

  • Create or log into your online myUSCIS account. You can watch this USCIS video about how to create an online account.
  • After logging in, if you are asked to choose between different webpage options, you can choose “myUSCIS” to get to your online account.
  • Once you are in myUSCIS account page, you can begin your request for a new biometrics appointment. If you are using a phone, click “Menu” in the top right corner, click “Account actions,” then click “Reschedule Biometrics.” If you are on a computer, click “My Account” in the top right corner, then click “Reschedule Biometrics.”
  • Follow the instructions to request a new biometrics appointment.
  • You should receive a new biometrics appointment notice in your online account. Print and bring the notice to your appointment.
  • Note: You cannot use the online option if your appointment is in less than 12 hours or you have already rescheduled your appointment twice. Call USCIS at 1-800-375-5283 instead.

If you already missed your appointment, read about next steps here.

What should I do if I already missed my biometrics appointment?

Missing a biometrics appointment can cause your asylum case to be denied or delayed. It could also cause your work permit application to be denied or delayed. That is why it is important to try to reschedule your appointment as soon as possible if you already missed it!

If you already missed your appointment, but it has been less than a few weeks, you can try going to the USCIS office location listed in your biometrics appointment notice. You can explain your situation to the officers and ask them to take your fingerprints at that time. Some USCIS offices allow this.

If you already missed your appointment, and it has been more than a few weeks, you can call USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283 as soon as possible. You can explain what happened, and ask them to reschedule your appointment.

If you are having problems with your immigration case because you missed your biometrics appointment, you may wish to find legal assistance to understand your options.

Note: This page is for adults who are interested in seeking asylum in the United States. Our hope is that you will use the information to better understand the asylum process and take control of your case. However, this information is not a substitute for legal advice about your particular case. To look for legal assistance, visit ASAP’s find help page

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