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How to submit biometric data in quarantine: important information from USCIS

More than a million immigrants in the United States who have applied for U.S. citizenship, immigration status change and other services are awaiting appointments at local Support Centers (ASCs) to provide their biometrics: fingerprints, photographs, and / or signatures. According to Miami Herald, there is good news and bad news for them.

Photo: Shutterstock

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, personal services were canceled at USCIS offices between March and June last year, and after the opening, restrictions were imposed to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Thousands of biometric appointments have been canceled. USCIS said it will postpone them to other dates as soon as work is normalized. But many applicants have yet to receive a postponed or new assignment and thus their immigration processes have been postponed.

In early January 2021, the US immigration authorities provided the first update on the situation at the Support Centers.

USCIS acknowledged that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are delays in scheduling or rescheduling appointments at ASC to collect biometric data.

"The current processing time depends on several variables, including demand and throughput of individual ASCs," the agency said in a statement.

On the subject: What immigration forms can you fill out online and how to do it

As of mid-December, about 1,3 million immigration applicants were pending appointments to collect biometric data, according to the agency. Already scheduled appointments for 280 immigrants were canceled between March and June.

"USCIS began the phased reopening of Support Centers in July after we installed security screens and implemented appropriate social distancing measures at 132 sites," the agency said in a statement.

However, despite the reopening, “there have been temporary closings of the ASC for reasons such as local self-isolation orders; disinfection due to COVID-19; and extreme weather conditions ”.

The process of collecting biometrics at the USCIS Support Center usually takes 15 to 20 minutes.

Later, the information is sent to law enforcement agencies for data verification. Biometrics is also one of the 10 steps for permanent residents to obtain US citizenship. The ongoing delays in the queues for this process are bad news. But there is also a good one.

It lies in the fact that, taking into account these problems, USCIS in certain cases will reuse previously collected biometric data, so some immigrants will be able to promote their cases without waiting for the collection of biometric data.

If USCIS reuses biometric data for a pending application, the agency "will send the applicant a Form I-797 notice, which will state the use of the data and indicate that the applicant is not required to appear at ASC," the agency explained, noting that not all applications meet the biometric reuse requirements.

You may be interested in: top New York news, stories of our immigrants and helpful tips about life in the Big Apple - read it all on ForumDaily New York.

According to the immigration agency, biometric appointments are scheduled based on priority of service types, adjudication options and processing times.

For more information on preparing for an appointment with a biometric service, visit USCIS online resource... Before visiting any USCIS facility, you can also check this web pageto find out if the office is open or not.

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