This may be alarming, but there is nothing to be worried about. In this blog, we will go over what a biometric screening entails and what you should expect during your screening.
What is Biometric Screening?
You may have already jumped through numerous hoops in your journey to become a United States Citizen. Do not be alarmed if the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services schedules you for a biometric screening.
A biometric screening, or biometric collection, is the process of collecting biometric data from you. You may be asking yourself what biometric data is. According to Homeland Security, biometric data consist of unique physical characteristics. This can include fingerprints, hand shape, voice recordings, and photos of the face, eyes, and face shape.
Biological biometrics can also be collected, such as saliva, blood, and urine, which all contain DNA.
What is the Purpose of Biometric Data?
USCIS uses biometric data for a number of reasons. Biometric data can be used to confirm your identity as well as to create a secure way to access documents. Biometrics are also used to ensure you have not had your biometric data collected before, such as from the scene of a crime or after an arrest.
Biometric data is essential for ensuring the security of the United States and the people within, including you.
Where Do I Go For a Biometric Screening?
Biometric screenings are held at USCIS-authorized Application Support Centers, also known as ACS. It is important to remember that an ACS is not the same as the USCIS official office. The ACS staff will not be able to answer any questions regarding your application process. The professionals working at these support centers cannot access your case files.
What Should I Bring to my Screening?
You should bring your photo identification, such as a driver’s license or passport, with you to your biometric screening, as well as a copy of your USCIS biometric screening appointment notice. You won’t be able to bring things like your phone or other photographic or video devices with you to your screening, nor will you be able to bring food or drink.
Be sure to read your biometric screening notice. Your notice will go into detail on what exactly you need to bring with you, as well as what you can expect during your appointment.
While you do not need an immigration attorney for the biometric screening process, it is a good idea to have an experienced immigration lawyer while navigating the citizenship application process.
What Should I Expect From My Biometric Screening?
A biometric screening only takes roughly twenty minutes, not including wait time. When you arrive at your appointment, you may be given a number to represent your place in line. Listen for the announcer to call your number. You may be asked to fill out a form while you wait. An ASC employee will be able to help you if you require any assistance.
During the screening, a technician will collect your biometric data. This is most often your fingerprints, a picture of your face, and your signature, which will be saved as a digital capture.
What Will Happen After My Screening?
When you complete your biometrics appointment, you will be given a stamp on your appointment notice. This is confirmation that you attended your appointment. It is vital that you file this document away for safekeeping. A circumstance may arise where USCIS cannot find a record of your attending your screening.
Your fingerprints will be sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for review. The FBI checks your fingerprints against a database that has access to police records, as well as USCIS.
The FBI will confirm your identity with USCIS. The FBI will also report any crimes or immigration violations to USCIS after the screening.
Beware, if the FBI or USCIS finds violations on your record, it may make you inadmissible or even deportable.
What if I Have a Criminal Record?
Not all crimes will result in you becoming ineligible for immigration. If the FBI or USCIS discovers your criminal record, it can seriously hinder your application process or result in an outright denial.
Do I Need an Attorney?
While an attorney is not necessary for biometric screening, nor will they be able to alter the outcome of the screening, it is still a good idea to have an experienced immigration attorney to represent you throughout the citizenship application process. Having a compassionate immigration lawyer, like the lawyers found at the Law Office of Shelle-Ann Simon, PLLC, can help you throughout the process.
Although an attorney will not be able to sway the outcome of your biometric screening, they will be able to help you find out if your record is clean. They can have you fingerprinted and have your prints analyzed. This way, you can rest easy knowing nothing will come back negative on your record, or, if you do have a criminal record, you won’t be walking into your USCIS interview blind.