In some US immigration processes, an immigration biometrics test will be needed. This is not a new requirement. Even in the days of the INS, biometrics was required and the USCIS also requires biometrics for a number of applications. You do not need biometrics for every application – when you download the latest immigration form you will need, you will be able to see from the instructions that come with the form whether biometrics will be needed or not.
USCIS biometrics tests require you to get fingerprinted and get a photo taken. While you are at your immigration biometrics appointment, you will need to also complete a form of your information, including your name, your place of birth, your date of birth, address, eye color, height, and weight. In most cases, if you need a USCIS biometrics test, you will need to make an appointment for this test. Simply follow the directions on your immigration form to create an appointment.
Once you know the date of your immigration biometrics appointment, make sure that you prepare in advance. Bring documentation to the appointment and arrive dressed for a photo. As well, in some cases, you will not be able to take your mobile devices into the office, so be sure to read the instructions that come with your biometrics appointment information.
In most cases, your immigration biometrics appointment will take place in an office. If you are outside of the US, it will typically take place in a consulate or embassy. It is a good idea to arrive early – well before your appointment and to be prepared to wait. While the photographing and fingerprinting will not take a long time, there is usually a wait involved because other applicants also need to be taken through the process. Set aside at least an hour for the total process, to be on the safe side, although your USCIS biometrics process may take less time.
There are many reasons why you may need to go through the immigration biometrics process. The fingerprinting is done to ensure that there is a record of your fingerprints if you leave the country, for example. This ensures that there is a record if your fingerprints ever need to be identified. Fingerprinting also ensures everyone’s safety by making it harder for criminals to apply for immigration processes for which they are not eligible. Having your photo taken and filling out the biographic information during your biometrics appointment also helps to establish your identity for your immigration process and ensures that there is a system for identifying you.