Can I Do An Early Walk-In For My Biometrics Appointment Instead Of Waiting?
After you file your green card or citizenship application, you’ll receive a letter from USCIS that shows you the date and time for your biometrics appointment. The biometrics appointment is used to get collect your fingerprints, photograph and signature. This sensitive information is saved in your Alien Registration File that is used across different immigration agencies. So, can you do an early walk-in for the biometrics appointment?
Even though the appointment notice (Form I-797C, Notice of Action) will tell you the exact date, time of your appointment, you don’t need to wait for it. I went to my appointment 4 hours before my appointment time and I was accepted to do my biometrics.
Many people, understandably, want to complete the biometrics quickly so that the USCIS can continue processing their application. So, if you’d like to get there days or hours earlier, go for it. Remember to bring your appointment letter and your ID or green card. You don’t need to explain that you are there early, it really doesn’t matter. All they want to see is that you have the actual appointment letter to bring with you.
Will Your Local Support Center Allow Early Walk-Ins?
The answer will depend on the specific application support center (ASC) and most will allow it. If you still aren’t sure whether they will allow early walk-in appointments, give them a call to get an answer.
The reason you are scheduled for a specific date and time is because many support centers (ASC) are located in small rooms and would not be able to handle a large group of people all at ounce.
Fortunately, you can find out if your local ASC allows early walk-in appointments by calling the number on your biometrics notice letter. If they tell you that it’s okay to come in earlier than your appointment date, go as soon as you can. They get really busy around lunch time so if you can get there as soon as they open you will be the first one who is called to get your fingerprints done.
If not, you will be waiting for hours for your ticket number to be called.
TIP: If your local service center does not allow early walk-in, you may still be able to if you have a legitimate reason (for example: you will not be in the state on that date).
What You Will Need To Bring To Your Biometrics Appointment
Make sure to read your appointment notice for instructions on what you need to bring and the location of the service center. Usually, they only require two things:
- Your ASC appointment notice (Form I-797C), and
- Valid photo identification (such as Permanent Resident Card, passport, driver’s license)
They will also require that you do not bring any recording devices and not to use your phone while they process your biometrics. This is common sense but it needs to be said! You can still bring your phone and other electronic devices, you just can’t use them in the office.
I’m not sure what happens if they catch you talking on the phone or surfing Facebook, but why risk it?
If you are applying to Remove Conditions on your green card (form I-751) or US citizenship (form N-400), then you are required to bring your green card as a form of identification. You can’t just bring your driver’s license in these circumstances because they want to see that you have a valid green card.
What To Expect At Your Biometrics Appointment
When you first arrive for your appointment, you will be greeted at the door by an immigration officer. They will ask for the appointment letter and your ID (drivers’ license or green card) to confirm you are the person identified on the letter.
You will then be given a form to fill out that will ask for your name, address, immigration status and require you to sign. Next, you’ll be given a ticket number and asked to sit and wait for your number to be called.
Get there as early as possible because seats fill up fast and you don’t want to waste half the day waiting, right?
Finally, when your number is called, you will walk over to the person who called you and follow their instructions. They will ask you to sit in a chair so they can take your photograph. Then you will be asked to come to the computer to get your fingerprints digitally captured on a LiveScan machine.
Don’t worry if your hands get sweaty, they have technology that can still scan your fingerprints. If your hands are really dry, they offer you lotion to use so that the system can capture your prints easier.
When it is time to sign your name, you will be shown a section titled Acknowledgement of Appointment at USCIS Application Support Center:
“I declare under penalty of perjury that I have reviewed and understand my application, petition, or request as identified by the receipt number displayed on the screen above, and all supporting documents, applications, petitions, or requests filed with my application, petition, or request that I (or my attorney or accredited representative) filed with USCIS, and that all of the information in these materials is complete, true, and correct.”
You will need to sign this declaration before your biometrics are completed.
Final Thoughts On Early Walk-In Biometrics Appointment
That’s it! You’ve now completed your biometrics.
The biometrics appointment is straightforward and there aren’t a lot of questions that will be asked of you. Think of it as a processing appointment where you will be in and out pretty quickly. Remember, you can go on the same day you receive the appointment letter in the mail, no need to wait for the date on the letter.
Your green card or citizenship application will be on hold until you complete the biometrics appointment. This is why it’s important to get this done as quickly as possible.
If you can’t make the appointment by the date on the letter, make sure to call the number provided and reschedule the appointment. Rescheduling a biometrics appointment will delay your case by weeks or months so only do this if it’s an emergency.
Thinking of going to your biometrics appointment early? Let me know in the comments below.
Ayan is the founder of the Migrant Academy community, the My Path To Citizenship Blog and Podcast.
After successfully navigating the hurdles of US immigration. She now dedicates her time to helping other couples achieve their goals of starting their new life together in the US.