How to Prepare for a USCIS Biometrics Appointment

By Katherine at Legal Language
Posted on 02/11/2011
In Adjusting Status, Immigration

If you’re going through the green card or naturalization process, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will require you to attend a biometrics appointment.

But what are biometrics and why does USCIS need them? How do you get ready for a biometrics appointment?

USCIS Biometrics Fingerprint

What Are Biometrics?

The term “biometrics” refers to the processes used to identify people based on physical traits. Immigrant applicants need to participate in a biometrics appointment for the purpose of facilitating a criminal background check.

At a USCIS biometrics appointment, your fingerprints will be taken for analysis and filed with the FBI. Your picture will also be taken.

DNA testing is separate from a biometrics appointment. USCIS has stated that they may request immigration DNA testing for cases where applicants are either from developing countries and do not have birth certificates, or when there are suspicious discrepancies within the case.

Drug testing is not part of a biometrics appointment,  but it may come up in your USCIS medical exam.

Biometrics are required with USCIS forms like the I-90 and the I-131. Once USCIS officers start processing your application, you will receive a biometrics appointment notice.

Getting Ready for Your Biometrics Appointment

The biometrics appointment may take a while to manage, but once at the USCIS office it is a very quick process. Make sure everything goes smoothly by knowing what to bring and where to go.

What to Bring to Your Biometrics Appointment

Every biometrics appointment requires photo identification, such as:

  • Passport or national photo identification issued by your country
  • Driver’s license
  • Military photo identification
  • State-issued photo identification card

Your appointment letter may also state the need for additional supporting documentation, which may include but is not limited to:

  • Legal name change decree
  • Marriage certificate
  • Birth certificate

Keep in mind that personal documents in a language other than English must have certified translations. It is important that all requested documents are brought to your biometrics appointment. If your appointment is soon and you do not have translations of your personal documents, rush translation is available.

Where to Go for Your Biometrics Appointment

The USCIS biometrics appointment notice will have the date and time of your appointment as well as the address of the appointed USCIS office. Pay particular attention if you live in a larger city with multiple USCIS offices. Your appointment may not be with the office closest to your home, but rather with the office which can offer you the earliest appointment.

What to Expect at the USCIS Biometrics Appointment

Before entering the USCIS biometrics center with your USCIS appointment notice, be sure to leave your cell phone or any digital camera in the car or with a friend. Cameras and phones are not allowed in the USCIS offices.

Once your appointment gets underway, you will be asked to fill out a form. The form will ask for some personal information, and you will also need to indicate what form you filed that requires the biometrics.

Next, your fingerprints will be taken. Most USCIS offices still use ink to take fingerprints — however, more offices are switching to electronic fingerprinting.

After the USCIS Biometrics Appointment

Fingerprints will then be analyzed by the FBI, usually within a month. If you get an additional biometrics appointment notice within the next few weeks, don’t panic — this is commonly due to smudged prints, and fingerprints will need to be retaken to complete the background check. USCIS will not charge an additional fee for any further fingerprinting work.

If the FBI flags or rejects your biometrics, you will be required to present police clearance reports from every state or country you’ve lived in proving that you do not have an extensive criminal record.

USCIS biometrics are valid for 15 months. If your application is not processed within 15 months, USCIS will most likely send another notice for a biometrics appointment.


Note: This page is for general informational purposes only. LLS cannot give personal advice to any individual regarding immigration status. Please contact USCIS with any questions. Our full disclaimer can be read here.

198 Responses to “How to Prepare for a USCIS Biometrics Appointment”

  1. karline verlin Says:

    my question is could they renew your green card and not find you ok for naturalization based on biometricks

  2. Natalia Says:

    If it’s possible to refuse from biometrics because of my religious believes? I don’t want them to take my 3D picture and any other galographic scans.

  3. love Says:

    how long does it take to get my greencard . ive done already my biometrics last February 27….

  4. Tsering Says:

    I have an appointment for my biometric test . What all documents should I take . Though I know the requirement just to confirm ! Do I need to pay for the test ? How long does it takes to get my green card and when can I apply my citizenship? I came to USA with CR1 . Thank you!

  5. Barb Says:

    I have a biometrics appt in 2 wks to renew my green card – I don’t have a passport, & my driver’s license expired, & I couldn’t renew it until I renew my green card – what can I bring as photo ID ? will they accept my expired driver’s license (there is no question that the photo on it, is me)

  6. Daisy Says:

    I have appointment on 04/25/14 to renew my green card. Can I go a few days early?

  7. Jesus Lopez Says:

    How much does the biometrics cost to get done? How much money
    Should I plan to take to my appointment ? I have my passport do I need to take my marriage license also?

  8. Lorna Says:

    Hi Barb,

    I’m in a similar situation as well. Please can you tell me if the expired driver’s license was an acceptable photo id?

  9. Sonia Says:


    I just want to know if the Biometrics has a cost. If so, how much doses the cost?
    Thank you.

  10. Kaytie at Legal Language Says:

    Hi Sonia,

    The biometrics fee is currently $85; however, this is subject to change and there can be exceptions, so make sure to read any information sent to you very carefully. It is best to check with USCIS and/or an immigration attorney with questions specific to your case.

    Good luck,

    Kaytie at Legal Language

  11. gurinder Says:

    My i130 petition just got approved. When my wife filed the petition there was no last name on my passport. After filling the petition I got my new passport with lastname printed on it. My question is that can this affect our case and when should we notify the nvc about my new passport?

  12. maria martinez Says:

    hi i lost my biometrics letter but i know when my appointment date is is it ok if i dont take my letter

  13. Gafar Says:

    Good day
    i have my biometric appointment in 2 weeks and i will like if there will be any blood or lab test during the biometric appointment. such as test for HIV or any diseases. thanks

  14. priscilla Says:

    I have a biometric next week. but the thing is I changed my name with the social security to my new last name during to marrige. I used my new last name to apply for N400. i later went to the MVA to have my name changed to my new married name on my drivers lisence. They refuse to do it because i had a marriage certificate out of the usa. Now my Drivers license still has my maiden name. would this be a problem at the biometric centre. though i have both my old and new social security card showing the change of name and i have my green card though still in my maiden name.
    tnx for your help n advice.

  15. Henry Says:

    Hello.i took my biometric finger print on June 13 2014 and I had not heard anything from uuscis office . does anyone knows how long it takes for a response? Does it take 1 month or month’s to herd a answer.

  16. Richard Thornton Says:

    Hi there
    My wife and I entered the USA at the end of May. We travelled from the UK to Phoenix, where we were fingerprinted etc. My wife has received a letter from USCIS and has to attend a biometrics appointment. I haven’t received a letter, the ELIS website says that my green card has been issued today. Any ideas why my wife needs her biometrics doing again?

  17. William garcia Says:

    I took my biometrics last july 22nd and it went pretty smooth i think. Now im just waiting for their reply or letter to give me a work permit. Everyone says it’ll take about a month to get that so im just here waiting 🙂

  18. Phunsap Says:

    I have Biometrics Notification and i have appointment on 8/4/14 in Boise ID.But now i live in Chanhassen MN.How i chang the support center.I want to go support center in Minnessota.

  19. tonny Says:

    If you have already sent your medical examand got you biom fingerprints do they drug test u again in the last step interview

  20. Elvia Says:

    Hello, I was recently at my biometrics and got them done. However I received another notice to go back once again. I went to the support answer to make sure that everything was right and they said to ignore the notice and that everything was fine. Should I ignore the notice like they said, or go back to get biometrics done all over again?

  21. Piyush Says:

    My daughter has an appointment for Biometrics appointment. How much is the fee? Can you make the payment online? Will they accept my personal check as my daughter does not have checks? Will they accept debit or credit card payments?

  22. Tiru Says:

    I have appointment to take the sitizen ship test but I lost my appointment paper and all my receipt number what I have to do to take the test?

  23. TAYO Says:

    Hi, I applied for the replacement card but I am currently in Nigeria because I just left the US. Is it possible to fix a biometric appointment here since I did my first biometric the problem is I applied when I was in the states. I need an urgent response please…

  24. Diana Says:

    PLEASE URGENT HELP ! I was reading that when I get the stamp in my appointment notice after doing the biometrics appointment I should give a copy of it to the staff member handling my I-485

    So, I only got ONE of my letter stamped….. Did I had to give it to the guy that was on the central table giving people numbers and helping them file their forms?

    I am desperate now…. Or was the guy that did my fingerprints that held a copy of it already? And gave me one to myself?
    Cause I only got one and a yellow paper and the guy said after doing my fingerprints ”drop it at the table”

    But I only dropped the yellow paper that was about quality of the place not my letter stamped ………..????

    should I go back and give that letter stamped to the guy that was on the central table giving people numbers and helping them file their forms or the guy that did my fingerprinting and took my picture held one copy?

  25. Hannah Says:

    I field I-90 Green card renewal online on Nov 4th 2014, got the receipt notice on Nov 8th 2014. My husband field the I-90 renewal on Nov 4th (same day as mine), He got receipt on Nov8th as well. On Nov 12th he got a notice in mail for Biometrics appointment (scheduled on Nov 24th). But I did not get my notice for biometrics appointment yet. Why is that? What is the difference? Why I did not get mine?

  26. blanca Says:

    Hi, i lost my biometrics appointment nottice and i don’t know what to do…

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  29. Arie Says:

    I have an appt for my biometrics the 21st of January 2015 is it okay to go before my scheduled appointment because I won’t be free on that date? Can I just go this week?

  30. Toure Says:

    Hi I have my biometric appointment for naturalization in 3 days . I lost my green card but I have the copie front and back . Can I take instead?

  31. Della Says:

    I had my biometrics last November 25 but up to now, February 3, I still haven’t received any mail for the schedule of interview. Is this still ok? How many months should I wait before I will call USCIS? Thank you very much.

  32. Frank Says:

    Can my wife use her Resident ID Card or SSID for this or is a passport a must?

  33. Lauren Says:

    I just need to know how long a biometric test will take? i need to book around flights, travel, etc.
    Thank you!

  34. Abel Says:

    I’d like to know how long USCIS take to decide if I’m able to get a work card after they take my fingers prints thank you

  35. kathleen Says:

    hi I just went to my biometrics appointment last month to renew my alien card and change my last name when I went there I was asked to let them check my Id which has my old last name and I didn’t show my birth certificate that indicates my new last name.. Will my last name be the new one because when I mailed my application I gave a copy of my birth certificate and the appointment letter has my last name on it. Please help me out thanks

  36. kathleen Says:

    Will the new last name be in my new alien card even though I did not show my birth certificate when I went biometrics but mailed a copy when I applied…??please reply back thanks

  37. Ravi Says:

    I have an ASC appointment on the 14th, but i recently moved from Texas to Atlanta, GA, can i go to the ASC office here for my appointment? I called the USCIS and they said i can but thought I’d make sure.

  38. kelly french Says:

    I am applying for naturalization. I filled out the forms and am including the fee as well as the $85 for biometric fee. Do I book that on my own now or do they send me a date and time once I file?

  39. trudy Says:

    I have my biometrics appointment in a week but I only have school id will they accept it

  40. Rudy Says:

    Hello, I applied for my green card and I have my appointment, but I don’t know if my Passport is expired they will accepted or not?
    I have my French ID valid my French driver License valid and my California driver License Valid but I’m not sure if they need my French passport Valid for sure because is not since 1 year and half!


  41. Rudy Says:

    Also, do I need my Marriage certificate for my biometrics fingerprint appointment for my green card. I don’t have the original with me, is a copie work?


  42. Rachna Chainani Says:

    Got a letter from USCIS to revisit Application Support Center (ASC) for fingerprints to be retaken as FBI could not get clear based on fingerprints taken previously. Visited ASC, but they did not take fingerprints again. Instead, they informed that USCIS letter for fingerprints to be retaken is by mistake and I will receive another letter for police verification. This communication is verbal from ASC. Just puzzled why then letter for retake of fingerprints was sent by USCIS and whether ASC will inform USCIS on fingerprints not taken again.

  43. Bri Says:

    I have my biometrics appointment on the 13th of this month but I lost my letter! What can I do????

  44. Anand Says:

    I have a figer print in 10 days but all I have is expired passport.Is that ok? to take as identification to the uscis office?Thanks.

  45. Roxanne Says:

    I am due for biometrics in a week. I was told to bring my permanent resident card (green card) with me but i have lost it while trying to apply for jobs. I only have a copy on me and i dont know if i can take that instead. It’s stressing me out because i do not want my application for citizenship denied because of that

  46. mats Says:

    I have received biometrics but my passport is in renewal process. will other id work? like state id, company id, birth certi etc

  47. Gemmie Says:

    When you go to the USCIS office for biometrics. After finger print and pictures taken. Will the office give you back your biometric receipt notice which you brought in with you or they are supported to keep it. Thank you.

  48. Sojan Varghese Says:

    What if I am out of country when my bio metrics service is scheduled.

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