The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has updated its policy manual regarding mobile biometrics services and fingerprint waivers. USCIS mandates that all applicants, petitioners, beneficiaries, sponsors, derivatives, and others who petition for certain immigration benefits must go through biometrics testing. Biometrics refers to specific body measurements, calculations, and metrics related to human characteristics. This scientific system is used to verify identity and conduct criminal and national security background checks. Below are the updated policy guidelines that are now in effect. The goal of the updates is to enhance consistency, fairness, and efficiency in how biometrics services are handled for immigration cases.
Typically, immigration applicants can initiate the biometrics collection process by scheduling an appointment at an Applicant Support Center (ASC). In limited cases and depending on a requestor’s circumstances, USCIS provides mobile biometrics services. Those with a disability or a health issue that does not allow them to attend in person are eligible for the mobile option.
The new policy clarifies that USCIS does not offer mobile biometrics services for individuals who cannot appear at their ASC appointment because they are detained or incarcerated. This is often the case if an immigrant did not enter the country legally or if he or she committed a crime. The policy only applies to those who are in custody at correctional facilities that are not governed by DHS.
For those people who are in DHS custody, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can still proceed with the biometrics collection process.
Fingerprints are the ridges and valley patterns on the tip of each finger. Since no two people have the same fingerprints, the impression taken of a person’s fingertip is often used for identifying individuals from the unique pattern of lines.
Biometrics screening for immigration purposes includes fingerprint collection, but certain immigrants may qualify to waive the fingerprint requirement if they cannot provide fingerprints due to a medical condition. These special circumstances include a disability, birth defect, physical deformity, and certain skin conditions. The policy updates clarify that fingerprint waivers are only valid for the particular application, petition, or benefit request listed on the ASC notice. This means that someone cannot use an approved waiver for any other biometrics obligation in a future immigration filing. It is important to note that only designated USCIS employees have the authority to grant a fingerprint waiver.
The laws regarding U.S. immigration are constantly changing. If you or your loved one is considering entering the United States on a temporary or permanent basis, it is crucial that you are prepared and informed. The accomplished Illinois immigration attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices, P.C. keep up to date on the latest legislation. We will assist you in completing all the necessary legal steps related to your case. To schedule your free and confidential consultation, call us today at 630-932-9100.
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