How Long Does it Take to Get a Response After Biometrics?

Updated on November 11, 2023
At a Glance: The response time after biometrics varies depending on the type of application and the USCIS service center processing it. Some centers have longer processing times due to staff shortages or a high volume of applications. It can take between 5 and 10 months to receive a notice for a green card interview. You can check your case status online using the USCIS case status page and your 13-digit receipt number. Processing times for specific applications after biometrics include 90 days for work authorization, 12-18 months for I-751, and 150-210 days for work permit applications.

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You’re applying for a U.S. immigration benefit, which requires a biometrics appointment. Unsure about this step? We explain below.

Many wonder, “how long after biometrics to get a response?”. If weeks pass without mail, don’t worry. It’s normal. Read on for more details on the timeline.

Estimated Timeline of a Green Card Process

  1. Acknowledgment of Application Submission: Generally, within 2 to 3 weeks of filing your application, you will receive a notice acknowledging its receipt.
  2. Notification for Biometrics Scheduling: Around 3 to 5 weeks post-filing, expect to receive a notification to schedule your biometrics appointment.
  3. Biometrics Appointment Completion: This appointment typically occurs 5 to 6 weeks after your initial filing.
  4. Request for Additional Evidence: If needed, a request for further evidence can be issued anytime between 1 to 6 months following your application submission.
  5. Issuance of Employment Authorization Document and Advance Parole: Approximately 90 days after filing, you should receive your employment authorization and advance parole.
  6. Notice of Interview Appointment: Between 5 to 8 months after filing, you will be notified about your interview appointment.
  7. Receipt of Welcome Notice and Green Card: Finally, expect to receive your welcome notice along with your 10-year or 2-year Green Card in the mail, approximately 6 to 10 months following your application filing.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Response After Biometrics?

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5-10 weeks

The response time after your biometrics varies based on your application type and the specific USCIS service center. Some centers take longer due to staffing or high application volumes. Your case priority also matters. While many hope for a reply within weeks of their biometrics, the wait is usually longer. For instance, it can take 5 to 10 months to get a notice for a green card interview. Below, we’ll take a closer looks at the processing timeline.

Processing Times After Biometrics Timeline

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18 months – 30 months

Biometrics is a key step in many immigration-related processes, and once it is completed, many can move forward. All told, the collective processing time after biometrics can be anywhere from 18 months to 30+ months, depending on the processing times of different elements.

Below, we discuss how long the processing time is for some of the biggest immigration processes after biometrics are complete.

How Long Does it Take to Get Employment Authorization Card After Biometrics?

1 month – 3 months

After biometrics, you should receive a decision about work authorization within 90 days (or 30 days for initial Asylum applicants) from the receipt date on your Form I-765.

EOIR- granted asylees will sometimes receive a 2-year EAD card by mail within 7 to 10 days from the day the biometrics information is received.

I-751 Processing Time After Biometrics

12 months – 18 months

The I-751 processing time is, generally, between 12 and 18 months (52-78 weeks), and the biometrics appointment, usually, occurs between weeks 10 and 16, making the I-751 processing time after biometrics approximately 42-62 weeks.

I-765 Processing Time After Biometrics

5–7 Months

Due to delays, it takes USCIS about 150–210 days (5–7 months) to process work permit applications. Biometrics appointments occur 5-6 weeks filing an application, leaving approximately 16-22 weeks until the process should be completed.

H4 Approval After Biometrics

1 Month

The general processing time is 15-30 days after taking your fingerprints. H4 EAD may be approved in 15 days after biometrics. H4 extension is also processed at the same time as H4 EAD.

Checking Your Case Status Online

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If you are wondering what is going on with your application, you can always check your case status online.

You can check the status of your case by following these simple steps:

  1. Go to the USCIS case status online page.
  2. Enter your 13 digit receipt number.
  3. Click on “Check Status”.

The page will show the last actions taken in your case and the dates it was taken. For example, “I-485 still pending, last updated: receipt date 04/21 – no changes” or “I-765 approved, last updated: 07/03″. It will also let you know the next steps you need to take (if required).

Remember, just because another form in your application has been approved doesn’t automatically mean your background check has been cleared. The USCIS can still continue to process (and even approve) your other documents while your background check is pending.

What is the Biometrics Appointment?

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A biometrics appointment is a requirement for certain immigration benefits. At the biometrics appointment, your fingerprints and photographs are taken. The purpose of taking your biometrics is to do a background check. USCIS needs to ensure you don’t have a serious criminal history or any immigration violations USCIS should be aware of before your immigration benefit is granted. Your fingerprints, photo, and signature will be crossed checked with the FBI’s criminal database and the Department of Homeland Security’s database of immigration violations by non-citizens.

The Biometrics Process

The process you will follow at your biometrics appointment is quite simple. You will have your fingerprints and photo taken and will be asked to sign your name. Generally, the whole process will only take about 15 to 20 minutes, but you might have to wait a little beforehand for your turn.

Remember, the people assisting you at your biometrics appointment do not have any information about your case at the USCIS. So, it’s not a good idea to ask them anything about your case or even general questions about the immigration process. They are probably not even USCIS employees, so they don’t necessarily know anything about immigration.

Who Needs a Biometrics Appointment?

If you apply for immigration benefits with the USCIS, like an H4 visa, you’ll need a biometrics appointment. This is also applicable for work permits, citizenship, green cards, and renewals.

Upon scheduling, you’ll receive a Form I-797C, Notice of Action detailing your appointment. Attend at the specified Application Support Center. If inconvenient, consider rescheduling at another center by contacting the number on your notice. A list of alternative USCIS Service Centers and Offices is available here.

Where to Attend Your Biometrics Appointment

If you are in the U.S., you can attend your biometrics appointment at the local USCIS office. If you are abroad, you will go to the local U.S. consulate or embassy to process your application. This will typically take place directly after your green card or visa interview.

Which Biometrics Are Being Recorded?

There is no need to worry. Generally, you don’t have to provide any medical information, blood, or DNA samples at your biometrics appointment. You might only need to give a blood or DNA sample if your application is based on a blood relationship, for example. The purpose of providing this will be different than for the biometrics appointment, though.

How to Prepare for a Biometrics Appointment

Illustration of a clipboard displaying a checklist with multiple items, several of which are marked as completed with checkmarks.

Applying for a U.S. Green Card is a meticulous process, and the biometrics appointment is a crucial step in the journey. Whether you’re within U.S. borders or applying from overseas, knowing what to expect can significantly ease any associated anxiety. Below is a comprehensive guide to help you navigate and prepare for your biometrics appointment.

1. Understanding the Timeline

If you’re applying from within the U.S., typically, your biometrics screening will be penciled in for 3-8 weeks after your Green Card application submission. For those applying from abroad, your biometrics will likely be scheduled post your interview date.

2. Await Your Official Notification

Keep an eye out for the Notice of Action (Form I-797C) dispatched by the Application Support Center (ASC). This official document will provide specifics like the date, time, and venue of your appointment.

A unique code on your notice will indicate the type of data you’ll provide:

  • Code 1: All ten fingerprints.
  • Code 2: Just your index fingerprint, alongside a photo and digital signature.
  • Code 3: All ten fingerprints, photo, and digital signature.

3. Who Should Attend?

If it’s a Green Card you’re applying for, your presence at the biometrics appointment is non-negotiable. However, sponsors can breathe easy; their attendance isn’t required. If you’re traveling with family, the USCIS might attempt to synchronize family biometrics screenings, but it’s not a surefire deal. Should family members not have their notices yet, they’re welcome to join. The catch? It’s at the discretion of the USCIS whether they’ll amalgamate the screenings or not.

4. The Day of the Appointment

No need to clear your day; the biometrics appointment is a quick affair, clocking in at just 15-20 minutes.

On-site, USCIS officers will employ a LiveScan device to seamlessly capture your signature, snap a photo, and record fingerprints.

Don’t bank on officers to have specifics about your case. They’ll be oblivious to the status, so save any pertinent questions for another time.

The biometrics appointment is straightforward. With a little knowledge and preparation, you’ll sail through it smoothly. Best of luck with your Green Card application process!

After the Biometrics Appointment

After completing your biometrics appointment, the USCIS officer will stamp your appointment notice, validating your submission for a background check. It’s crucial to safeguard this document, ensuring it’s on hand if required in the future.

So, what should you anticipate following this?

The Green Card Interview

Depending on the nature of your application, your next phase might be a Green Card interview. Here, you’ll be questioned on aspects relevant to Form I-485, which pertains to registering permanent residence or adjusting status.

A Subsequent Biometrics Appointment

Don’t be surprised if you’re beckoned for a second biometrics session post your initial one. This doesn’t hint at application rejection or suspected misconduct. Common reasons for this include:

  • Fingerprints captured were smeared or unusable.
  • Biometric data expiration before application processing. If your application isn’t addressed within the 15-month validity of the data, a second biometrics appointment becomes necessary.

This probably has nothing to do with you. Sometimes the fingerprints smudge, which means it needs to be retaken before the background check can be completed. If this happens, you won’t have to pay the biometrics appointment fee again.

How Soon Can You Expect Your Green Card After Biometrics?

Icon representing an identification card featuring a person silhouette and lines indicating personal details or information.

After your biometrics, the wait time for your Green Card varies based on several factors. These include the kind of application, where you applied from, current USCIS processing durations, and more.

For instance:

  • Post-biometrics, your Green Card interview might be slated anywhere from a few months to multiple years.
  • Meanwhile, Green Card renewals typically span between 6 to 10 months following your biometrics submission.

Wondering about the status of your Green Card application? Here’s how you can inquire:

  1. Browse the USCIS website.
  2. Dial USCIS at 1-800-375-5283.
  3. Book an Info Pass appointment and visit your nearest USCIS office.
  4. Seek details via postal mail.

Read More

USICS Biometrics Response: Common FAQs

The biometrics process is an essential part of many USCIS applications, including green cards and naturalization. The timeline and process for receiving a response after submitting your biometrics can raise a lot of questions. Below, you will find some common queries.

1. How long does it take to get a response after my biometrics appointment?

The time it takes to get a response can vary significantly and depends on the form you submitted. In general, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. The USCIS processing times page on their website can provide more specific estimates based on the form and your location.

2. What happens after my biometrics appointment?

After your biometrics appointment, USCIS will use the data collected (fingerprints, photo, and signature) to verify your identity and conduct required background and security checks. Once these checks are complete, USCIS will continue processing your application.

3. Can I expedite my biometrics processing?

Under normal circumstances, it’s not possible to expedite the biometrics process. However, in certain urgent situations, you may contact the USCIS Contact Center for assistance. It’s worth noting that expediting requests are granted on a case-by-case basis and are not guaranteed.

4. I didn’t receive a response after my biometrics. What should I do?

If you haven’t received a response or notice from USCIS within the estimated time frame, it is advisable to contact USCIS. You can do this through the USCIS Contact Center, or by scheduling an appointment at your local USCIS field office through the USCIS website.

5. Will I receive a physical or electronic response after my biometrics appointment?

Typically, you will receive a physical mail notice from USCIS after your biometrics appointment. The notice usually indicates the next steps in your application process. It is also advisable to regularly check your case status online through the USCIS website.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.