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

Posted by in Immigrants | Updated on November 15, 2022
At a Glance: Some USCIS service centers have longer processing times than others. Biometrics appointments occur 5 to 6 weeks filing an application, leaving approximately 16 to 22 weeks until the process should be completed.

You are applying for one of the many immigration benefits available in the U.S. One of the steps in applying for your immigration benefit is attending a biometrics appointment. Perhaps you are unsure what this step entails and what the purpose is. We give you some more information on this below. 

Many people who have already attended their biometrics appointment, however, also wonder, “how long does it take to get a response after biometrics?”. After waiting a few weeks, you might be concerned when you don’t get any follow-ups in the mail. Does this mean there is something wrong? 

Rest assured, no, it doesn’t. Waiting for a long time is actually quite normal. Below we answer your question, “how long does it take to get a response after biometrics?” and provide some more useful information. 

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

Now we come to the question, “how long does it take to get a response after biometrics?”. 

Unfortunately, there isn’t a clear-cut answer for this. It is wholly dependent on your type of application and the USCIS service center processing it. Some USCIS service centers have longer processing times than others. This can be due to staff shortages or just the sheer amount of applications some service centers have to process when compared to others. The importance or priority of your case, in relation to other citizen applications, could also play a part. 

Many people expect to receive a response or next steps from the USCIS within a few weeks of their biometrics appointment. Unfortunately, the wait will be much longer than this. Typically, it can take anything between 5 and 10 months before you get a notice for your green card interview, for example. 

Checking Your Case Status Online

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. This number consists of 3 letters and 10 numbers. Omit the dashes but include all other characters (such as an asterisk, if applicable). You will find your receipt number on the receipt notice you received from the USCIS after you submitted your application.
  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.

Processing Times After Biometrics

Biometrics is a key step in many immigration-related processes, and once it is completed, many can move forward. 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?

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

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

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

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

What is the Biometrics Appointment? 

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. 

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. 

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? 

You will need to go for a biometrics appointment if you apply for an immigration benefit with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) such as an H4 visa. This will include applying for a work permit, citizenship, a green card, or even possibly a green card renewal. 

If you need to go for a biometrics appointment, you will receive an Application Support Center Appointment Notice in the mail in the form of a Form I-797C, Notice of Action. The notice will contain information such as the date, time, and location of your appointment. 

It is best to attend your biometrics appointment at the Application Support Center which is allocated in your appointment notice. If this location isn’t convenient, you may be able to reschedule at a different Application Support Center. You will need to contact the number on your notice to see if you can reschedule. You can find a list of USCIS Service Centers and Offices to reschedule here.

Next Steps After Your Biometrics Appointment

Once your biometrics appointment is completed, your appointment notice will be stamped. This stamp serves as proof that you attended your biometrics appointment if the USCIS loses your records. It is, therefore, essential to keep your notice with your stamp safe! 

What happens after this will depend on what immigration benefit you are applying for. If you applied for a marriage-based green card, for example, you will be required to go for a green card interview. Generally, employment-based petitions won’t require an interview. You will only be required to attend an interview if there are issues that need to be sorted out before your immigration benefit is issued. 

It may happen in some cases that you receive a second biometrics appointment notice. Don’t worry! 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. 

Read More