Complete Guide to H4 Biometrics for H4 Visa Extension

Updated on April 10, 2024

At a Glance

  • The H4 visa biometrics appointment is a required part of the visa application process for H4 visa applicants.
  • It involves a visit to an authorized USCIS Application Support Center, where applicants have their biometric data taken, including fingerprints, photo, and signature.
  • The appointment typically takes 10-20 minutes, and after the appointment, the data is reviewed by the FBI for identity verification.
  • The biometrics fee cannot be refunded, and the H4 EAD processing time is about 15 days after the biometrics appointment.

Are you an H4 Visa holder? If that’s the case, then you have to give biometrics for your Change of Status and extension application with USCIS. This is mandatory since the Biometrics Process for the I-539 form has been introduced. What exactly are the H4 biometrics, though? Read this article and find out.

What Is the H4 Visa Biometrics Appointment?

As an H4 visa applicant, you need to go through a biometrics screening as part of the visa application process. You will be required by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to go through this process, and submit a fee for the biometrics.

The appointment will take place at an authorized “Application Support Center” at the USCIS. It all depends on the area where you live, so make sure you use the USCIS site to look for an office.

What to Bring to Your H4 Biometrics Appointment

Usually, before your biometrics appointment, the USCIS will let you know what to bring with you through a notice. More often than not, you will be asked to bring a photo identification and a copy of your appointment notice.

What Not to Bring to Your Appointment

Keep in mind, though – there will be things that you are not allowed to bring with you. For instance, you cannot bring a camera, food, drinks, or your phone inside the building.

Documents Required for H4 Biometrics Appointment

When you need to attend an H4 biometrics appointment, there are certain documents that you will have to bring with you. These documents include:

When you file Form I-539, you will not have to file a separate USCIS biometrics form. An appointment will automatically be created for you and Form I-797C will include multiple details about the Application Support Center you will have to attend, such as the time, location, and date.

What Happens at the H4 Biometrics Appointment?

When you go to the H4 biometrics appointment, there is a process that you will have to go through. Here, you will have your biometrics – physiological or anatomical data that allows you to be identified – including your:

  • Photo
  • Fingerprints
  • Signature

When you arrive at the center, you will receive a number that shows what your place is in line. In other situations, you may have to fill out a form that will inform the ASC employees about your presence. When it’s your turn, they will call your wait-list number or just your name.

What Happens After the H4 Biometrics Appointment?

Once the biometrics appointment concludes, your appointment notice will get a stamp on it, which will serve as confirmation that you attended the appointment. You should know that the document has to be kept in a safe place, because you may need it later. USCIS might either not find any record stating that you attended the appointment, or you may just be asked for it.

After your data is taken, fingerprints are going to be sent to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for review. They are going to check them against records held by USCIS and the police. This process has to be done because there are cases when the USCIS takes fingerprints of people who crossed the border illegally.

After checking this, the FBI will send a report to USCIS, which confirms your identity and whether you violated any immigration laws or did any crimes before. If you committed any, you will not be admissible, and you might be deported.

What Cannot Happen at Your H4 Biometrics Appointment?

One thing to keep in mind is that if you have any questions about your case, you shouldn’t ask them when you go to the interview. People who are responsible for collecting biometrics cannot check your file, and cannot offer you any information or advice about your case.

How Long Does H4 Biometrics Take?

The whole H4 biometrics process should only take about 10-20 minutes. H4 biometrics are performed on a first-come-first-served basis, so you should factor in additional wait time between when you arrive and when the process begins.

H4 Visa Extension Biometrics Fee

The only fee associated with H4 biometrics is the $85 filing fee for Form I-539.

Can the Biometrics Fee Be Refunded?

No, the biometrics fee cannot be refunded. If you missed your appointment and need to reschedule, can do so without paying the $85 fee a second time.

H4 EAD Processing Time After Biometrics

Your H4 EAD will be processed at the same time as your H4 extension. EAD should take about 15 days to process after your biometrics appointment.

H4 Biometrics Suspension Due to COVID-19

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, USCIS suspended biometrics requirements for H4 visa extensions (individuals filing Form I-539) if the application is either:

  • Pending as of May 17, 2021, and have not yet received a biometric services appointment notice; or
  • New applications postmarked or submitted electronically on or after May 17, 2021

As of this writing, the suspension for biometrics for H4 visa extensions is still in effect.

Please note that USCIS retains discretion on a case-by-case basis to require biometrics for applicants who meet the criteria above, and any applicant may be scheduled for an application support center (ASC) appointment to submit biometrics.

How to Reschedule an H4 Biometrics Appointment

H4 visa holders can call (800-375-5283) to reschedule their biometric services appointments scheduled at a USCIS Application Support Center.

When you call, you must establish a good cause for rescheduling and must call before the date and time of their original appointment to reschedule. If you fail to call before the scheduled appointment or fail to establish good cause, USCIS may consider your application, petition, or request abandoned and, as a result, it may be denied.

H4 Biometrics FAQ

Is biometric required for H4 EAD and I-485 EAD?

Biometrics are not required for individuals only filling an EAD application nor are biometrics required for I-485 EAD and advance parole applications. If you are filing both for an H4 extension and for H4 EAD, then the H4 extension requires biometrics.

Is H4 biometric required for children?

Yes, biometrics are required for children of any age. Children older than 14 years of age have to sign for themselves at the ASC; Children younger than 14 are not required to sign themselves at the ASC center and a parent can sign for them.

Do ASC centers allow walk-ins?

Walk-ins are allowed at ASC centers as long as you have an appointment letter. You can also visit earlier than your appointment date. The COVID-19 restrictions will affect walk-ins at each center, so be sure to check with your ASC center before visiting as a walk-in.

Can I visit an ASC center closer to my home than an appointment?

You can visit any ASC center, regardless of the center where the appointment has been fixed.

Can H4 visa holders attend biometrics appointments in India?

Biometrics appointments for the H4 extension filed using Form I-539 can only be attended within the U.S. at this time.

What’s the difference between H4 biometrics and H4 visa stamping fingerprints?

H4 Extension Biometrics are taken by USCIS while you are physically present in the USA. H4 visa stamp fingerprints are taken by the US embassy when you are outside the USA.

Read More

Final Thoughts on H4 Visa Biometrics

Your biometrics are required if you are looking to obtain specific immigration benefits, but it’s important to know what you need for the biometrics process. Moreover, you must know what will happen if you need your biometrics taken during the COVID-19 pandemic. Make sure to check your USCIS online status, or if you received any notice. Hopefully, you will be able to go through everything smoothly.

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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.

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