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

Updated on May 8, 2024

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.

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!

What to Bring to Your Biometrics Appointment

When you go to your biometrics appointment, there are a few key items you must remember to bring with you. Having these documents in hand will ensure that your appointment goes smoothly.

You must have:

  • The appointment notice you received from USCIS listing your appointment date, time, and location. This is proof of your scheduled appointment.
  • A photo ID such as a valid passport, driver’s license, employment authorization document, or permanent resident card (if applying for renewal). Proper identification is required for verification.
  • Any additional documents specifically requested by USCIS, such as travel permits or past employment authorization documents. Bring everything asked for to avoid issues.

Prohibited items that you cannot bring into the fingerprinting area include: weapons, electronic devices, cameras, recording devices, and outside food. Leave these items at home or in your car to get through security quickly.

Arriving prepared with your appointment notice, photo ID, and any other requested documents will set you up for a quick and successful biometrics appointment. Let the USCIS officer know if you have any questions once you arrive.

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.

Biometrics Appointment Fees

The current cost for a standard biometrics appointment is $85. The appointment notice you receive from USCIS will explain everything you need to bring to your appointment and outline any biometrics fees you must pay.

Be sure to review your appointment notice carefully to determine the exact fees for your particular biometrics screening. Fees may vary based on the type of application you have submitted to USCIS. For example, applying for naturalization has different biometrics requirements and costs compared to applying for a green card renewal.

In most cases, the $85 biometrics fee must be paid on the day of your appointment by credit card, money order, personal check, or cashier’s check made out to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security”.

Knowing what to expect in terms of costs and payment methods ahead of time will help ensure your biometrics appointment goes smoothly. Reach out to USCIS with any specific questions on the fees outlined in your appointment notice.

Rescheduling Your Biometrics Appointment

It is recommended that you attend your biometrics appointment on the date provided by USCIS on your appointment notice. However, if you need to reschedule, you can contact the USCIS Application Support Center directly.

Valid reasons for rescheduling include:

  • Illness or medical emergency
  • Family emergency
  • Inability to take off work/school

To request a new date, submit a reschedule request to your local USCIS field office. Explain your situation and provide supporting documentation if possible. USCIS will review and respond regarding reschedule availability and next steps.

If you have concerns about attending your appointment or need help ensuring your rights are protected through a reschedule process, contact an experienced immigration law firm. An attorney can guide you on proper procedures and advocate on your behalf if necessary.

Additionally, if multiple family members have appointments scheduled, it may be possible to get fingerprinting done on the same day. Discuss this option with USCIS when submitting your request. With good cause, rescheduling biometrics appointments is typically permitted if done in advance through proper USCIS channels.

How Soon Can You Expect Your Green Card After Biometrics?

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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.

What To Do If You Don’t Receive Your Biometrics Appointment Notice

If you have filed an application with USCIS and it’s been over 11 weeks since submission without receiving your biometric appointment letter (Form I-797C), take action promptly. Attending biometrics is mandatory for immigration benefits like green card renewals and naturalization.

First, contact your designated Application Support Center (ASC) to see if an appointment has been scheduled but the notice letter was not delivered for some reason.

You can also call the USCIS Contact Center to have an agent check the status in the system and resend your appointment notice if needed.

In some cases, a biometrics appointment may not be necessary. For example, if you already had biometrics done within the past year while renewing your green card and later filed for naturalization. Your prints and photo should already be on file.

Regardless of the specifics around receiving an appointment notice, ensure your biometric data is in the system one way or another. Without completing biometrics, you put your immigration application in jeopardy of denial. So follow up persistently to either attend a scheduled appointment or confirm no new biometrics are required at this stage. Consulting an immigration attorney can also help resolve any appointment issues.

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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