USCIS Updates Guidance on Mobile Biometrics Collection27 Mar 2023
On March 7, 2023, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) issued updated guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual for mobile biometrics collection. This guidance clarifies the circumstances under which the USCIS will offer mobile biometrics for individuals who are unable to attend appointments at USCIS application support centers (ASC).
What is mobile biometrics collection?
After an individual files certain USCIS applications or petitions, the individual must appear at a local ASC for a biometrics appointment. In certain cases, however, the USCIS may provide domestic mobile biometric collection services for individuals unable to appear at an ASC in person.
Who qualifies for mobile biometrics collection?
Whether an individual qualifies for mobile biometrics collection is subject to USCIS discretion and determined on a case-by-case basis. Individuals who are unable to appear in person at an ASC due to health or disability reasons are the most likely candidates for mobile biometrics, but the USCIS may allow mobile biometrics in other very limited circumstances as well.
Additionally, individuals living in remote locations who cannot appear at a local ASC may be eligible for mobile biometrics. In such cases, the USCIS will coordinate with local law enforcement (LEA) or other U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) components to verify the individual’s identity and collect the individual’s fingerprints with a USCIS supplied fingerprint card. The LEA or DHS collector must retain chain of custody for the card and the card must remain in the collector’s presence until it is received by the carrier service returning the card to the USCIS.
Who is ineligible for mobile biometrics collection?
Individuals who are in custody at non-DHS correctional institutions are not eligible for mobile biometrics collection. The USCIS will continue follow all standard procedures for issuing ASC notices to detained individuals, but generally will not approve requests to reschedule a biometrics appointment for reason of detention or incarceration. If an individual is detained at a DHS facility, then U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will be responsible for collecting the necessary information from the individual.
Mobile biometrics collection may be an option for individuals who are disabled, health compromised, or living in remote locations. However, eligibility ultimately will be determined at the discretion of the USCIS and on a case-by-case basis.
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