By: Diya Mathews
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is experiencing delays in scheduling and rescheduling biometrics appointments at its application support centers (ASCs). USCIS is working to maximize ASC capacity and reuse previously collected biometrics where legally permissible. The agency has not rescheduled all cancelled appointments and wait times may vary based on geography.
Reduced Capacity at ASCs
USCIS cancelled approximately 280,000 in-person biometrics appointments at ASCs from March to June 2020 to help contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The agency began reopening its ASCs with renewed safety measures in July 2020. Since then, ASCs have operated at a capacity of 65% or less compared to before the pandemic.
Walk-ins are not available for biometrics collection due to COVID-19 constraints, except for certain limited categories of applicants.
Individuals should await an ASC appointment notice or a Form I-797, Notice of Action, from USCIS stating that they can reuse previously collected biometrics. Also, applicants should be mindful of USCIS office closings before any scheduled appointments.
Prioritization of Biometrics Appointments
Biometrics appointments are prioritized based on benefit type, with a consideration of capacity and processing times. Within each benefit type, USCIS generally schedules appointments in the order that requests are received.
USCIS may reuse biometrics to verify certain individuals’ identities when their case is otherwise ready to adjudicate, or in other limited circumstances. USCIS will mail Form I-797 to these individuals to let them know that they do not need to appear in person at an ASC.
Our attorneys will closely monitor progress with biometric appointments and provide updates as soon as they are available. Contact your trusted Chugh, LLP attorney for case-specific questions.