New Online Tool to Reschedule Biometrics Appointments

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New Online Tool to Reschedule Biometrics Appointments

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After an individual files an application or petition with U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS), the agency will often schedule the applicant for a biometrics appointment at a local Application Support Center so that the government can take the applicant’s fingerprints and run background checks. Often, these appointments are scheduled with little advance notice. And in some cases, due to delays in mail delivery, the appointment notice may not arrive until just a few days before the scheduled appointment.

Recently, USCIS announced it had rolled out a new self-service online tool that allows an applicant or their attorney to reschedule a biometrics appointment via their online USCIS account. Previously, to reschedule an appointment, the applicant had to call the USCIS Contact Center and speak to an agent. This process was overly burdensome – it is often is difficult to navigate the phone prompts to be correctly routed to a live agent, and wait times are often lengthy.

In the news release, USCIS cautions that the online tool cannot be used to reschedule an appointment if:

  • The appointment has already passed;
  • The appointment is within 12 hours; or
  • The appointment has already been rescheduled two or more times.

In addition to this online tool, USCIS has also revised its policy manual to clarify what constitutes “good cause” to reschedule a biometrics appointment or is sufficient reason to excuse an applicant’s failure to appear for a scheduled appointment. Examples include:

  • Illness, medical appointment, or hospitalization;
  • Previously planned travel;
  • Significant life events such as a wedding, funeral, or graduation ceremony;
  • Inability to obtain transportation to the appointment location;
  • Inability to obtain leave from employment or caregiver responsibilities; and
  • Late delivered or undelivered biometric services appointment notices.

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