In an effort to overcome huge delays in capturing biometrics of applicants, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will reuse biometrics previously submitted by applicants in order to process pending immigration applications. Applicants who receive a notice stating that USCIS will reuse biometrics will NOT receive an appointment for fingerprints or photos.
Some applicants are waiting 8-9 months for a biometrics appointment post-COVID when the timeframe was 2-3 months pre-COVID. The delay in scheduling appointments for biometrics (fingerprints and digital photo) is resulting in a delay in issuing work permits and other documents that require background checks.
Thousands of biometrics appointments were canceled during the coronavirus pandemic and USCIS said it would reschedule them once it normalized operations. But many applicants have yet to receive their rescheduled or new appointment, and their immigration processes have thus been delayed.
Approximately 1.3 million applications for immigration benefits are awaiting biometrics appointments as of mid-December 2020, the Department of Homeland Security agency said. Roughly 280,000 immigrants saw their appointments canceled between March 2020 and June 2020.
The good news, though, is that given these challenges, when authorized by law, USCIS will reuse biometrics previously collected biometric data to conduct background and security checks — therefore some immigrants will be able to skip the biometrics appointment.
For more information on Reuse Biometrics Notices from USCIS,
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