Fingerprinting FAQ for U.S. Green Card and Citizenship

Fingerprinting FAQ for U.S. Green Card and Citizenship

Q: I have already had my fingerprints taken. However, I still received a notice that I have been scheduled for another fingerprint appointment. Do I have to appear again?
A: USCIS uses a national scheduling system for fingerprint appointments, and there may be occasional problems with the system. The appointment notice itself indicates that if you were fingerprinted within the last 90 days, you can disregard the appointment notice. However, it is possible that FBI results were not relayed properly to your file with USCIS. Therefore, you should not disregard the subsequent appointment notice, and it is better to return to the USCIS Application Support Center (ASC, or fingerprinting site) to determine whether your fingerprints have “cleared” or whether new ones are required.

Q: Petitions are pending for my entire family. However, I received a fingerprint appointment notice but didn’t receive one for my spouse and/or child(ren). What should I do?
A: USCIS uses the national scheduling system for fingerprint appointments, and it is possible that all the family members will not be scheduled at the same time. It is possible that the appointment notices for your spouse and/or child(ren) will arrive in the mail before your appointment date. If they don’t, your family members may accompany you to the ASC for your appointment. It is possible that the ASC will agree to fingerprint your dependents on the same day without the appointment. It is also possible that they will not agree. Make sure to take the I-485 receipt notices, photo identification (e.g., passport, driver’s license, etc.) and evidence of relationship—marriage certificate for spouse and birth certificate for dependent child(ren)—for each family member accompanying you. In case ASC refuses to take the fingerprints for your family members without an appointment, wait for their appointments.

Q: I have been scheduled for the fingerprinting. However, I will not be available on that day. Can I just go to ASC and have my fingerprints taken before the scheduled date/time?
A: It is recommended that you appear only on your scheduled appointment date and time. You can still try to go to ASC and explain your situation. It is possible that you might be fingerprinted earlier. However, in most cases, you will be refused earlier.

Q: I am unable to attend the fingerprinting appointment at the center assigned to me. Is it possible for me to go to another one?
A: You must go to the ASC that has been assigned to you. It is possible that you may be allowed to get fingerprinted at another location, but the chances are very low.

Q: What is the validity period for fingerprints?
A: As fingerprints don’t change over time, you may think that once taken, the fingerprints would be valid for a lifetime. That is not the case with USCIS. Your fingerprints expire after 15 months. If your petition is still pending beyond the 15 months since your last fingerprinting, you will receive another notice to get fingerprinted at ASC. Even though they could possibly run another background check after 15 months with the fingerprints you provided earlier, they don’t do that, and doing it again defeats the purpose of fingerprinting to match your fingerprints with an earlier database of criminal fingerprints. However, that is how they do it.

Q: If my fingerprints expire, can I contact the Service Center and get scheduled again for new fingerprints?
A: Currently, there is no mechanism for applicants or their attorneys to request another fingerprinting appointment. It will be up to the adjudication officer to determine whether to schedule another appointment or not. Therefore, if you receive another appointment, go for it. Otherwise, no action is required from your side.

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