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Dealing with the USCIS Application Support Center

Dealing with the USCIS Application Support Center

By Julie Sparks in Uncategorized | on 2022-12-27 16:20:48

If you are applying for an immigration benefit such as a green card, naturalization as a citizen, or some other U.S. immigration benefit, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will require you to submit a biometrics fee. You will then receive a notice for a biometrics appointment, which is typically scheduled a few weeks before you go to USCIS for your interview if one is required before a decision is made on your application.

If you need to file anything with USCIS, it is best to do so with help from an immigration attorney who knows how to navigate through the system.

VOIP headset on laptop computer keyboard concept for communication, it support, call center and customer service help desk

What Happens at USCIS Application Support Center?

As the name suggests, a USCIS Application Support Center or ASC is an office that provides complementary or support services in the adjudication of the vast volume of applications for immigration benefits. The bulk of processing of these applications is done at the 5 USCIS Service Centers, namely the Nebraska Service Center, California Service Center, Texas Service Center, Potomac Service Center, and Vermont Service Center. Each one of these Service Centers has a corresponding and USCIS-authorized ASC, which mostly handles biometrics appointments.

The staff in these ASCs are only there to take your biometrics and nothing else. They have no access to and wouldn’t know what the status of your case is. For that, you will need to contact USCIS online or by calling USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283. You can always have an experienced immigration attorney handle the process and keep you informed about your case status.

What to Bring to a USCIS Biometrics Appointment

When you receive a notice for your biometrics appointment, the notice will tell you what to bring with you, and this is usually a copy of the appointment notice and some form of photo identification, such as your passport or a driver’s license. If you do not have a driver’s license or state-issued identity card but have an expired passport, it is better you apply for renewal of your passport and bring a copy of the receipt for renewal with your expired passport.

The notice may also tell you what NOT to bring with you, and these are typically cameras, food, or drink. If you bring your phone, it must be off or in silent mode when you enter the building. 

ASC is Open, With Cautionary COVID Measures

Your notice for biometrics should also contain the latest COVID-19-related instructions.

In general, USCIS field offices and asylum offices are open with additional precautions to prevent the spread of COVID. On March 4, 2022, USCIS updated its COVID guidelines as follows:

  • Where community COVID levels established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are low or medium, it is not necessary to wear a mask or maintain physical distance in a USCIS facility. However, feel free to wear a mask if you so desire as a personal preference.
  • Where community COVID levels are high, all federal employees and contractors—as well as visitors who are two years old or older must wear a mask inside USCIS or ASC offices and must also maintain physical distancing regardless of vaccination status.

You may NOT enter a USCIS facility if you have:

  • COVID-19 or any symptoms of COVID-19
  • Have been in close contact with anyone known to have COVID-19 in the past ten days (unless you are “up to date” on your COVID-19 vaccination or you are a healthcare worker following and maintaining COVID protocols)
  •  Returned from international or cruise ship travel in the past five days (unless you are “up to date” on your COVID-19 vaccination); or
  • Have been instructed by a health care provider, public health authority, or government entity to self-isolate or self-quarantine in the past ten days

Up to date” on your COVID-19 vaccination means you have received all recommended doses in the primary series and one booster when eligible.

If you wish to reschedule your biometrics appointment, call the USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283 (TTY 800-767-1833). Your biometrics appointment notice will contain more instructions for visiting USCIS facilities. For more information, check the USCIS Visitor Policy page.

Attending Biometrics Appointments

When you visit ASC for your biometrics appointment, follow these guidelines:

  • Do not enter the facility more than 15 minutes before your appointment
  • Use the hand sanitizer available at ASC entry points
  • If the ASC facility requires masks and you do not have an acceptable one, the staff should offer you one
  • Pay close attention and follow signs and physical barriers about physical distancing and other guidelines
  • Be ready to answer health-screening questions when you enter the facility; and
  • Please bring your own blue or black ink pens.

What Happens at an ASC Biometrics Appointment?

A biometrics appointment allows ASC staff to capture anatomical or physiological data by which you can be uniquely identified. This is typically done by ASC staff taking your fingerprints, and your photo, and having you electronically sign your name.

The biometrics process usually takes about 20 minutes, but you may have to wait a while after you arrive and before the process begins. Because several people are given appointments for the same date and time, the practice is to call and process individuals on a first-come, first-served basis.

Make sure you have either been given a number or asked to sign in when you are inside the ASC facility – otherwise, you may find yourself waiting for a long time without being tended to. If you are given a number, pay attention and don’t miss it when called or if you signed in, pay attention, and don’t miss your name when called.

Contact an Austin Immigration Lawyer Today!

If you have been scheduled for a biometrics appointment or have completed one, it is important to consult with an experienced immigration lawyer. One of the purposes for having biometrics done is the USCIS uses the information captured to conduct background checks. If the checks find a criminal record, this may lead to the denial of your petition or application. 

An experienced immigration attorney from J. Sparks Law can help you in finding a solution. Contact us today and schedule your initial consultation to confidentially discuss your situation. 

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