On March 7, 2013, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) updated its policy to allow for mobile biometrics collection for individuals living in remote locations who cannot attend biometrics appointments at its Application Support Centers (“ASC”).
Biometrics appointments collect fingerprints and photographs of applicants and are required for applications for asylum, work permits, and other USCIS applications. USCIS typically conducts these appointments at ASCs in locations like Alexandria, Virginia. Under the prior policy, USCIS allowed “mobile biometrics appointments” for individuals with disabilities or who had a health-related reason that they could not go to the ASC. These mobile biometrics appointments would allow individuals to get their fingerprints taken at another pre-determined location.
Under USCIS’s new policy, the agency has expanded mobile biometrics appointments to be available to applicants who cannot attend a biometrics appointment at an ASC due to their remote locations. While USCIS has not explained what constitutes a “remote location,” its policy alert notes that individuals may be able to get a mobile biometrics appointment “because their physical location requires multiple modes of transportation or substantial travel times to reach an ASC.” If USCIS determines that an applicant lives in a remote location, it will coordinate a biometrics appointment with law enforcement agencies or other DHS offices that are closer to the applicant’s home address.
This change in policy will make it significantly easier for asylum seekers and other benefits applicants to attend mandatory biometrics appointments so they can continue with their application