The pandemic has had a large impact on immigration and many changes have been made recently. For example, families of mixed citizenship status were originally denied stimulus, and the Protect Our Courts Act was created, barring federal immigration agents from making arrests inside state courthouses without a judicial warrant.
One of the latest issues to arise involves biometrics appointments and their continued delays. Read on for more information.
What is a Biometrics Appointment?
If you are applying for citizenship, you will need to provide your fingerprints, photograph, and/or signature. This occurs at your biometrics appointment.
Why are There Delays?
Because of the pandemic, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in-person activity was canceled with the promise of rescheduling. As a result, “more than a million immigrants in the United States who have applied for U.S. citizenship through naturalization, adjustment of status and other benefits have been waiting for their biometric services appointment at a local Application Support Center (ASC)” states The Miami Herald. This has caused major delays in the immigration process for many applicants, halting some applications altogether. When USCIS re-opened, restrictions were put in place in an attempt to mitigate the spread of the virus and keep both workers and applicants safe. While this allowed some people to move forward with the process, many applicants are still waiting to hear back about rescheduled appointments.
Potential Good News
The Miami Herald explains that as a result of the delays, “USCIS will be reusing previously collected biometric data to conduct background and security checks — therefore some immigrants will be able to skip the biometrics appointment.” USCIS explained that if you are eligible to skip your appointment, the agency will mail a Form I-797 notice stating that they will be reusing your biometrics and that you are not required to appear at an application support center. It is important to note that not all applications meet the requirements for biometrics reuse.
Are Walk-In Appointments available?
No. Due to current COVID-19 restrictions, walk-in visits for biometrics collection will not be allowed, with the exception of military applicants and their family members.
If you have any questions or concerns about a canceled or rescheduled appointment, reach out to our firm to discuss your options. We are here to help you through every step of the citizenship process.
CONTACT OUR FIRM
Katona & Associates, PLLC is an experienced, highly dedicated New York City immigration law firm located in lower Manhattan. Our firm works with clients in all matters of immigration law, including employment immigration, family immigration, deportation defense, green cards, and citizenship. Contact us to discuss your case and get the help you need.