Fingerprint Collection normally occurs during a USCIS biometrics appointment. "Biometrics" refers to certain physiological data by which a person can be uniquely identified, such as fingerprints. With statistical analysis of these traits, a system can be trained to recognize certain people, with a certain probability. The USCIS uses biometrics to authenticate that people are who they say they are.
Whether applying for U.S. lawful permanent residence (a green card), naturalization, asylum, or one of various other types of immigration benefits, USCIS will require an applicant to attend a biometrics appointment. One of the collected at this appointment will be fingerprints. Fingerprint scans, which since 2004 have included imaging the tips of all ten (10) fingers, are compared against US arrest records aggregated by law enforcement as well as fingerprints collected by the Department of Defense and FBI of known and unknown terrorists.
A person unable to provide fingerprints because of a medical condition such as disability, birth defects, physical deformities, skin conditions, or psychiatric conditions may qualify for a waiver of the fingerprint requirement. Some certain USCIS officers are authorized to grant a fingerprint waiver.
To grant this waiver, the USCIS employee responsible must find all of the following are true:
- The person filing for or associated with the benefit request has appeared in person.
- The officer or authorized technician attempted to fingerprint the person
- The officer determined that the person is unable to be fingerprinted at all or cannot provide one (1) single legible fingerprint.
A waiver cannot be granted because a person has less than 10 fingers, the officer considers the fingerprints unclassifiable, or the persons condition preventing collection is temporary.
Any waiver granted is valid only for the particular application, petition, or benefit request listed on the ASC notice for which the fingerprint was collected. A waiver will need to be granted each instance. Police clearance letters or other form-specific documentation must be brought by a person granted a fingerprint waiver that covers the relevant periods for the interview.