Written by attorney Gary Nathan Chodorow

Biometrics Appointment Options for Reentry Permit Applicants Living Overseas

So you have a U.S. green card but you’re living temporarily overseas. You want to avoid losing your green card, so you’ve decided to apply for a reentry permit. [1]

Now you realize that you have to be in the U.S. both to file the reentry permit application and for the biometrics (i.e., fingerprint) appointment, if you’re between age 14 and 79. The biometrics appointment will be scheduled at the USCIS Application Support Center (ASC) with jurisdiction over your U.S. residence. It normally takes about 4-6 weeks from filing to the biometrics appointment. [2] The biometrics appointment cannot be completed abroad. [3] Failure to appear for a biometrics appointment may result in denial of your application.

If you can’t rearrange your schedule to stay long enough in the U.S. to attend that appointment, here are your options:

  • request an expedited biometrics appointment
  • walk in to an ASC, even in Guam or Honolulu
  • leave the U.S. after your reentry permit application is received by USCIS, and come back later for your appointment
  • reschedule the appointment

Request an Expedited Biometrics Appointment

USCIS may expedite a biometrics appointment as a matter of discretion. In this case, it can take 7 to 14 days from filing to the appointment. [4]

To request expedited processing, you should include with your application a written explanation of the reason your travel abroad is urgent. [5] This should be supported by any available evidence of the urgency.

USCIS will review your request to determine whether it meets or more of the following criteria: [6]

  • Severe financial loss to company or individual
  • Extreme emergent situation
  • Humanitarian situation
  • Nonprofit status of requesting organization in furtherance of the cultural and social interests of the United States
  • Department of Defense or National Interest Situation (Note: Request must come from official United States Government entity and state that delay will be detrimental to our Government)
  • USCIS error
  • Compelling interest of USCIS

To request an expedited biometrics appointment, notate the outside of the envelope and top of Form I-131 with the word EXPEDITE. Include a pre-paid, self-addressed express mailer, to send you the biometrics appointment notice. Also provide your email address and a fax number. [7]

Additionally, it may be helpful to specify any dates you prefer the appointment or are unavailable for the appointment.

Walk In to the Local ASC or a Different One (Even Guam or Honolulu)

Even if you are unable to expedite your biometrics appointment, it may be possible to walk in to the ASC with jurisdiction over your place of residence at a different time. Or a different ASC. If you live in China or elsewhere in Asia, it may be more convenient to attend a biometrics appointment at the ASC in Honolulu, Hawaii, or Guam than to travel to the continental U.S.

Allowing biometrics processing without an appointment is a matter within each ASC’s discretion, so ask your lawyer to check whether it’s currently possible. [8] Bring your receipt notice or biometrics appointment notice. And any evidence of the urgency of your travel.

Leave the U.S. and Come Back for Your Appointment

If all else fails, and you can’t wait in the U.S. for your appointment, you can leave after your application is received by USCIS and then return in time for the biometrics appointment.

Reschedule Your Biometrics Appointment

If the appointment time is inconvenient, you can request that it be rescheduled. Follow the instructions on the appointment notice.

Happy travels!

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