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USCIS Permits Biometrics Collection Abroad, But Only in Rare and Compelling Circumstances

USCIS will now permit biometrics to be collected abroad in certain “rare” and compelling circumstances. Biometrics collection for certain applications, such as Form I-131 (Application for Reentry Permit), may be taken at a USCIS office abroad, even if the collection was originally scheduled at an ASC office in the United States. This is available to residents of countries where USCIS has an international office.

To qualify, applicants must prove that extenuating circumstances required them to depart the U.S. before the scheduled biometrics appointment in the U.S. For example, the applicant may have been granted a job transfer on short notice or may need to assist a seriously ill family member living abroad. Applicants must also show that a request was made to either expedite or reschedule the biometrics appointment at an ASC before leaving the United States, or explain why they failed to do so. Contact information for each individual USCIS international field office (IO) can be found online, and applicants should e-mail the appropriate office to request the appointment and explain why the circumstances are rare and extenuating.

USCIS IOs will not grant an overseas biometrics appointment merely to avoid the expense of traveling back to the United States for a domestic ASC appointment. The USCIS IO field offices have extremely limited capacity to collect biometrics abroad and can only handle a limited number of appointments. As such, it is best for clients to have biometrics taken while in the United States. However, if extenuating circumstances arise and the applicant resides in a country with a USCIS office, a request for biometrics abroad may be submitted to the local USCIS international field office.