As most of you know, you would need to give Biometrics with Form I-539 at ASC under revised requirements from March 2019. If you do not have special needs, it is very straightforward all you need to do is go to ASC on the day of appointment. You can read USCIS Biometrics Experience during COVID-19 to get an idea. It is slightly different, if the person giving biometrics have special needs situation. It could be due to physical disability or due to other reason.
One of our reader’s (anonymous for privacy) son was autistic and had special needs. The reader was kind enough to share the end to end process for everyone benefit. Thanks a lot to our reader for taking time to share. You can email your experiences to [email protected]
Background for USCIS Biometrics, Special Needs
My spouse and 2 children applied for H1B Extension in May 2020. My son aged 6 is autistic and has severe ADHD. He has special needs. We anticipated that we would need some special accommodation for his appointment, especially during COVID-19.
We received the Biometrics appointment notice for them around August 20, 2020 by USPS mail. The appointment was the first week of September, 2020 at Gardena, CA, ASC. There are no clear instructions on the appointment notice, I got help from my friend and I also contacted our attorney to see what can be done.
Process for giving Biometrics at ASC with Special Accommodations
Below are the steps that I followed to get special accommodation:
Step 1 : Write Down your Need : Plan ahead about your specific need. Write it down clearly on what are your needs. You will need to enter that as part of the form that you submit with USCIS.
Step 2 – Submit Request on USCIS website : Submit an accommodation request online on USCIS website with clear details. You can submit it at USCIS Special Accommodations Page . Below is how it looks.
Step 3 – Email Confirmation, Request Number : Note down the request number after you submit ( just as backup). You will get an email after you submit the form. It is a confirmation email with Service ID. See below email samples on how they look.
First Email : Basic Email confirmation with request number. See below screenshot
Second Email : After one day, you would get a second email with additional details on the request telling that they have got the information. See below screenshot.
Step 4 : Call USCIS Help Desk : Call the USCIS help desk 2 to 3 days before the appointment and confirm if it has been processed. Explain what you need. Contact info of USCIS at: https://www.uscis.gov/contactcenter
In our case, we submitted the appointment request couple of days before. Since the appointment was next day, I called them around 3 pm PST on their contact number and explained. The service representative in the USCIS assured me that she will inform the ASC.
Biometrics Appointment Day at ASC – Process
Below is what we did on the USCIS Biometrics appointment day at ASC
- We drove to the ASC 15 minutes before the appointment.
- I showed the documents to the security officer at entry and informed her about the special accommodation request
- The officer informed the center manager, and they came and met us outside. The ASC manager greeted us and was with us during the whole time. The manager was actually expecting us. The manager was informed that day by email about our request.
- They allowed me to accompany my son into the center (I did not have a bio-metrics appointment – I was there to help my son). They were courteous and kind.
- We were allowed to proceed first, with no waiting.
- They took extra care and helped with the bio-metrics and photographs. Since my son was hyperactive that day, they took multiple photos to get the right image. They also held him still for the fingerprints. They waived the signature step for him, since he cannot write.
- After the process is done, they put a stamp on the appointment notice.
Tips from our Biometrics Experience
- If you anticipate a special accommodation is needed, contact USCIS immediately.
- Call USCIS and follow up before the appointment – there may be a wait time before you talk to an agent.
- It is better to call early morning, around 8 am EST.
- Inform staff at the ASC about your special needs.
- Be on time.
- Carry anything that might keep the person with special needs comfortable
Conclusion: Proper planning and communication can help with appointments for people with special needs.
What has been your experience at ASC, if you had special needs ? Share your thoughts in comments.