Let’s Talk About Biometrics Fees

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Let’s talk about the biometrics fee. Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer, practicing law throughout the United States at our offices in St. Louis, Missouri and San Diego, California. For many, many USCIS applications where the beneficiary is within the United States, so cases like naturalization, adjustment of status, sometimes extension of status, optional practical training, getting a work card, asylum, all these things, you’re going to have your biometrics taken. And we want to talk about the fee that’s associated with that because there’s lots of questions about it. One is that you can usually just include that filing fee in the check that you’re sending in for the benefit. So when you write out that check to the Department of Homeland Security, then you can go ahead and include the $85. So if the application is 10,040, you would add the 85 for the biometrics set, those are the current fees now, that would be one check. You don’t have to send a separate check for biometrics.

Now, we have come up with this handy dandy poster for our office, so that people get it right. It’s just a reminder to our team that a lot of times, for young people and for old people, you’re not going to have to pay that biometrics fee. So if they’re over 79 or under 14, you most likely won’t have to pay the biometrics fee. Now, there’s a lot of confusion at USCIS, and they will sometimes send the case back because they insist that someone has to pay the biometrics fee even though based on their age, they don’t, and so there’s a lot of confusion about that. You might have to send your application in a few times before they understand. It seems like their system for calculating who’s eligible for the biometrics waiver and who is not is broken. They seem to make a mistake about this all the time. They have gotten a little bit better, but you might have to be insistent if that’s important to you. And other times, you’ll send in the fee and they’ll say, you don’t have to pay it. So it’s really sort of a screwball situation.

Now, during the COVID time, USCIS greatly increased the use of old biometric. So typically, it’s 14 or 16 months, if the biometrics are that old, they won’t reuse them, but lately we’ve been hearing and getting lots of notices from USCIS that say that they’re going to use all biometrics and that the applicant doesn’t have to come back downtown or to the USCIS application support center to have their biometrics conducted. So biometrics are something you need to pay attention to. You can get your application rejected, you might need to get it in by a deadline, and that rejection can screw you up. So biometrics can cause trouble on cases. The biometrics itself is pretty straightforward. You just go to the support center, you’ll get fingerprinted and you’ll get your picture taken, and generally, they’ll do that again when you come in for your interview. But that $85 fee is for the picture and for the fingerprinting.

So if you have questions about biometrics or about whether or not your case is subject to it, number one, you should check the instructions. Number two, you can contact us at 314-961-8200. You can email us at info@hackinglawpractice.com. Be sure to join us on our Facebook group, which is called Immigrant Home. If you like this video, we ask that you please share it out on social and that you subscribe to our YouTube channel so that you get updates whenever we make videos just like this one. Thanks a lot and have a great day.