The Requirements of Fingerprinting (Biometrics Services) and Medical Examination
1. The Fingerprinting (or Biometrics Services) Requirement
The Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires applicants of age from 14 to 79 to be fingerprinted for the purpose of conducting FBI criminal background checks. To better ensure both the quality and integrity of the process, the USCIS processes fingerprint cards for immigration benefits only if an authorized fingerprint site prepares them.
After receiving your I-485 adjustment application, the USCIS will mail you a notice scheduling you to appear for a fingerprinting at a USCIS designated location. The notice will specify a week for the applicant to appear. The fingerprints are a requirement for every applicant at age 14 through 79 years old to determine if they have a criminal history.
In addition to the filing fee for the I-1485 adjustment application, there is a fingerprinting fee (or biometrics services fee) charge for this procedure. The fingerprinting fee must be paid at the time of filing of the I-485 adjustment application, before the completion of a fingerprinting.
2. The Fingerprinting Process
A definitive response from the FBI regarding fingerprint clearances is required before the I-485 application can be approved or transferred to the local office for interview. Applicants who do not appear at the fingerprinting within the time frame allowed will be denied as an abandonment of their I-485 application for failure to appear.
Previously, the fingerprinting notices would arrive at varying times during the case process. They were not tied to the case progress. In the event that the fingerprint report was too old by the time the case was ready for adjudication, the new prints would be required.
Authorized fingerprint sites include USCIS offices, Application Support Centers (ASCs), designated law enforcement agencies, and U.S. consular offices and military installations abroad. In general, USCIS schedules people to be fingerprinted at an authorized fingerprint site after an application or petition is filed. The USCIS charges a fee per person (for most applicants) at the time of filing for this fingerprinting service.
3. The Background Check Process for I-485 Application
To ensure that immigration benefits are given only to eligible applicants, USCIS adopted background security check procedures that address a wide range of possible risk factors. Different kinds of applications undergo different levels of scrutiny. All applicants for a U.S. immigration benefit are subject to criminal and national security background checks to ensure they are eligible for that benefit. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the Federal agency that oversees immigration benefits, performs checks on every applicant, regardless of ethnicity, national origin or religion.
FBI name checks are also required for many applications. The FBI name check is totally different from the FBI fingerprint check. The records maintained in the FBI name check process consist of administrative, applicant, criminal, personnel and other files compiled by law enforcement. Initial responses to this check generally take about two weeks.
In about 80 percent of the cases, no match is found. Of the remaining 20 percent, most are resolved within six months. Less than one percent of cases subject to an FBI name check remain pending longer than six months. Some of these cases involve complex, highly sensitive information and cannot be resolved quickly.
Even after FBI has provided an initial response to USCIS concerning a match, the name check is not complete until full information is obtained and eligibility issues arising from it are resolved. USCIS normally uses the following three background check mechanisms but maintains the authority to conduct other background investigations as necessary:
1) The Interagency Border Inspection System (IBIS) Name Check— IBIS is a multi-agency effort with a central system that combines information from multiple agencies, databases and system interfaces to compile data relating to national security risks, public safety issues and other law enforcement concerns.
2) FBI Fingerprint Check—FBI fingerprint checks are conducted for many applications. The FBI fingerprint check provides information relating to criminal background within the United States. Generally, the FBI forwards responses to USCIS within 24-48 hours. If there is a record match, the FBI forwards an electronic copy of the criminal history (RAP sheet) to USCIS.
3) FBI Name Checks—FBI name checks are also required for many applications. The FBI name check is totally different from the FBI fingerprint check. The records maintained in the FBI name check process consist of administrative, applicant, criminal, personnel and other files compiled by law enforcement. Initial responses to this check generally take about two weeks. In about 80 percent of the cases, no match is found.
4. The Change of Address After Form I-485 Application
If you changed your address after Form I-485 application, you need to notify USCIS about the change of your address, by sending the Form AR11 to USCIS, otherwise you may not get USCIS notice for your Form I-485 application decision from USCIS, or get RFE notice from USCIS to ask you to show your current address, when USCIS evaluates your I-485 application. Also, not informing USCIS about your address change is illegal and you may get problem for your I-485 application.
5. The Form I-693 for Medical Examination of Aliens Seeking Adjustment of Status
USCIS Form I-693 is also called Medical Examination of Aliens Seeking Adjustment of Status. It is used for aliens to have medical examination in U.S., in order to receive a U.S. green card or lawful permanent residence, through the procedure known as Adjustment of Status. The Adjustment of Status is a process to complete the entire green card application in the United States with the USCIS, including the possible interview. The Form I-693 must be completed by a USCIS designated doctor inside U.S.
The alien applicant needs to fill the Part I of the Form I-693. The alien applicant only needs to file simple information in Part I, such as name, gender, U.S. address, date of birth, place and country of birth, alien registration number (A number) and the Social Security Number (SSN) if you have one. An alien may have the A number, if he or she has applied for other immigration benefits previously.
There is a place for the alien applicant's signature at the bottom of Part 1. But you should not sign it before you see the USCIS designated doctor, and you should sign it only until the Doctor asks you to to so.
Generally, all aliens applying for USCIS Form I-485 for adjustment of status in the United States should file Form I-693 for medical examination. But if an alien applicant has already had a medical examination before as part of an immigration application process within the one year, the alien applicant may not need to do to the medical examination again.
For example, if an alien applicant has already had a medical examination done before as a K visa holder or a V visa holder, the alien may not need to do the Form I-693 for medical examination again.
Also, if the alien applicant is a refugee, he or she may not need not submit Form I-693 if he or she is applying for adjustment of status one year after the first admission in United States, and there were no medical grounds of inadmissibility during the medical examination in his/her home country.
6. Do I Have to Go Through an Interview Process for Form I-485 Adjusting Status?
If you have applied for a Green Card within U.S. through the procedure known as "adjustment of status" using USCIS Form I-485, it is likely to be called in for an interview by USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services), as the last step in your immigration application process.
With proper preparation, you should not fear the adjustment of status interview, and it does not mean that your application for adjustment of status has been singled out for extra scrutiny. An immigration interview is a normal part of the process, allowing USCIS to confirm the information you have provided, and review all the facts with you present.
USCIS may skip the interview in some cases, or requires only the immigrant to attend, not the family petitioner or sponsor, if the petition case is especially clear, and not likely to involve fraud or other complicated circumstances.
If you applied to Form I-485 adjusting status, based on marriage to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, it is certainly that you and your U.S. spouse will be called in for an immigrant interview. The interview is to ensure that the marriage is genuine, and not merely entered into for the purpose of obtaining a Green Card.
7. How to Prove Your Marriage Is Real or "Bona Fide" for an USCIS Interview?
To obtain a U.S. Lawful Permanent Residence (Green Card) based on marriage, you will have to prove that the marriage is real or "bona fide". This means a marriage in which the two people intend, from the start, to establish a life together as husband and wife. An important step to prove the marriage is real or "bona fide" is joining your lives together.
You should not wait until the last minute to look for ways that you can prove that you are really married, or that you live together, or that you trust each other enough to share financial and other personal matters.
Also, you should take steps to prepare for a future together. For example, a U.S. citizen in a sham marriage might not remember to add his or her new spouse as a beneficiary to a company sponsored life insurance policy, while someone in a real marriage would or at least should. Thus, Some important steps to prove the marriage is real or "bona fide" might include:
• make your spouse a beneficiary on your retirement account or other accounts that require or allow a payout to a beneficiary upon the holder’s death;
• make sure that both spouses are covered under your health insurance policy, if the other spouse doesn't have his or her own insurance;
• if you live together, add your spouse to your house deed, mortgage, or apartment lease;
• if you live together, add your spouse’s name to your garbage, utility, cable, and other bills;
• take out a joint credit card;
• open a joint bank account;
• file joint tax returns;
• join a gym or club together;
• buy a car or other major asset together.
8. USCIS' Expedite Process for "Aging-out" Child about to Reach 21 Years of Age
If one of dependent child is about to reach 21 years of age and seeks immigrant status as the dependent beneficiary of either family-based or employment-based immigration, it is the USCIS practice to take such case as the "top priority" case and expedite the process so that the Green Card applications for the entire family are adjudicated before the child reaches 21 years of age.
Consequently, not only the aging out child but also the parents and other siblings receive "expedite" processing and cases are approved in a fairly short period of time. This aging-out expedite process has been available in the USCIS.
Currently, aging-out expedite works well in the family-based proceedings. Such aging-out expedite works at the USCIS local district office one-step I-130/I-485 proceedings. The USCIS district offices approves I-485 applications for the entire family members in the event that a child will reach 21 years of age in a few months.
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