On December 29, 2020, USCIS sent an email update on the status of its Application Support Centers (ASC) and delays in the biometrics process. This process is essential for applications for many immigration benefits to receive case approvals and interim benefits like work permits. During the pandemic, the ASCs have become a bottleneck which has worsened delays for many people.
USCIS stated that
“We are working to safely maximize appointment capacity at ASCs and are also reusing previously collected biometrics to conduct background and security checks when authorized by law. Based on capacity limitations unique to each ASC, we have not yet rescheduled all cancelled appointments. USCIS is scheduling approximately 10,400 appointments per day. Approximately 1.3 million applications are awaiting biometrics appointments as of mid-December. Applicants should continue to wait for an ASC appointment notice or a Form I-797, Notice of Action, from USCIS indicating that their previously collected biometrics may be reused.”
USCIS also noted that it is prioritizing different types of biometrics requests based on the type of benefit, although it was still adhering to the first-in first-out rule within benefit types. That means that some types of benefits are considered to be higher priority and will likely receive appointments first.
Walk-in appointments are not currently allowed “except for military applicants and their family members when the principal applicant is scheduled for an appointment.”