This article was prepared with the assistance of ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, of which Loan Huynh, Fredrikson Immigration Department Chair, is a member.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has launched a new self-service tool allowing benefit requestors, and their attorneys and accredited representatives, to reschedule most biometric services appointments before the date of the appointment. USCIS also clarified its guidance on policies and procedures related to "good cause" in this context.
USCIS said good cause exists "when the reschedule request provides sufficient reason for the benefit requestor’s inability to appear on the scheduled date." Sufficient reasons may include but are not limited to:
- Illness, medical appointment, or hospitalization;
- Previously planned travel;
- Significant life events such as a wedding, funeral, or graduation ceremony;
- Inability to obtain transportation to the appointment location;
- Inability to obtain leave from employment or caregiver responsibilities; and
- Late delivered or undelivered biometric services appointment notice.
Previously, benefit requestors and accredited representatives could request to reschedule a biometric services appointment only by calling the USCIS Contact Center. With the new tool, those who have or create a USCIS online account can reschedule most requests for biometric services appointments without calling the Contact Center. The new tool, however, cannot be used to reschedule an appointment that already has been rescheduled two or more times, is within 12 hours or has already passed. USCIS said it only accepts untimely rescheduling requests made to the USCIS Contact Center. It does not accept such requests by mail, in person at a USCIS office or through the myUSCIS online rescheduling tool.
The biometric services appointment rescheduling tool can be accessed via a USCIS online account regardless of whether the pending case was submitted online or by mail. Benefit requestors and accredited representatives can call the USCIS Contact Center to reschedule an appointment, but USCIS "strongly encourages users to use the new tool to save time, increase efficiency and reduce call volume to the USCIS Contact Center."
The USCIS Contact Center's toll-free number inside the United States is 800-375-5283 (TTY 800-767-1833) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. Outside the United States, the number is 212-620-3418.