We have recently noticed that USCIS has begun using old fingerprints that were previously captured for a number of applications, particularly I-90s. This is welcome news given the interminable delays permanent residents are already experiencing waiting for their renewals to be processed. Interestingly, we have seen this practice carry over into I-765 employment authorization renewal applications. Traditionally, USCIS takes fingerprints before a work permit can be issued. Biometrics are usually scheduled within six to eight weeks after receipt of the application. However, in light of many Application Support Centers (“ASC”) being closed due to COVID, the agency has begun using previously taken fingerprints to process the renewals. As far as initial applications, we have also seen some clients receive relatively fast approvals of their applications without having any biometrics taken yet. The fingerprint appointments appear to be coming later, post approval of the I-765.
This practice may not be uniform, and is obviously subject to change, especially now that application support centers are slowly beginning to reopen nationwide. Once ASCs are open again, USCIS may discontinue this temporary measure and resume the normal regimen.
The public should be aware, however, that USCIS is facing an impending furlough that threatens to temporarily bench nearly 75% of its workforce. Should this materialize, expect significant and major processing delays that are certain to impact all kinds of cases including citizenship applications and interviews; adjustment of status petitions and interviews; green card renewals and green card removal of conditions; and cases that are filed and adjudicated at service centers such as, for example, petitions for alien relative(s). If applicable, it may be worthwhile to consider filing under premium processing using Form I-907, unless USCIS specifically announces it will not process premium processing requests. In other cases, individuals may want to consult with counsel to determine whether their cases or situations are appropriate to make an expedite request.
The above is general information only. It is not specific legal advice nor intended to create an attorney client relationship. If you need advice, please consult with an attorney.