Getting "Biometrics" in Las Vegas, Nevada

Foreigners applying for a U.S. visa are usually required to give their fingerprints, called "biometrics." The biometric screening standard in the U.S. is ten (10) fingerprint scans, which are inklessly and electronically collected at every U.S. embassy for visa applicants seeking entry to the U.S.

Below our Las Vegas NV immigration lawyers discuss how fingerprinting factors into traveling and immigrating to the U.S. Click on a topic below to go to that section:

Biometrics are just one requirement for coming to America. Also see our articles on visa interviews and consular processing.

U.S. biometric screening comprises ten fingerprint scans collected at all U.S. embassies for visa applicants.

1. Are "biometrics" mandatory to come to the U.S.?

Almost always, yes. The U.S. Congress in the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002 required the use of biometrics when issuing visas in an attempt to carry out its commitment of “secure borders, open doors." Embassies and consulates abroad must issue to international visitors “only machine-readable, tamper-resistant visas and other travel and entry documents that use biometric identifiers.”

Newly-taken fingerprints can be compared with similarly collected fingerprints at the various U.S. ports of entry. Biometric information is also used to verify identities and therefore reduce the use of stolen and counterfeit visas. Consequently, biometrics can protect against letting possible terrorists or others who pose a threat to national security into the country.

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When a visa applicant refuses to be fingerprinted, his/her visa application will probably be rejected because it will be ruled incomplete.

Note that diplomats (G visa-holders) usually do not have to give biometrics to come to the U.S.

Also note that for non-citizens who are already in the United States, Nevada has two immigration offices that offer fingerprinting services for immigration applications: Las Vegas immigration office, and Reno immigration office.1

2. Can non-citizens refuse to give "Biometrics" and still get a visa?

Usually, no. Whenever a visa applicant refuses to be fingerprinted, his/her visa application will likely be denied because it will be ruled incomplete. But if that applicant later chooses to complete the application by providing fingerprints, the application will likely be re-considered without prejudice.

Note that if a foreigner is traveling without a visa because he/she is a citizen of a country that participates in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), he/she must still have electronic passports capable of employing biometric-recognition technology.2

3. Who has my biometrics information?

All electronic biometric data is stored in a database accessible at U.S. ports of entry to designated Department of Homeland Security immigration inspectors. This data is kept confidential.3

4. What is the biometrics fee?

It is usually $85.

Call a Nevada immigration attorney...

If you have questions related to immigration matters, contact our Las Vegas NV immigration lawyers at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673). We will do our utmost to help you with your legal matters and ensure that your rights are protected.

Legal References:

  1. Photographs and Fingerprints, USCIS.
  2. Id. 
  3. Id.

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