Frequently Asked Questions About Biometrics and Visa Interviews
- Why are you collecting fingerprints for visa applications?
- How are the fingerprints taken?
- What happens if I refuse to be fingerprinted?
- I do not wish to have my fingerprints taken.
- My finger/hand (or part of my finger) is missing.
- My fingerprints have been eroded/ are not clear.
- I have cut/blister on my finger.
- My child is under the age of 14. Is he/she required to attend the interview?
- I am (my parent is) over 80 years old. Am I (is he/she) required to attend the interview?
The U.S. Government is committed to securing its borders while continuing to facilitate legitimate travel. Starting October 26, 2006, the U.S. Congress mandated that visas to international visitors that include a so-called biometric identifier. The U.S. government decided that photographs and electronically scanned fingerprints were the most effective and least intrusive biometric identifiers.
The use of biometrics assists immigration inspectors in verifying the identity of an international traveler. Biometrics collected at U.S. embassies and consulates abroad are checked at the ports of entry to verify that the person travelling with the visa is the same person who was issued the visa.
At the visa interview your ten fingers are electronically scanned and captured by computer. No ink is used, and the process takes only seconds.
If you visit the Embassy or Consulate for an interview and refused to have your fingerprints taken, your application will be refused on the basis that it is incomplete. If you later decide to have your fingerprints taken, then your application would be considered without prejudice.
It is a requirement of U.S. law that visa applicants aged 14 to 79 have their fingerprints taken. Finger scans are already being taken at over 100 embassies and consulates around the world and the process has proved to be safe, easy, and fast. Fingerprint scanning does not add significant time to the visa interview. The inclusion of biometric data in travel records will make it easier to replace a lost or stolen travel document by providing confirmation of your identity.
If you do not wish to comply with this requirement, your application will be refused on the basis that it is incomplete.
You are still required to attend the visa interview. The consular officer will discuss this matter with you during your appointment.
You are still required to attend the visa interview. If the consular officer is unsuccessful in capturing the fingerprints, you will be provided with additional instructions.
You should cancel your interview and reschedule once the cut or blister is healed.
If you are applying for a nonimmigrant visa and your child is under 14 years old he/she does not have to attend the interview or get his/her fingers scanned. You may submit applications on their behalf when you come in for your interview. If the child is the only one applying and he/she is under 14 years old, you may mail in the visa application.
Persons over 80 years of age are not required to attend the visa interview or be fingerprinted. The application may be mailed-in.