With immigrant visas and naturalization, U.S. CIS will issue a receipt notice for the various filings, and then issue an additional receipt notice scheduling a fingerprint appointment. The applicant then must go to a specific location and be fingerprinted. This appears simple enough; however, the U.S. CIS has backlogs and confusion on numerous cases based on a lack of fingerprinting or expired prints. Some of the problems and delays that occur are: the applicant’s file maybe held or lost while new fingerprints are taken; a case may never get an interview because the fingerprints were never completed or expired; or the U.S. CIS mailed the fingerprint notice to the wrong address. Thousands of U.S. CIS cases are backlogged and delayed per year based on lack of fingerprints or expired fingerprints.
Presently, the U.S. CIS Web site allows an applicant to check his or her case status online. The applicant inputs his or her EAC number and can find out if the case is pending, approved, or denied. The U.S. CIS should add a section that shows fingerprints status: “Fingerprinting completed” (together with the expiration date of the fingerprints), or “Fingerprinting not completed.” If the fingerprints are not completed, expired, or soon to expire, the applicant should have the option of scheduling a new fingerprint appointment online and pay a $25 fee by credit card. The applicant would print out the new fingerprint appointment online. This allows applicants to be proactive in their cases and will reduce backlogs based on lack of prints or expiration of prints. U.S. CIS will have fewer continuances, rescheduling, and delays based on expiration of fingerprints.