Asylum Background and Security Checks FAQ
Yes. Every individual who applies for asylum will be subject to a series of background/security checks. You will not have to complete any additional steps to complete your background/security check once you have submitted your Form I-589 and have had your fingerprints taken. Depending on the results of these mandatory checks, you may not be eligible for a final grant of asylum. Your application may be referred to Immigration Court for removal proceedings.
The background/security check consists of the following:
- USCIS may send a copy of your Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, to the U.S. Department of State.
- USCIS sends your biographical information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
- USCIS checks your biographical information against law enforcement databases.
- USCIS schedules you, if you are between 12 years and 9 months of age and 79 years of age, for fingerprinting at an Application Support Center or Designated Law Enforcement Agency. The fingerprints are sent to the FBI to conduct background/security checks and enrolled in the DHS Office of Biometric Identity Management’s (OBIM) Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT). The Asylum Offices uses OBIM to verify the identity of the applicant at the time of the interview.
Applicants 12 years and 9 months of age and older receive a notice to go to an Application Support Center or authorized Designated Law Enforcement Agency to have their fingerprints taken. After the USCIS Service Center receives your completed Form I-589, you will be sent a notice to go to an Application Support Center or authorized Designated Law Enforcement Agency to have your fingerprints taken. You are exempt from the fingerprint or “biometric” fee. The fingerprints will be sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for a background/security check. The FBI will send those results to USCIS. Additional information about the fingerprinting process can be found on the Fingerprints webpage below, or by calling the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283.
Do not submit a completed fingerprint card (FD-258) or fingerprint fee with your application. Your application will be accepted without the fingerprint card attached. If you submit a completed fingerprint card with your application on or after March 29, 1998, the card will be rejected and you will be re-fingerprinted by USCIS.
Your spouse and children for whom you are asking for derivative asylum status will also need to be fingerprinted if they are between 12 years and 9 months of age and 79 years of age. Additional information about the fingerprinting process can be found on the Fingerprints webpage below, or by calling the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283.