Fingerprint Check Update Request: Agreement between USCIS and ICE

USCIS and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have an agreement establishing  a process between ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ICE ERO) and USCIS for updating fingerprint results. This process only applies to non-detained individuals with cases pending before the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) whose fingerprints have been taken, but whose fingerprint results will expire before a final decision by EOIR. Fingerprint results expire after 15 months.

The agreement went into effect nationwide on March 31, 2016. This process should maximize efficiencies for both the government (ICE, USCIS and EOIR) and for individuals in EOIR proceedings by eliminating the costs and delays created by requiring individuals to provide new fingerprints when, in most cases, fingerprint results can be updated with information already available in either an ICE or USCIS system.

Individuals Not Affected by This Agreement
The existing process remains unchanged for individuals who are filing applications for relief or protection from removal with EOIR. They must continue to follow the instructions provided in EOIR proceedings that explain how to file copies of the applications for relief or protection from removal with USCIS.

Updating Fingerprints in ICE ERO Systems
ICE will identify cases scheduled for non-detained hearings and, when necessary, attempt to update the fingerprints of individuals from information available to ICE ERO. If ICE is able to update the fingerprint results, the individual does not need to take any action. 
If ICE ERO Cannot Update Fingerprints in its System
In the rare event that ICE ERO is unable to update the fingerprint results, it will follow the protocol established in the USCIS-ICE agreement by sending a request to USCIS to update the individual’s fingerprint results.

USCIS will only be able to process an ICE request to update fingerprints if the individual has an application pending with USCIS (i.e., the individual has followed instructions provided in EOIR proceedings regarding filing a copy of the applications for relief or protection with USCIS) and if fingerprints are on file and the biometric services fee has been paid (or waived).

If USCIS Cannot Update Fingerprints in Its Systems
If, after receiving the request from ICE, USCIS is unable to update fingerprint results through USCIS systems, USCIS will notify ICE ERO. Then ICE ERO will submit a request to USCIS to schedule an appointment for fingerprinting at a USCIS Application Support Center (ASC). This is the only instance under the USCIS-ICE agreement in which USCIS will send the individual a fingerprint appointment notice.

USCIS expects that this situation, in which an individual does not having fingerprints in either an ICE or USCIS system, will rarely occur.

Role of ICE Offices of the Chief Counsel
ICE Offices of the Chief Counsel (ICE OCCs) and ICE Field Offices will no longer provide individuals with a fingerprint notice advising them to visit an ASC on a walk-in basis to provide new fingerprints on an existing benefits application for which they have already provided fingerprints. The USCIS-ICE agreement should not affect any other existing practices between EOIR and the local ICE OCCs relating to cancellation of removal cases. Individuals will continue to instructions during EOIR proceedings explaining how to file copies of the applications with USCIS and should comply with those instructions in order to receive the initial ASC appointment notice from USCIS.

ICE OCCs will assist ICE ERO offices by providing them with a list of cases that need to have fingerprint results updated. ICE OCCs will also coordinate with their local ICE ERO offices to ensure that there are local procedures, based on the USCIS-ICE agreement, to assist with fingerprinting for non-detained cases in which the individual’s fingerprint results have expired. ICE ERO will send the current fingerprinting results to the ICE OCC within its area of responsibility to report to EOIR.

When to Appear at an ASC for Fingerprinting
Individuals should not appear at an ASC to update fingerprints unless they receive an ASC appointment notice from USCIS.  Individuals who appear at an ASC without an appointment notice from USCIS will not be fingerprinted.

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