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Immigration Service Implements Customer Identity Verification

The Immigration Service (U.S. CIS) has implemented it's new Customer Identity Verification. Beginning September 9, 2013, USCIS began to employ a new verification tool called Customer Identity Verification (CIV) in its field offices. Customers will now submit biometric data, specifically fingerprints and photographs, when appearing at USCIS offices for interviews or to receive evidence of an immigration benefit. What does this mean for individual applicants? Upon arrival at the local CIS office for an interview or examination, you will be called in to an office where the Service will collect a digital finger print for each of your index fingers and a digital photograph. Then, while the Service is processing that information through the US-VISIT IDENT system, you will be requested to have a seat in the public waiting area. Once the US-VISIT IDENT system checks have cleared (usually a very short period of time), you may then be called in for the scheduled interview.

This process is the result of a pilot program conducted four or five years ago by USCIS in which four district offices conducted a total of 1,317 verifications for applicants for adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence. The ostensible purpose was to ensure that the person being interviewed was the same person for whom the Service had previously collected biometrics related to the application at an Application Support Center (ASC). Interestingly, there were ZERO mismatches meaning that, in each case, the applicant appearing for the interview at a field office was the same individual who had appeared at an ASC for biometrics.

So why bother? Apparently, the pilot uncovered 24 watch list hits (1.8%) where a benefit was denied as a result of the hit. This is because the CIV process allows CIS to retrieve a list of previous encounters that DHS has had with the individual. I find it interesting that, despite having collected 10-prints at the ASC along with a digital photo and digital signature, the Service was not able to retrieve information related to prior encounters. In any event, once the implementation phase is through, the new CIV process should not pose any major inconvenience. And, it does resolve an extremely small national security problem.

For more information about immigration and nationality issues, visit the Dallas based attorneys at Miley & Brown, P.C. at

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