“Your fingerprints are unclassifiable”…hmm say what now?

Apparently the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has a section especially created and staffed for international adoptions Hague convention and non Hague.  When you apply for the I-600a, I-600,  I-800 and I-800a you are assigned an agent that oversees your case.  When your application is processed you are sent form I-797c, notice of action.  This notice summons you to some USCIS application support center nearest you.  Mine was in Bronx NY about 1 hour and 15 minutes from where I live.  They give you a date and time for an appointment and you must bring the notice of action form and a photo ID. YOU MUST BRING THE FORM or they will not honor your appointment and you must reschedule.

When you get to the support center you will see many MANY people taking care of some immigration issue and the line will look horridly long.  Don’t worry, the minute you show your case type (application to adopt) you get the royal treatment.  They stamp your paper with the date and time and put an ‘expedite’ sign on your paper, they then move you to the front of the line and someone takes care of you right away.  Now let me explain, I was THAT person taking care of actual immigration and citizenship issues once and you wait in line after line AFTER line until someone calls your number, this visit was the first class, VIP of the USCIS system.

Monday I received the I-797c, notice of action for a second time.  I panicked and began calling the USCIS adoption contact  number to find out why.  The agent assigned to my case told me my fingerprints had not passed correctly and to go redo them.  The following friday I ride to the Bronx and as I am getting fingerprinted I notice that three of my fingers show up as rejected every time she scans them.  When I asked her what was happening she tells me that those three fingers were unclassifiable and damaged.  She said she sees this kind of fingerprint damage with professions that either do hard hands-on labor or wash their hands often.  I was shocked to find out that there is nothing I can do and the damage just gets worst.  Full disclosure I actually asked her “does that mean I can commit a crime and my prints can’t be read?”….I was kidding of course…..she did not get my joke!  I also found out that the alternative for not having good prints is getting a police clearance from the places we have lived over a five year span.  For a military family like us, this means three states.  NY and VA were a breeze but TN is giving me a tough time.  Oh TN how I loathe you!!

What I learn from this experience is that 1.  USCIS agents don’t have a sense of humor.  2.  Take care of your hands so you don’t damage fingerprints and 3.  Know that there will be bumps on the road and you must be prepare with plans B, C, or even D.  Hopefully this can be resolved and our application can be approved soon.

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