What happens during security clearance and background check?

For almost any immigration process to the United States, background checks are mandatory.  As far as dreamers applying for a work permit are concerned, as soon as they submit their application to the USCIS, if everything goes well, a communication will tell you where to go for fingerprinting (the location of the office depends on your address and availability of slots and sometimes that means that the office may not be the closest to you).  Unless it is absolutely necessary, it is better not to ask for rescheduling it because you just go back to the end of the line.  You will also be advised what documents to bring.  Here are a few other useful tips:
  1. Since it will be a place that you have never visited before, arrive well ahead of time.  That way you can figure out where to park.  You may also have to go through (airport style) security and there can be huge lines because the security can be common for many Federal offices.
  2. Dress smartly.  You do not have to be very formal (though that will not hurt) but you should be smartly dressed.  So definitely no street clothes.  The rule of thumb is that you should dress as if you were going for a white collar job interview.  This rule applies even if you consider yourself blue collar.  For men, I suggest a collared shirt, pants, and dressy black shoes.  For women, again a simple shirt or blouse, pants, or a serious looking skirt, plus black shoes.
  3. Submit your paperwork and wait for instructions.  When your turn comes, go to the place you are directed to.
  4. The actual process of biometric fingerprinting is straightforward.  The staff if professional, fast, and all you have to do is to follow instructions.
  5. Once you are done, you can leave.
Some of you have asked what goes on in the background.  The reality is that the United States Government maintains a number of databases.  These databases are very sophisticated and include information all the way from people with terrorist links to what happened when the cops came to your house because you were partying too hard.  Not everything is known about these databases and what type of information is kept and for how long, but chances are that even if you have never interacted with a law enforcement officer or agency, there maybe information on you.  That is why unless you have the cleanest record possible, it is best to discuss with an attorney how to proceed.

If your record is found to be satisfactory, expect a communication from the USCIS.

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