Skip Breadcrumb Navigation
WebChat 線上對談記錄

Biometrics WebChat

The American Institute in Taiwan begins collecting biometric identifiers, or electronic fingerprints, for immigrant visa applicants on Monday, September 13, 2004. This program is also extended to include the fingerprints of nonimmigrant visa applicants on Wednesday, September 15, 2004. The biometric web chat program could help you better understanding the new procedures.

Biometrics WebChat
Thursday, September 16 2004 (2:00 PM - 3:00 PM)

Please note: Portions of this transcript have been edited for clarity

Host: (Ms. Karin Lang):

Hi, I'm Karin Lang, chief of nonimmigrant visas at AIT. I hope I can explain a bit about our new procedures and answer your questions. As you know, this week AIT began collecting biometric data (digital fingerprints) from all visa applicants. All U.S. visa issuing offices are required to implement these procedures as part of our effort to increase U.S. border security. The fingerprinting process is quick and easy and has gone very successfully so far.

 

Host: (Mr. Ken Reiman)

Hi, I'm Ken Reiman, Consular Officer at AIT. I hope I can answer some of your questions on biometrics. We started biometric enrollment on Monday, September 13 for immigrant visas and Wednesday, September 15 for nonimmigrant visas. The entire visa process is quick, simple, and easy. Karin and I look forward to answering any question you may have on biometrics. Hope to hear from you soon!

 

 


Start of Chat


 

Host: (Ms. Karin Lang)
Q
Is this system applied to all countries, or Taiwan only?
A
These procedures are applied to all visa applicants. In fact AIT is one of the last visa-issuing offices in the world to implement biometric collection. (2004-09-16 14:03)
 
Host: (Mr. Ken Reiman)
Q
已經有五年美簽者,要不要留指紋, 怎麼留,何時留,若預訂在明年2月去美國開會,該怎麼做.請告知相關解答,謝謝.
A
If you have an unexpired valid U.S. visa, you can still use it. You do not have to submit fingerprints until the next time you apply for a U.S. visa. However, when you enter the U.S., you will be asked to submit fingerprints at the point of entry as part of the U.S.-Visit program. (2004-09-16 14:06)
 
Host: (Ms. Karin Lang)
Q
What's the new procedure for interview at AIT? Do you collect our fingerprints first or we'll do the fingerprinting while we have interview with the officer?
A
Actually the procedure hasn't changed much. AIT staff will collect fingerprints before you have your visa interview. (2004-09-16 14:06)
 
Host: (Mr. Ken Reiman)
Q
Will my fingers get dirty after the fingerprints?
A
The process is inkless. It is a digital fingerprint. In addition, we do have clean wipes to clean the fingerprint scanners on a regular basis. (2004-09-16 14:08)
 
Host: (Ms. Karin Lang)
Q
Does my baby (less than one year old) also need the biometric process?
A
Applicants under 14 years old and over 79 years old do not have to provide fingerprints. They do have to submit a photo with their applications though. (2004-09-16 14:08)
 
Host: (Ms. Karin Lang)
Q
If my visa is not expired, can I still go to U.S.? Do I have to do the fingerprinting at the U.S. Custom?
A
Yes, you can still go to the U.S. with your current visa. All visitors to the U.S. are fingerprinted and photographed at the U.S. port of entry under the separate US-VISIT program. (2004-09-16 14:09)
 
Host: (Mr. Ken Reiman)
Q
How about for government officials of Taiwan? They did not need to appear in person for the visa. Do they need to apply the visa personally?
A
There are exemptions to certain members of the Taiwan authorities. For example, Taiwan officials posted to TECRO offices in the U.S. do not need to submit fingerprints. Nothing has changed with their visa procedures. (2004-09-16 14:10)
 
Host: (Ms. Karin Lang)
Q
Why is AIT making the visa application so difficult? It used to be very straight forward and easy.
A
The additional procedures are required under U.S. law in order to enhance U.S. border security and to protect legitimate travelers. Also, in Taiwan our appointment system and all other application procedures and fees are the same. (2004-09-16 14:12)
 
Host: (Mr. Ken Reiman)
Q
If the people with the valid visa do not have to do the biometric process, isn't it double standard?
A
It is not a double standard. The person who currently has a valid U.S. visa will have to submit fingerprints when they reapply for a visa. (2004-09-16 14:13)
 
Host: (Ms. Karin Lang)
Q
If I was the high ranking Taiwan officials, do I have to go to AIT and do the fingerprinting process?
A
Procedures for Taiwan officials are worked out between AIT and TECRO. Certain senior Taiwan officials are exempt from fingerprinting requirements. (2004-09-16 14:14)
 
Host: (Mr. Ken Reiman)
Q
For tour group, does every applicant have to go to AIT personally?
A
All applicants between 14 and 79 need to come to AIT for an interview. (2004-09-16 14:14)
 
Host: (Ms. Karin Lang)
Q
Our fingerprints have to be collected before the interview, so we have to line up for fingerprinting and then line up for interview. Doesn't that spend too much time on waiting? How many open windows you have for collecting fingerprints?
A
We hope the whole application process is quick and easy. You are right there is one more step in the process, but we have enough staff to handle the new procedures. (2004-09-16 14:15)
 
Host: (Mr. Ken Reiman)
Q
How can I know my fingerpring will be keep confidential?
A
Visa records are by law confidential. Only authorized officials have access to records including fingerprints. (2004-09-16 14:15)
 
Host: (Mr. Ken Reiman)
Q
The visa application procedures have been changed for so many times, how long does it take to get a visa?
A
Applicants can expect to receive their visas in one to two working days after their visa interview. This has not changed. (2004-09-16 14:17)
 
Host: (Ms. Karin Lang)
Q
I have a neighbor who has a 10 year B1/B2 visa.....he doesn't need to reapply it for the next 6-7 years.....which means AIT won't be able to collect his fingerprints right???
A
Your neighbor won't have to submit fingerprints until he applies for a new visa when his current one expires. However, if he visits the U.S. his fingerprints will be collected at the port of entry. (2004-09-16 14:19)
 
Host: (Mr. Ken Reiman)
Q
May I ask questions about the SEVIS fee ? Or where I can get this information?
A
You can ask questions about the SEVIS fee. (2004-09-16 14:19)
 
Host: (Mr. Ken Reiman)
Q
Does AIT plan to provide visa application service in Kaohsiung?
A
No. (2004-09-16 14:19)
 
Host: (Ms. Karin Lang)
Q
I get F1 visa, could my wife go to States with me and stay with me during my study?
A
If you qualify for an F1 visa, your wife can apply for an F2 visa to accompany you to the U.S. while you study. Your wife also needs to get an I-20 from the school in the U.S. where you will study. (2004-09-16 14:21)
 
Host: (Mr. Ken Reiman)
Q
What happend if I have wounds on my fingers before I enter the U.S. Does that mean I have to wait until my fingers are good?
A
If you have a cut or an abrasion on your finger, we ask that you wait until it heals and come back to AIT. (2004-09-16 14:22)
 
Host: (Ms. Karin Lang)
Q
How about peopel who holding green card but working in Taiwan? Will they need to do finger pringting?
A
When you apply for an immigrant visa at AIT, you will have to submit fingerprints. But people who are already U.S. legal permanent residents (LPR's or green card holders) don't have to submit fingerprints at AIT or port of entry. (2004-09-16 14:23)
 
Host: (Mr. Ken Reiman)
Q
I live at Hwalien. It's very inconvenient for me to come to Taipei just for a figerprint. Is there any alternative?
A
All applicants between 14 and 79 need to come to AIT for an interview and submit fingerprints. (2004-09-16 14:23)
 
Host: (Ms. Karin Lang)
Q
Taiwan's compulsory military service already requires fingerprints. Can't AIT just ask Taiwan to provide the fingerprints?
A
No, we take our own fingerprints from all visa applicants. (2004-09-16 14:24)
 
Host: (Mr. Ken Reiman)
Q
Is it worldwide policy to get fingerpringing?
A
Yes. (2004-09-16 14:24)
 
Host: (Ms. Karin Lang)
Q
My friend studying in Japan, when she apply for US visa, does she need to come back to Taiwan and have her fingerprints collected in Taiwan???
A
We always recommend that you apply for a visa in the country of your permanent residence. However, your friend can submit her fingerprints wherever she applies for the visa, including Japan. (2004-09-16 14:25)
 
Host: (Mr. Ken Reiman)
Q
Will the fingerprints be used by other agencies of U.S.? Does this violate any privacy law?
A
By law, all visa records are confidential including fingerprints. The records will be available to immigration officials. (2004-09-16 14:26)
 
Host: (Ms. Karin Lang)
Q
To what extent will the fingerprints of every applicants used by AIT?
A
Every applicant's fingerprints will be sent to a central database, saved, and checked against other fingerprints in that database. When you enter the U.S. and submit fingerprints at the port of entry, the immigration officer will compare those fingerprints with the ones you submitted at the time you applied for your visa to make sure the person entering the U.S. is the same one who received a visa. (2004-09-16 14:28)
 
Host: (Mr. Ken Reiman)
Q
My friend is a foreigner. Can his fingerprints be taken in Taiwan? Or does he need to go back to his country?
A
If your friend applies for a visa interview at AIT, he/she will have to submit fingerprints. (2004-09-16 14:28)
 
Host: (Mr. Ken Reiman)
Q
How about if I be asked to United States while I am in other coutry? Where I can do the fingerpriting?
A
Yes. However, we always recommend that you apply for a visa in your country of permanent residence. (2004-09-16 14:29)
 
Host: (Ms. Karin Lang)
Q
My friend is studying ph.D. at U.S., but his visa will be expired soon. Does he need to back to Taiwan to apply F1 visa?
A
As long as your friend remains in status (full time student with valid I-20) he does not have to come back to Taiwan to renew his visa. However, when he leaves the U.S. he will have to apply for a new visa before he can go back into the U.S. (2004-09-16 14:30)
 
Host: (Mr. Ken Reiman)
Q
Do American citizens also need fingerprinting?
A
No. American citizens do not need to be fingerprinted. (2004-09-16 14:30)
 
Host: (Ms. Karin Lang)
Q
If I get an I-20 from one school but then get another I-20 from B school? Could I use A school I-20 but studying at B school?
A
You should have a valid I-20 from the school you are actually planning to attend. If you wish to study at a different school, you must reapply for a visa for that school. If you are already in the U.S. and change schools later, you don’t have to get a new visa, but you need a valid I-20 at all times. (2004-09-16 14:32)
 
Host: (Mr. Ken Reiman)
Q
For Taiwan students, what kind of way to payment the SEVIS fee ? by credit card ? Or by chacek?
A
You can pay the SEVIS fee online by credit card or send a check through the mail. For more information on SEVIS fees, please visit the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement website at www.ice.gov . (2004-09-16 14:36)
 
Host: (Ms. Karin Lang)
Q
The U.S. Visa applications are very complicated, my classmates and I decide to travel or study in Britain, instead of U.S. Don't you think that visa applications need to be simplified? not complicated?
A
We welcome foreign students and hope you will join thousands of other Taiwanese students studying in the U.S. We try to make our requirements as clear and straightforward as possible. (2004-09-16 14:35)
 
Host: (Ms. Karin Lang)
Q
Do those immigrant visa applicants who are under 14 or/and over 80, do they need to do the fingerprinting?
A
The criteria are the same for immigrant visas -- no fingerprint requirement for applicants under 14 or over 79. (2004-09-16 14:36)
 
Host: (Mr. Ken Reiman)
Q
Will you recommand people who holding valid visa to reply a new one with fingerprinting record? Will people who holding fingerpring visa can save more time while they entering U.S.?
A
If you have a valid visa you do not need to reapply for the same category of visa. However, at the port of entry, applicants will have to submit their fingerprints under the U.S.-Visit program. (2004-09-16 14:39)
 
Host: (Ms. Karin Lang)
Q
How will each fingerprint be keep in your central database? Is your database system 100% hacker-proof?
A
I can assure you that the fingerprint database is secure and can only be accessed by U.S. immigration officials and law enforcement on a need-to-know basis. (2004-09-16 14:38)
 
Host: (Ms. Karin Lang)
Q
Does U.S. worry about people from those unfriendly countries will anger with U.S. more because of this policy?
A
This policy is designed to protect both U.S. security and the security of legitimate travelers to the U.S. It is not directed against any nation or group of people but is being applied globally. (2004-09-16 14:39)
 
Host: (Mr. Ken Reiman)
Q
After you have my finger printing, shall i do it again while I apply or extend my visa in the future?
A
If you reapply for a visa, you will need to resubmit your fingerprints. (2004-09-16 14:40)
 
Host: (Ms. Karin Lang)
Q
I'm a little big confused. I called ATOS APC they told me age over 80 do not need to be interviewed and do fingerprinting in person, but you said over 79......what is the correct one? over 79 or 80? My grandma will turn 79 this year and would like to take her to the U.S. for a tour, thank you!!
A
The correct answer is 80 and above. If your grandmother is 79 when she applies for the visa, she will still need to be interviewed and submit fingerprints. (2004-09-16 14:41)
 
Host: (Mr. Ken Reiman)
Q
請問現在一般到AIT面談從按指紋到面談結束要花多久的時間?謝謝!
A
We expect the wait time to be between 30-60 minutes from start to finish. (2004-09-16 14:44)
 
Host: (Ms. Karin Lang)
Q
Is it possible to apply U.S visa in other country? For some business men, they may have to fly to U.S while they in other country? Does their any method can help them get their visa efficiently?
A
We always recommend you apply for a visa in your country of permanent residence because it is easier to evaluate your qualifications. However, you can apply for a visa at any U.S. visa issuing office. (2004-09-16 14:45)
 
Host: (Mr. Ken Reiman)
Q
請問如果辦美簽被拒絕了,那下次再次申請時還要再按一次指紋嗎?連按兩次不會重覆嗎?
A
Each time you apply for a visa at AIT, you will need to submit your fingerprints. (2004-09-16 14:46)
 
Host: (Ms. Karin Lang)
Q
In general situation, we just need to record our fingerprint to U.S government once in our life time, don't we?
A
You will be required to submit fingerprints each time you apply for a U.S. visa. Also, each time you enter the U.S. you will be required to submit fingerprints. (2004-09-16 14:46)
 
Host: (Ms. Karin Lang)
Q
我的表妹是醫護人員,她因為經常消毒洗手而手變得很粗很乾燥,她的手心的皮膚都乾到指紋都不太清楚了,請問向她這樣的醫護人員要辦觀光簽證要怎麼按指紋?謝謝!
A
Our fingerprint scanner is very sensitive and can collect clear fingerprints from most people. There are regulations in place to deal with a situation where an applicant is unable to provide fingerprints. (2004-09-16 14:52)
 
Host: (Mr. Ken Reiman)
Q
If I have a valid US visa, do I need to do a figerprint now?
A
No. However, if you reapply for a visa, you will are required to submit fingerprints. (2004-09-16 14:51)
 
Host: (Mr. Ken Reiman)
Q
What if our fingerprint data were misused for they were leaked to a third party like some credit card record misused cases, how will we be compensated?
A
Visa records, including fingerprints are by law confidential. Only authorized officials will have access to this information. (2004-09-16 14:54)
 
Host: (Ms. Karin Lang)
Q
But how could you ensure those whom with valid visa are not terrorists?
A
We check all fingerprint records against a central database, so if a person has a U.S. criminal record, that information would be available. (2004-09-16 14:55)
 
Host: (Mr. Ken Reiman)
Q
Will you collect fingerprints from all my ten fingers?
A
No. We will collect fingerprints from your left index finger and your right index finger. You will not need to submit 10 fingerprints, only 2. (2004-09-16 14:56)
 
Host: (Ms. Karin Lang)
Q
How about the handicaps? the ones without hands?
A
We have procedures in place to deal with applicants who are unable to provide fingerprints, for example applicants who are missing fingers or hands. (2004-09-16 14:56)
 
Host: (Mr. Ken Reiman)
Q
請問申請人的指紋你們送到美國後就會在AIT刪掉嗎? 還是一直會留呢?
A
No. Fingerprints will be permanently stored in a central database in the U.S.. (2004-09-16 14:56)


End of Chat


 

 

Host: (Ms. Karin Lang)

Thank you all for participating in this webchat. It was fun! I hope we've answered all your questions. Please visit the AIT website for more information about applying for U.S. visas.

 

Host: (Mr. Ken Reiman)

Thanks for participating! Karin and I enjoyed answering your questions. Please visit our AIT website for more information.