USCIS To Implement New Form I-539 and Biometrics Requirement For I-539 Applicants Beginning March 11, 2019
On February 11, 2019, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that the agency will implement a new Form I-539, Application to Change/Extend Nonimmigrant Status, effective March 11, 2019. Additionally, I-539 Applicants will be required to pay an additional biometrics fee of $85 per applicant regardless of age, and each person included in the application must appear in person at a CIS Application Support Center to provide photos and fingerprints before their applications can be approved.
This new procedure marks a drastic change from prior practice and inserts an additional required step, additional expense, and additional delay into the application process for extension of status and change of status benefits for those already inspected and admitted into the United States in certain nonimmigrant categories including dependent categories such as L-2 and H-4 dependents.
One likely consequence is that the Form I-539 likely will no longer be adjudicated together with the principal beneficiary’s extension petition, especially when the petition is eligible for and filed with a request for premium processing.
In addition to the drastic change in procedure and the additional delays in adjudications that will result, the CIS announced that the new Form I-539 that will be required beginning March 11th will not be published prior to March 11th. The fact that the required form will not be available until the day the CIS requires the form to be used will create logistical challenges for applicants and their attorneys preparing to file their applications around that time in March.
Foster will continue to monitor changes in USCIS procedures, forms, and fees and will provide updates as appropriate via Foster Immigration Updates© and on the firm’s website at www.fosterglobal.com.