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USCIS Updates Form I-539

Posted March 4, 2019Stephanie WedelArticles

USCIS announced that it will be updating the Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. This form will be available March 8, 2019, and beginning on March 22, 2019, USCIS will only accept the 02/04/2019 edition. Because both the new and old versions will be accepted from March 8th  to March 21st,  USCIS will not be able to issue receipt notices for applications made using the new forms until March 25th, but the receipt will reflect the actual date that the application was received by USCIS. USCIS stated that it cannot accept multiple versions of a form at the same time.

The newest I-539 will require each applicant to complete and sign a Form I-539A, Supplemental Information for Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status.  Parents or guardians may sign on behalf of children under the age of 14 or any applicant who is not mentally competent.

In addition to the I-539A, each applicant and co-applicant will need to attend biometrics appointments (fingerprinting) and pay an $85 biometric service fee. USCIS has indicated it anticipates an average of 17 days from receipt of the application until biometrics are completed, though this is not guaranteed.  USCIS will try to give at least 1 week notice for these biometrics appointments. Background checks will not be required for applicants under the age of 14.

Along with the updated forms, USCIS has also suggested that wet-ink signatures will not be required.  A scan, fax or copy will also be accepted for the Form I-539.

The I-539 is typically submitted to change to or extend dependent cases from within the United States, such as H-4, L-2, TD, etc. 

The newly revised form will likely impact processing timelines with the addition of the biometrics appointments.  Previously, although the Form I-539 was not eligible for Premium Processing, USCIS had generally processed these forms at the same time as the premium processed primary applications.  With the new processes, this will no longer be possible.

For further information regarding this change, please reach out to your designated Meltzer Hellrung LLC attorney.