USCIS to release new version of Form I-539 and require biometrics from all applicants

On February 11, 2019, USCIS announced that, on March 11, 2019, it will release a new version of the Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant status. The form is commonly used for dependents’ status extensions, among other applications. The form, when released, will have an immediate effective date of March 11, 2019, which means that any applications filed on or after that date must use the new form.

The new form will also include a new supplement I-539A, Supplemental Information for Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status that will replace the current Supplement A. Each co-applicant included on an I-539 (say, minor children of a dependent spouse) will be required to have their own separately signed I-539A attached to the I-539. In addition to the new forms, each applicant and co-applicant (with certain exceptions) will also be required to submit a biometrics fee of $85, and attend a biometrics appointment at a USCIS Applicant Support Center.

According to USCIS’s own press release, the new Form and Supplement were finalized as of February 4, 2019 (the revision date) but for unstated reasons, USCIS is choosing to wait to release the new form until the very day that the new form is required. Advocates are rightly concerned about this delayed form release without any grace period in the midst of the fiscal year H-1B “cap” season preparations. 

© Jewell Stewart & Pratt PC 2019