USCIS has announced changes to the Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status (Form I-539). This immigration application is commonly used by spouses and children in H-4 or L-2 status to change or extend their status while in the U.S. It can also be used to change or extend the status of those on the B visitor visa and certain other visas. As of March 21, 2019, USCIS will only accept the new form I-539, and accompanying Form I-539A, if applicable.
Impact of Changes to I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status
– Additional Government Fee: Each applicant and co-applicant applying for an extension or change of status with Form I-539 will be required to submit an additional $85 biometrics fee.
– Biometrics Appointment: Each applicant and co-applicant will be required to appear, in person, for a biometrics appointment. All applicants and co-applicants over the age of 14 will be subject to a FBI background check. Children under 14 must also appear for a biometrics appointment; however no background check will be performed. Rather, children under 14 will be subject to identity verification. Biometrics appointments can be expected to be scheduled 2-3 weeks after submission on application.
– Premium Processing: Due to the additional biometrics requirement, USCIS has confirmed that premium processing will no longer be possible for concurrently filed Forms I-129 and Forms I-539. How this will impact the length of time required to adjudicate form I-539 has not yet been determined.
– Signature: Every co-applicant must now sign their own separate Form I-539A. Parents or guardians may sign on behalf of children under 14 or any co-applicant who is not mentally competent. USCIS will accept scanned copies of wet signatures.
If you have any questions on how these changes may affect you or your family members, do not hesitate to contact the immigration attorneys at Minsky, McCormick and Hallagan.
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