New Form I-539 for Change of Status Now in Effect. Biometrics Appointments Required for Non-Immigrant Visa Applicants

By March 12, 2019December 2nd, 2020Immigration, News

New Form I-539 for Change of Status Now in Effect. Biometrics Appointments Mandatory for Non-Immigrant Visa Applicants

As previously reported, the new Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status is now in effect. Starting from March 22, 2019, USCIS will only accept the newest version of the form, dated February 4, 2019, and all previous versions will be rejected. You can find the edition date of the form on the bottom of the page. This means that all spouses and children seeking a change of status to H-4 in the FY 2020 H-1B cap must submit the new form.

Form I-539 is primarily used for dependents of nonimmigrant visa holders, including the following:

  • Spouses and children of H-1BL-1E visa and other principal employment-based nonimmigrant beneficiaries;
  • B-1/B-2 business visitors;
  • F-1 students and J-1 exchange visitors, for certain changes and extensions of status (but not changes of status to H-1B, L-1 or another employer-sponsored nonimmigrant category).

There are two significant changes to the revised form:

  • Applicants are now required to appear in person to have their biometrics taken (fingerprints, photo, and digital signature), regardless of age. The biometrics fee is $85 per each applicant.
  • All applicants are now required to sign the application form, including parents and guardians signing for children under the age of 14. Previously, only principal applicants were required to sign.

Biometrics appointments are held in an applicant’s local USCIS field offices during normal work hours. Applicants will have to complete a biometrics appointment before their applications can be approved. Biometrics appointments can be rescheduled, but it’s highly recommended that you attend the one originally assigned. Rescheduling biometrics appointments require a reasonable explanation, USCIS approval, and more wait time.

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