USCIS Form I-539 Changes and New Fees
UPDATE: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) indicated that due to the new biometrics fee required, USCIS would no longer provide for “courtesy” Premium Processing of L-2 and H-4 petitions for the spouses and dependent family members of L-1A/L-1B/H-1B visaholders. Accordingly, processing of Form I-539 Applications will take substantially longer to process than the principal Form I-129 Petition. At this time, USCIS has not provided any further guidance or insight as to processing times of Form I-539 applications. As additional details become available regarding the above, we will provide regular updates.
UPDATE: On March 1, 2019, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) indicated that it would publish a revised Form I-539/Form I-539A on March 8, 2019. USCIS will continue to accept the current Form I-539 (edition date of December 23, 2016) until March 21, 2019. Effective March 22, 2019, USCIS will only accept the revised Form I-539 (edition date February 4, 2019).
Effective March 11, 2019, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will publish a revised Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status.
- New Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. As background, Form I-539 is used to extend or change nonimmigrant status for certain individuals, primarily spouses and dependent family members of individuals who hold work-authorized nonimmigrant status such as H-1B and L-1A/B nonimmigrants. (Additional details regarding nonimmigrant categories who use Form I-539 are available on the form instructions.) USCIS has indicated that it will only accept the new form version effective on or after March 11, 2019, and it will only publish and make available such form on March 11, 2019.
- New Form I-539A, Supplemental Information. Effective March 11, 2019, USCIS will also require that each dependent family member sign and submit a separate supplement form. Currently, Form I-539 requires only one signature, with separate family members listed on one supplement form.
- New Biometrics Fee. Effective March 11, 2019, USCIS will also now require each applicant (in other words, each dependent family member) to pay an $85 biometrics fee. Each dependent family member will then be required to provide biometrics (fingerprints) at a designated time by USCIS.
As additional details become available regarding the above, we will provide regular updates.