Important Changes to Form I-539 Being Effective from March 11, 2019
Changes to Form I-539 are on the way. USCIS recently made some important changes to Form I-539. According to the institution source, USCIS will publish the revised Form I-539 on the website on March 11, 2019. These changes will require the use of a new version of Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. H-4 and L-2 holders generally use Form I-539 to extend or change their dependents’ status.
According to USCIS, the following groups use Form I-539:
- Nonimmigrants who want to extend their stay or changing the nonimmigrant status.
- CNMI residents who apply for an initial grant of status.
- F and M nonimmigrants who apply for reinstatement.
- Applicants seeking V nonimmigrant status or an extension of stay as a V nonimmigrant.
USCIS also announced that applicants have to use a new Form I-539A titled Supplemental Information for Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. USCIS did not grant an extension of time for continued use of former versions of Form I-539. However, USCIS hasn’t revealed the preview of the new version of the Form I-539.
Form I-539 will have the following implications:
- Every co-applicant has to submit and sign a separate Form I-539A which is the revised version of Form I-539. However, Parents or legal guardians may sign on behalf of children under 14 or any co-applicant who is mentally incompetent.
- Every applicant and co-applicant will have to pay an $85 biometric service fee. However, certain A, G, and NATO nonimmigrants will not pay the biometric service fee, as specified in the new version of Form I-539.
- All applicants, including co-applicants, will attend a biometric service for fingerprinting.
- Form I-539 Applicants will have an appointment notification.
- Appointment for Form I-539 Applicants will be scheduled at the Application Support Centers (ASC). The center will be the closest center to the primary applicant’s address.
These changes to Form I-539 may considerably impact processing procedures
Though Form I-539 is not suitable for premium processing when applied individually, the existing practice of USCISis normally to approve H-4 or L-2 status at the same time as a premium processed H-1B or L-1 as a courtesy. So far, USCIS has not detailed how biometrics procedure will affect the processing of H-4 and L-2 visas. However new biometric regulation might hinder the process and can result in delays between the approval of an employee’s H-1B or L-1status and the approval of dependents’ H-4 or L-2 status. It is especially essential when premium processing is preferred.
As of March 11, 2019, USCIS will reject former Form I-539, any submission that is missing each applicant’s signature or biometrics fees including those required for Form I-539A.
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