New Form I-539 Required Beginning March 11, 2019

14. Feb. 2019

USCIS announced this week that it is revising Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status (for H-4, L-2, B1/B2, etc.) and will publish the revised form on 03/11/2019.  

In what is clearly a poorly planned rollout, USCIS also stated that only the new Form I-539 will be accepted starting on 3/11/19.  This means I-539 applications that cannot be filed until 3/11/19 (or after) cannot be prepared before 3/11/19, when the new form is published.  The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has reached out to USCIS requesting deferment of the new I-539 effective date as the timing will be very challenging given the impeding H-1B cap season.

The revised Form I-539 includes the following significant changes:

  • Every co-applicant (e.g., children) included on the primary applicant’s Form I-539 must submit and sign a separate Form I-539A, which will be available on the Form I-539 webpage on 3/11/19. Parents or guardians may sign on behalf of children under 14 or any co-applicant who is not mentally competent to sign.
  • Every applicant and co-applicant, regardless of age, must pay an $85 biometric services fee (except certain A, G, and NATO nonimmigrants).
  • Every applicant and co-applicant, regardless of age, will receive a biometric services appointment notice containing their individual receipt number.