USCIS – US Citizenship and Immigration Services will launch an updated version of Form I-539 from 11 March. It will be mandatory for immigrant applicants to use this form from this day.
Each co-applicant and applicant will be required to pay biometric fees of $85. They will also have to attend an appointment for biometric irrespective of their age.
The Form I-539 is used for extending or changing non-immigrant status. This is for individuals in US Visa streams like H-4, F-1, and B-1 or TN status. It is also filed by dependents with the application for the primary beneficiary of L-1, H-1B or TN status.
Only the revised version of the form will be accepted by the USCIS from 11 March 2019. This form will not be available till this day, as quoted by the JDSPURA.
A new Form I-539A will also replace the existing Supplemental form. All co-applicants, normally kids will have to sign and submit individual Form I-539A. Parents will be able to sign for their kids below 14 years as usual.
The above-mentioned changes are quite significant. They are also likely to cause additional delays in processing. USCIS often adjudicated the dependent I-539 with the primary applicant as a courtesy. This was for primary cases that qualify for premium processing of US Visa such as L-1, H-1B etc. The addition of a requirement for biometrics will now make it impossible. The L-2, H-4, and other dependents will be subject to long delays.
The Cards for Employment Authorization for those who were qualified were also often given a ruling with the primary applicant. This also will not be possible from 11 March 2019.
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