EAH Immigration Blog

USCIS Ends Biometrics Requirement for Extension/Change of Status for H-4, L-2, E Visas

USCIS has temporarily suspended the biometrics submission requirement for certain applicants filing Form I-539, requesting an extension of stay or a change of status to H-4, L-2, or E nonimmigrant status. USCIS will allow adjudications for those specific categories to proceed based on biographic information and related background checks, without capturing fingerprints and a photograph. This suspension will apply through May 17, 2023, subject to affirmative extension or revocation of the suspension period by the USCIS director.

This suspension will apply only to the above categories of Form I-539 applications that are either pending as of May 17, 2021, and have not yet received a biometric services appointment notice, or to new applications postmarked or submitted electronically on or after May 17, 2021. However, USCIS retains discretion on a case-by-case basis to require biometrics for applicants who meet the criteria above. Form I-539 applicants who have already received a biometric services appointment notice should still attend their scheduled appointment.

Form I-539 applicants meeting the criteria above are not required to submit the $85 biometric services fee for the form during the suspension period. USCIS will return a biometric services fee if submitted separately from the base fee. While USCIS allowed a short grace period during which USCIS would not reject Form I-539 filed with the biometric fee, it will now. Thus, if the biometrics fee is included with the I-539 filing fee as a single payment, the filing will be rejected and the applicant will need to refile.

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