USCIS has revised Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status and will publish the revised form on their website at uscis.gov on March 8, 2019. Starting on March 22, 2019, USCIS will only accept the revised Form I-539 with an edition date of 02/04/19 and will reject any Form I-539 with an edition date of 12/23/16 or earlier.
The revised Form I-539 includes the following significant changes:
Every co-applicant included on the primary applicant’s Form I-539 must submit and sign a separate Form I-539A, which will also be available on the Form I-539 webpage on March 8. 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 must pay an $85 biometric services fee, except certain A, G, and NATO nonimmigrants as noted in the new Form I-539 Instructions to be published on March 11.
Every applicant and co-applicant will receive a biometric services appointment notice, regardless of age, containing their individual receipt number. The biometric services appointments will be scheduled at the Application Support Center (ASC) closest to the primary applicant’s address.
USCIS estimates 373,477 individuals per year will file either an I-539 or I-539A.
USCIS justification for biometrics are in Section 5 of Executive Order (E.O.) 13780, entitled, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States,” which calls for the implementation of uniform screening and vetting standards for all immigration programs, including “a mechanism to ensure that applicants are who they claim to be” and “any other appropriate means for ensuring the proper collection of all information necessary for a rigorous evaluation of all grounds of inadmissibility or grounds for the denial of other immigration benefits.”
USCIS believes that the I-539 biometrics requirement will enhance national security and identity verification, and that the burden of complying with the biometrics requirement is not excessive.
USCIS will reject any Form I-539 that is missing any of the required signatures or biometrics fees, including those required for Form I-539A.