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USCIS Temporarily Suspends Biometrics Requirement for Certain Form I-539 Applicants

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Pasricha & Patel

As previously informally hinted by the USCIS, it has now officially announced that beginning on May 17, 2021, the USCIS will temporarily suspend the biometric submission requirements of those who belong to the H-4, L-2, and E derivative nonimmigrant visa status categories and who are submitting their Form I-539 application to change or extend their status in the United States. This policy will remain in effect through May 17, 2023.

More specifically, this suspension will apply 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
  • New applications postmarked or submitted electronically on or after may 17, 2021.

But USCIS does state that it retains discretion on a case-by-case basis to require biometrics for applicants who meet the criteria above, and any applicant may be scheduled for an application support center appointment to submit their biometrics to the USCIS.

Furthermore, those Form I-539 applicants who have already received their biometric appointment notice do still need to attend their scheduled appointments.

USCIS explains that the main reason for this suspension is to help clear its significant caseload of the filed and pending I-539 applications particularly in those visa categories listed above.

At this time, it will be interesting to see whether this suspension will result in faster adjudication of the various impacted Form I-539 applications.

Due to the recent changes and updates relating to USCIS’s services and operation procedures, we do encourage readers to continue to check in and follow up on the latest news and developments through our sites.

Should you have any specific questions or if you wish to discuss your matter in more detail, I recommend you contact our office to schedule formal consultation.