22 March 2019

UNITED STATES: New Form and Biometrics for changing or extending immigration status

As of 22 March 2019, a mandatory new form, for the I-539 Application to change or extend immigration status, is now available on the USCIS website.

As part of the form completion, applicants and co-applicants must pay a biometrics fee and attend in person at a USCIS Application Support Center to have their biometrics taken (fingerprints and digital photo) and undergo background screening.

Applicants age 14 and older will be subject to a law enforcement background check as part of the biometrics process, whereas those under 14 will only have their identity verified. Parents and guardians will be permitted to sign on behalf of children under 14 or those incompetent to sign. 

What does this mean for the client?

Longer processing times: expect longer processing times for USCIS adjudication of I-539 applications, as well as applications for employment authorization documents (EADs) filed with Forms I-539.

Extra checks: Additional background checks means applicants age 14 and older as part of the I-539 process could undergo immigration enforcement action if they have a history of criminal or fraudulent activity. If I-539 applications are denied and the foreign national's immigration status has expired, they could risk immigration enforcement action.


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