New I-539 Form USCIS Info

New I-539 form USCIS– Process, I-539A, Biometric,Processing Time H4

In US Immigration - Visas by KumarUpdated : 294 Comments

Since last Friday, March 22, 2019, you can no longer use the old I-539 form with USCIS and also some of the process is changing to collect Biometrics. This change will have impact on the H4, F1, L2 and many other visa holders that use I-539 form with USCIS. Let’s look at the changes, how process will change and impact on the overall processing times.

Why New I-539 form and I-539A form ?

One of the fundamental reason for the new form is based on the Executive order EO 13780, which is “Protecting the National from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States”.  By introducing new form, USCIS is planning to collect Biometric information for better screening and vetting for national security.

Who all are impacted with the New I-539 form ?

I-539 form is used by many categories of visa holders and it will impact all of them.

  • H1B, L1 dependents ( spouse, children) – H4 Holders filing for extension/ change of their status
  • L1 Dependents ( spouse, children) – L2 holders filing for extension/ change of their status
  • B1 / B2 – Visitor visa holders to extend/ change their status
  • F1 for COS, Reinstatements, J1 Holders
  • Other visa holders dependents like CW-2, E category dependents, G, G-5 etc.

What is the New I-539 Form ?

There are some subtle changes in the I-539 form by pages. The form size is reduced to 7 pages from 9 pages in the past version. Small changes happened to pages 1,2, 4, 6 and 7. See below at the end of article, where we highlighted what changed in every page.   One of the major change is removal of the Supplement A section from I-539 form and put it a separate form. Below is how you can identify if you are on the New form or not.

How to check New I-539 Form USCIS

What is I-539A form ?

The I-539A form is the new form created to have the Supplement section in the previous I-539 form. Every co-applicant, who is filing along with the primary I-539 applicant should submit a separate I-539A form and each of the co-applicant has to sign in their respective form. For children under 14 years of age or who cannot sign to due to health reasons, their parents or guardians can sign.

What is the New Fee for I-539 biometric fee ? Separate Checks ?

In addition to standard I-539 form fee of $370 USD, there is an additional $85 biometric fee for every applicant and co-applicant. If you are part of A, G, and NATO categories, you do not need to pay biometric fee.  If you do not include this fee, your application will be denied.

Example :  If let’s say you have 2 children filing along with one dependent then fee would be like below for all 3 of them.

  • Application Fee : $370
  • Biometric Fee : $85*3 = $255

If you are giving check, it is recommend to give separate checks for each of the biometric appointments to avoid confusion. You need to give separate checks for each of the biometric appointment to avoid confusion.

What is the New Process with New I-539 Form?

In the first step of submitting application, the process with new I-539 form is pretty much same as the past, you complete the I-539 application form, but now you would use the new form. Besides, you would also attach any I-539A forms, as applicable for each of the co-applicants, sign and send it to the respective USCIS center. The change in process happens after you send to the application form.

After you submit the complete application form along with fee with USCIS, each of the applicant and co-applicants will receive a separate Biometric services appointment notice containing individual receipt number.  The appointments will be scheduled at the nearest “ Application Support Center (ASC)” closest to the main applicant’s address.  If you want to give biometrics to be done at a different location, then you need to file a separate I-539 form.  The applicants will receive an advance notice of 7 days for the biometric appointment. They can re-schedule as needed. On an average, they say that it will take about 17 days for the overall biometric process.

Do you need to do any Biometric Appointment Scheduling ?

No, you do not have to do any separate appointments. USCIS will automatically do all the biometric appointment scheduling and send you the notice for appointment date and time, you can change it as needed after you received it.

What if I am outside of the Country ? How does Biometrics with Travel outside of USA ?

As per USCIS guidance, on their I-539 form instructions (page 12), you should call up the nearest US consulate/ embassy and arrange for the biometrics. It says “If you are currently overseas, instruct you to contact a US Embassy, US Consulate or USCIS Office outside of United States to setup an appointment “,  see below screenshot. USCIS H4 Biometrics - Travel and Outside of the country

 I am a H1B Holder filing I-129 form, Do I need Biometric appointment as well?

No, you do not need to go to biometrics. It is only for H4 holders using the form I-539.

How will USCIS handle lot of Biometric appointments with so many filing applications ? Will it further delay H4, F1 and other processing ?

As per USCIS, in their conference call, they indicated that Biometrics are done by contractors and they can increased as needed to handle load, if there is surge in appointments. The overall processing times should not be impacted by a big margin, except additional 17 days.

How will Biometric delay the overall H4 and H4 EAD processing for Premium Processing ?

Yes, there will be some delay in the processing due the additional overhead of the biometric process. As per USCIS, which is from the conference call they hosted, they typically would take about 17 days on average to complete the I-539 biometric process from the day they receive the I-539 application(assuming no re-schedules). They said that you would get seven days advance notice for biometrics and gets updated immediately. This may not have much impact for regular processing as there is not too much delay. But for premium processing petitions, there will be impact.  USCIS said in their stakeholder call that they will have the 15 day clock and SLA for H1B petitions and have a decision for them as before, but for the H4 and H4 EAD petitions filed together H1B petition, they will wait for the biometric processing to be complete and then adjudicate immediately once that is complete to as a courtesy of the main H1B premium processing application.  So,  for premium processing petitions, you can expect anywhere from 17 days or so delay for the H4 petitions decisions and H4 EADs to come. Again, this is the guidance, but USCIS is not mandated to process H4 and H4 EADs within the timeframe as H4 and H4 EAD are not subject to the SLA of 15 days of premium or anything as such.

Is Biometrics Mandatory for everyone filing I-539 form ?

Yes, it is mandatory for pretty much all of the applicants using I-539 form for extension/ change of status for many types of visa holder such as H4, F1, etc. except for certain A, G, or NATO Classification categories.

What happens at Application Support Center for Biometrics ?

They will capture your fingerprints, photograph and/or signature and you will need to confirm your application details, stating they are true and correct under penalty of perjury ( basically under US laws oath stating they all are correct).  USCIS  suggests that you review your application beforehand or have a copy of what you have sent to the USCIS center, so that you know what you have sent to review and confirm the same at the Application Support Center.

New I-539 form Changes by Page Compared with Old I-539 Form

I-539 New form by USCIS 2019 Page 1

I-539 New form by USCIS 2019 Page 2

I-539 New form by USCIS 2019 Page 4

I-539 New form by USCIS 2019 Page 6

I-539 New form by USCIS 2019 Page 7

Check latest form info at I-539 form at USCIS website

What do you think of the new form ? Share your experiences with the New form and Biometrics appointments

   

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Comments ( 294 )

  1. Kim

    HI! I applied form I-539 changing my visa status from J1 to B2 which I requested to have it until 7/13/2020. My J1 visa ended in 1/14/2020 and I got 30 grace days after that. My form was approved on 5/19/2020. Due to the pandemic, I am not sure there is any flights going back home by 7/13/2020. Should I extend the visa one more time or stay until the flights are available? I wonder if the immigration officer would be understanding my situation when I leave. Thank you so very much.

  2. Aru

    Hello.

    My parents are on B2 and their i-94 expires on JUNE 4th… their return flight to India has been cancelled and we have applied for an extension of status (i539) via mail on May 12th..We have NOT received the receipt notice yet..

    I am not sure how long will it take for bio-metrics and over all processing of I539.

    Will there be an issue if my parents leave after the i-94 expiration date (after June 4th); but before attending the bio-metric appointment?

    Not sure if failure to attend bio-metric results in either abandonment or rejection of the application ? and how would either of these two scenarios impact my parents’ ability to reenter US?

    Also is it true that if the I539 is rejected or abandoned; my parents’ current B2 visa (which is valid for 4 more years) will become void and they will have to reapply for a new visa?

    GREATLY appreciate your guidance with these questions as well as your overall advise on this situation, please…

    Many Thanks !

    1. Raj

      No issues. Since you already sent the I-539 application before the I-94 expiry date there is no need to be worried. These are uncertain times and USCIS has already posted that processing applications and sending receipts would take additional time. Just wait for few more weeks for bio metrics and receipt.

    2. Kim

      HI! I applied form I-539 changing my visa status from J1 to B2 which I requested to have it until 7/13/2020. My J1 visa ended in 1/14/2020 and I got 30 grace days after that. My form was approved on 5/19/2020. Due to the pandemic, I am not sure there is any flights going back home by 7/13/2020. Should I extend the visa one more time or stay until the flights are available? I wonder if the immigration officer would be understanding my situation when I leave. Thank you so very much.

  3. Somy

    Hi Kumar,

    I am trying to apply for an online extension of stay to my parents (B1/B2 visa status) through the USCIS website and I noticed that the online form I-539 is only valid if you are requesting the extension for only yourself! So, my question is “Can I apply online form on behalf of my parents?” But in that case, what about the financial support documents. “Can I produce my paystubs online or should I send them through the mail?”

    I created an online account using my dad’s personal information. The following question is very misleading.
    Is this application based on a separate petition or application to give your spouse, child, or parent an extension or change of status?
    Yes, filed with this I-539
    Yes, filed previously and pending with USCIS
    No

    So basically who is filling this application? Me or my dad?

  4. Perlita

    Hi, I filed I-539 last March , 2020 for my mother who is still in the U.S. because of the COVID. When I submitted the form and documents needed, they asked for a flight ticket if when she is coming back so I have to booked for a flight which will be on the 22nd of June 2020. USCIS supporting office is close and she haven’t done her biometrics yet, do you think I can cancel the flight ticket that I already reserved? Even if it will be approved it might be already passed the date of her flight. Will this affect the application that I submitted?

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Perlita,
      Now with COVID-19, not sure, if they would really look at it. Again, we do not know how they would look at it. Talk to an attorney, if you are unsure.

  5. Rakesh Upadhyay

    Hi,

    When I apply for NEW H4 COS and NEW H4 EAD, do they Both have the same expiration date with my spouse;s H1B expiration date?

    In addition, when my spouse do the H1B extension, does that mean the H4 and H4 EAD also need to do the extension too?

    I heard currently USCIS is not doing H1B PP with the H4 and H4 EAD due to the fingerprint requirements. I was wondering if we submit all three (H1B extension+ first-time H4 COS+ first-time H4 EAD) together under regular processing first. Then after I finished Biometric, can we upgrade H1B extension to Premium? If so, by doing this, will it help USCIS approve all three at the same time?

    Thanks for your help.

    Rakesh Upadhyay

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Rakesh,
      They will usually get the same expiration date as your Spouse H1B.
      Yes, they need to be extended too
      You can do it, once it becomes available. No, H4 and H4 EAD are not going to b processed in premium. Some had luck, many were unluckly since the biometrics came in.

  6. Sudha

    Hi Kumar,

    I applied for B2 extension for my parents in early April, their I-94 was expiring on 4/25. Today, I received all documents and the check back along with a notice saying application is returned due to missing document. They sent a paper that we would need to attach when we re apply.
    we are preparing to re send the application but I am worried that this application will be considered as filed after I-94 expired. What are the chances of our application being accepted?
    The whole situation is worrisome!

    1. samy

      Hi Sudha,

      I have also applied online for B2 extension for my mother in April, so far we haven’t received anything except for the receipt.
      Wondering if its okay with you to share what kind of documents you were missing. I am getting scared that they might return or reject our application.

      Also I read on USCIS website that ideally you need to apply before I 94 expiration but incase someone was not able to apply before that, he/she need to explain the reason for late application. I think in your case you did apply before the I-94 expiration which you always mention. As long as your application is not rejected I think you should be good.

      Samy

      1. Sudha

        Samy,

        We were missing one page of application.. not sure how that happened. We are going to re apply next week. How long did it take for you to get the receipt? I never got a receipt, just received all documents and check back.

        1. Sudha

          I have to mention, we didn’t apply online. We sent a physical application. Since you have receipt number, you can always check the status. I don’t know what’s the processing time though.

          1. Samy

            Hi Sudha,

            Yes we applied online and we got the receipt within 48 hours through email. In order to apply online, we had to make an online account with USCIS which turned out to be good as we can see all the information and documents submitted and can also submit additional stuff if we want just by uploading it into our account. and USCIS can also contact us through it and through email.
            So far it doesn’t say anything about processing but searching on USCIS website, it looks like it may take 5-6 months.

      2. Somy

        Hi Samy,

        I am trying to apply for an online extension of stay to my parents (B1/B2 visa status) through the USCIS website and I noticed that the online form I-539 is only valid if you are requesting the extension for only yourself! So, my question is “Can I not apply online form on behalf of my parents?” But in that case, what about the financial support documents. “Can I produce my paystubs?” I created an online account using my dad’s personal information. The following question is very misleading. So my dad can be the applicant and choose No or I can be the applicant and choose the first option?

        Is this application based on a separate petition or application to give your spouse, child, or parent an extension or change of status?
        Yes, filed with this I-539
        Yes, filed previously and pending with USCIS
        No

        So basically who is filling this application? Me or my dad?

    2. administrator
      Kumar

      Sudha,
      Do not worry, write up an explanation letter and the situation with COVID-19, they will consider as it is special situation.

  7. Priya

    Hi Kumar,

    I would like to apply extension for my Parents, so do i need to apply two different applications or my father in I539 and mother in I539A as co applicant…

    Or do i need to apply two different applications ….

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Priya,
      If you apply online, you need to do it as two. If you apply with paper forms, you can file as one as main and other as co-applicant.

      1. Priya

        Hi Kumar,

        If we apply online the extension application .. the bio-metric appointment details we get through Online(Email/USCIS account notification) or by mail..?

  8. P Gupta

    Thank you for the article. It was quite useful.

    I’m trying to apply for H4 and EAD together (I’m currently on H1B visa). I’m planning to go back to studies that begin late August. I will get some bonus from the my current firm by mid-july. If possible I’d like to leave after I get the bonus but not at the risk of affecting my visa situation for starting studies; I’m allowed to start studies on even if H4 is filed but would like to get EAD approved as well so that I can do internships.

    Now, I have a couple of questions:
    1. If I put the “effective date of change” as, say, 1st August, will the process for EAD only start after that date?
    2. Is it possible that change of status might be approved before that date (and so I’ll have to leave my job)?

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      P Gupta,
      1. Yes, that will be the case as you cannot have EAD without H4 status.
      2. It can be approved, but as you have put in effective date, the I-94 on it with status change will kick-in on that day only, so it will be fine.

  9. Cheryl Draber

    Hi! My friend is here in the US visiting as a tourist. With Covid—19 she’s scared to travel back to her country (Mexico). She applied for an extension of her stay which expires on May 17th, 2020. Her application was received on April 18th 2020. Can she stay beyond May 17th while her I-539 application is in process? Thanks so much in advance.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Cheryl Draber,
      Well, USCIS will look at the reason for staying back. If she has valid reason and cannot travel back to the country due to travel restrictions, then they may honor, otherwise they may not. I understand her concern, but it has to be extreme situation for USCIS to give extension.

  10. Sudarshan

    Hi,
    My Son is currently on my Ex-Wife H4 , She got laid off , can I transfer him to my H4? My H1 is Valid till 2022.
    What’s the process here ? as I need to just apply for this transfer alone? and fee?
    is it would be better for him to go back to India & get it stamped and come back?
    Could you please advice?
    Thanks

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Sudarshan,
      If you would like to add him as your dependent, then you will need to file I-539 form as listed above and need to pay respective fee. Also, I suggest you check with attorney on this as you did not have him as dependent for you before…

  11. Huntington

    I submitted an I-539 in April, the B2 visa expires at the end of June. I talked to someone at uscis today and he said that a biometric appointment request showed up on his end even though nothing shows when I log in, other than the initial receipt. If the request was going to be denied would they send me the biometric request? Could it still be denied even after submitting biometrics?

    1. samy

      Hi Huntington,

      I also applied for I 539 online for B2 visa extension for my mother in April, we got an email 2 days later with the receipt, however we haven’t got any request for biometric appointment as USCIS Office is closed for public till 4th June.

      I am just wondering that even though you never received any biometric appointment request either through mail or email but the USCIS person mentioned to you that you have an appointment ? Please clarify this as its making me worried thinking that USCIS is scheduling the appointments but not sending any info to people.
      Thanks a lot

      1. Huntington

        Sorry for any confusion. The man I spoke to mentioned something would go out by mail/or update on the online account, no appointment scheduled for a specific date at this point. He said offices are supposed to start reopening June 4th, and if we had not heard anything by then to make sure we call back.

        1. administrator
          Kumar

          Huntington,
          Yes, now what you said makes sense. So, technically they will send out notices for biometrics once offices are open..

    2. administrator
      Kumar

      Huntington,
      It could be mail delay or some issue. What you could do is try to call them and see, if they can send another Biometric request. Alternatively, you can visit any ASC center once they are open and then tell the same you said, if they can see the Biometrics, then you should be able to give it…

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Khusro,
      Check USCIS processing times on their website. There can be delays as many are filing COS applications now.

  12. Ade

    Hi, i submitted an extension form for my F1 status after i went out of status. I did my biometrics in January and still haven’t heard from them yet. Do you know how long the estimated wait time is?

  13. Bindi

    Hi,

    My mom is visiting me and my brother in the US. Due to the COVID 19 situation we are planning to extend her stay. Her visa ends in first week of June. She is currently with my brother in North Carolina. I live in California. We are planning to book her ticket end of May to California. Where will her biometrics be done? Is it based on mailing address or where she is currently ? Thanks

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Bindi,
      It will be based on where she is residing. You need to put in the address, where she would be living at that time. It is usually based on mailing address of the person, but can be tricky at times as some reported that they got Biometrics far apart, as it had attorney mailing address. So, try to keep all addresses same to avoid issues.

      1. Bindi

        Hi,
        How are we supposed to pay the filing fee? Will we have to pay before signing the form and submitting? I don’t see any link regarding how to pay except mentioning fee amount of 455$.
        Can you please help with this? Thanks

        1. administrator
          Kumar

          Bindi,
          Yes, you submit the checks or pay online when you submit the form. Check the form instructions, there are details.

  14. Usha

    Hi all,
    My mom is visiting me> she is Indian citizen but Canadian Permanent Resident. Her I94 expires 8th May. She is unable to leave because of this CV situation. We filled and submitted her I539 form( to get her I 94 extended) earlier this month , but haven’t received any response back yet. What should I do in this situation.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Usha,
      All you can do is wait for the receipt notice. It may take time, as their offices are closed. You can try to call them and check
      Keep the receipt of the mail from Fedex or UPS for your reference as proof that you sent it on time.

      1. Usha

        Thanks Kumar. I have the receipt of the mail from USPS and that they received the mail on 8th April. I have tried calling them and but since the data is not yet in the system, they dont tell me anything. I also sent couple of emails to lockboxsupport** and they havent responded at all. I am just scared that they will make my mom’s status invalid or something. In case I dont hear from them until 7th May, my mom will still be here. What happens in that case? Should I wait or should I file it online OR since we sent the forms first week of April, it will be counted as “In Process” .

        1. Raj

          Hello Usha,

          Don’t worry too much. USCIS has already posted on their website that there are delays during this crisis time for sending receipts and processing inbound applications. As long as you have the receipt showing that you posted application before I-94 expiry your mom’s status is perfectly fine even after May 7th. It will be considered as in process status.

        2. madhu

          i am also in the same situation, i send documents on May 16th. No confirmation Yet. My in-laws visa expiring on May 6th.

          Regards
          Madhu

        3. administrator
          Kumar

          Usha,
          It is difficult situation for everyone, do not worry. There are many in the same boat. You have done your part, keep the documentation and wait for them to give the notice. Give it a month and then see, if no response, call customer service and then check with them.

        4. Sudha

          Hi Usha,

          Have you received the receipt yet? I applied for extension for my parents early April and havent received receipt yet. I am a little worried now.

  15. PKumar

    Hi,

    I am on H1B and my wife, kid are in H4 (Dependents). My 6 years max out date is 5/15/2020 (same date on I-94) and my dependents I-94 expiry is 5/4/2020. My I-140 is filed on 4/7/2020. As there are travel restrictions in India, my attorney suggested to go with COS to B2.
    1. Can i fill I-539 forms for three of us and submit together with different COS date in my form? or can i submit my form separately?
    2. Do i need to include any written letters in addition to the H1/H4/My financial docs?
    3. As My I-94 having only 10 days extra validity, Will there be any issues if i submit I-539 for H4s prior to my application?

    I know that i am close to the deadlines, but i was waiting till end as my attorney requested for expedite my I-140 and that caused the delay.I really wanted to complete this by tomorrow. Please suggest.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      PKumar,
      1. If you are filing online, you have to do it separately. But, if you are filing paper forms, you can submit all forms together.
      2. Yes, indicate a cover letter stating your situation and why you are applying for it.
      3. No, it will be fine. This is where the cover letter will help.
      Do it soon…

      1. Phani

        Hi Kumar, Thanks for your quick response. Do you know , How long it will take to get receipt in case of online submission? Any standard format for cover letter?

        Thanks
        Phani

          1. administrator
            Kumar

            Phani,
            Usually, if you are filing for someone that would be filled. If you are filling that for your dependents, then you can do that.

        1. administrator
          Kumar

          Phani,
          It usually can take up to 15 days or so. With delays, it can be up to month as well now…Nothing special, we do not have any format. Just standard normal letter on piece of paper will do.

          1. Phani

            Thanks Kumar, I sent the application for my dependents on 4/20 and they were delivered on 5/1. Just on time.

          2. Phani

            Hi Kumar, I received the receipt number today. I think it is quicker than expected in current scenario.

  16. Latha

    Hi,

    Ill be doing a one year accelarated Master’s program in a STEM course starting this June.
    Im currently on H-4 visa ( visa expires on Sept 2021) and am willing to change my status to F-1 via form I-539 online. I had queries regarding the filling of the form.

    In the section “Reason for Request” when I select ‘Change of status’ two more questions follow it, asking for ‘effective date of change’ and ‘status be extended until?’ . Effective date of change would be the course start date as mentioned in the I-20 ; What should I mention for the extention date? Should I include 3 years of OPT date as well and get an extension for 4 years? Or just mention the course end date?

    If I have plans to do my PHD after this will I have to apply for extension again?

    Also regarding the application processing time, since my course is for one year; Do you think my application will be processed before my course ends (June 2021)?

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Latha,
      Usually the second one is relevant for extensions. You may put in until the program end date and add in OPT time frame too. If you go for F1, usually they will give I-94 with D/S ( Duration of Status). The processing times are really unknown, check USCIS website. Discuss with your DSO on this before you pursue anything and plan accordingly.

  17. Ricky Tan

    Hello There,

    I have helped my parents to file a 539 extension. The mail delivery date is April 10th, 2020 and I have also filed the G1145 form. I have doubled the address and it’s correct. However, I still have not received the receipt. Is this normal? What should I do? Thank you so much.

    Best,
    Ricky

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Ricky,
      Now with COVID, there maybe delays with the mail…usually, you should receive receipt in less than a month…You can contact USCIS customer service.

  18. suyog

    Hi admin,

    I want to know how much time does it really take for i 539 processing as I am tight on time. Currently I am of F-1 Visa which expires on 2nd July 2020. After which I am supposed to be on J-1 Visa, for which I have scheduled the interview but I feel international travel will not resume until then. In such case is it better to file for i 539 change of status from F-1 to J-1.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      suyog,
      We do not know how long it can take. Many are waiting for at least few months. You can check USCIS website. Also, the Biometrics at ASCs are closed now, that also delays the process.

  19. Joseph

    Hi,

    Sincerely hope that everyone is doing fine in these torrid times. I wanted to know few details about extending parents B2 visa:

    1. For online application, does system allow to upload all sorts of supplemental docs including I-94, passport copies, paystubs, bank statements etc? In summary, are there any set no of docs or it is up to applicant to upload all the necessary evidence that support the case?
    2. About financial support, is it necessary to submit I-134 or paystubs and bank statements will suffice?

    Subject matter experts advice/opinions will be very helpful.

    Take care and stay safe!

    Joseph

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Joseph,
      1. you should be able to. Did you try ? Do update here, if any issues or fine..
      2. I-134 is optional. Pay stubs and bank statement should be fine.

    2. Sham

      Hello Dear Kumar,
      I have a confusion and need your authentic answer,
      If we apply for extension of status on b1/b2 visa and then stay for 2 weeks beyond my original authorized period and then left. What will happen to my 5 years multiple b1/b2 visa? What will happen if i try to re enter USA next time?
      Thank you in advance

      1. administrator
        Kumar

        Sham,
        This is slightly grey area… When you enter next time, you need to carry all documentation indicating that you left the country on time and did not violate anything. If your B2 extension is denied, then it gets complicated… As I said, it is subjective and grey area, talk to an immigration attorney.

  20. Sum

    I want to change my status from F1 to B2. I am on OPT (unemployment period) right now. What date should I put for the expiration date (15.b.)? Should I enter the date which comes after the end of the unemployment period? Also, what date should I put for the new status and effective date of change (Part 2 3.b)? Should it be the date just after the unemployment period ends or can I enter an earlier date?

  21. Vija

    Hi there,

    I would ask if my child’s H4 extension(co-applicant) case status is normal.

    I am applying H4 extension with my child(co-applicant) and we both have done biometric in this Feb. But when I check the case status at uscis webstie, only my case have updated status (fingerprint has done). My child case’s case status is always as case received. I am not sure if the co-applicant case status would not get updated online.

    Thanks

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Vija,
      Online status is very misleading, do not worry about it. Some users have the same status even after the final approval, so dont worry about it.

  22. Mellisha

    Hello,

    I am a Jamaican citizen on B1/B2 visa and desperately in need of advice/help. I need to return home to my child and job but the borders are closed until May 31, 2020. My i94 expires on May 22, 2020, I saw that there was the ability to request for an extension but I do not have any money, I used up what I brought with me for my divorce and to buy food, so I jave no money whatsoever, I need to get back home but with the borders being closed my only option is to request an extension, but I have no money. I do not want to overstay. Is there any way to request a waiver of the i539 fee? I am desperate, please provide any information that you can. I appreciate it, thank you.

    1. Ali

      Hey Melisha, i am so sorry to hear that. I was in same situation few days back. I was confused either to apply for extension or not but as borders are closed so i had to apply. I searched thoroughly about fee waiver related to i 539. USCIS gives fee waiver for some forms but not for i 539 so unfortunately you have to arrange some money for that. You can wait till 15,16th may in hope of flights opening, but if not you can apply for extension then

    2. administrator
      Kumar

      Mellisha,
      Sorry to hear. Honestly, I do not know. You can try to reach out to USCIS and ask, if you can get a waiver. Write to them or call them.

  23. Vanessa Gonzalez

    Hi, I’m going to file the I-539 for my parents. Their I-94 expires on 5/28 and they were planning to fly back to China on 5/20. Due to the current Covid-19, on 4/17 we were informed by the airline that our flights are cancelled. I realized that it’s less than 45 days before the I-94 expires.
    Questions:
    1. My parents have the B2 visa. Would it still help my parents to stay in U.S legally even I file the I-539 less than 45 days?
    2. I noticed that we can file the I-539 online. But the online application only allows to file for one person. And I have to do the paper application if I want to file it with a co-applicant. So I wonder shall I file one application or two separate applications? Would it make a different for the application fees? I mean if I file one application with a co-applicant, do I pay $370 x2+ $85 X2? Or just one time $370 + $85 x2? They don’t understand any English, so I’m hoping they can do the biometric screening together.
    3. Since the USCIS office is closed now, if I file the paper application, how can I keep tracking of the status? And how soon will I be notified for the biometric screening after I submit/send out the application? What if they couldn’t get the extension on time, what kind of proof can they use to prove that they can stay here legally?
    4. I’m filing the application for my parents since they don’t understand English. Am I considered as interpreter? Or preparer? Or what? Where do I need to sign on the form? Will I be able to go to the biometric screening with them to do the translation as well?
    5. On the USCIS website, it said it’s not guaranteed to get the approval of the extension. But due the Covid-19, I’m sure a lot of people are applying the extension too. So what’s the chance of getting the approval of the extension for a B2 visa? What if they don’t get the extension and there is no flight going back, what can my parents do? Will they affect their next time come to U.S.? Will they still keep their 10 years B2 visa?

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Vanessa Gonzalez,
      1. Yes, it is fine.
      2. Do two separate applications online to avoid issues with mail and all the fee confusions.
      3. I suggest you do the online. Yes, as you said, the problem is mail, tracking, etc. This is why online is recommended.
      4. You are preparer and interpreter. Check the form, it has both. You would be the one on both.
      5. yes, sometimes, it may take more than 6 months for decision…But, from your side, you applied it before expiration and you can wait until 6 months. Before that you need to plan to leave.

      1. Vanessa

        Thank you for your reply.
        As you mentioned that I should extend my parents B2 visa separately, I have a few more questions.

        1. When I file the applications online, should I mention that this application is together with the other one, or should I just don’t mention it at all? The reason I’m asking because I’m wondering if the USCIS can schedule their biometric screening together, just in case my parents need a interpreter?
        2. I notice that I would need to fill out the I-134 to prove that I would support them financially . Do I need to creat an account to file that form? Or how can I submit the I-134 with their applications? And on the form, do I mention that I support both of my parents, or shall I do two I-134 for each of them?
        3. For the written statement, shall I write two separate ones, or shall I write one and mention that it’s for both of my parents?
        4. You said that it may take more than 6 months to get the approval. So once my parents I-94 expires, should they leave U.S. ASAP once there is flight available? Or shall they wait until they get the approval of the extension? And what can they use to prove their over stay is legal( if they haven’t received the approval before they leave the country)? Will that cost their trouble when they visit U.S. next time?

        Thank you so much for your time.

        1. administrator
          Kumar

          Vanessa,
          You can mention it and attach a cover letter stating that you are also submitting it for the spouse separately and request for getting the Biometrics together. I am not sure, if you need a seperate account for it. In general, I-134 is an optional document, usually you submit proof of funds…but, you can use I-134 too.
          Write one letter and attach the same for both.
          Yes, they should leave US as soon as flights become available. Your Submission Notice is the proof. Keep copy of all the documentation that you submit.
          Also, any communication that you receive from USCIS after you submit.
          If you are new to this, engage with an attorney and have it done using their help.

          1. Ar

            Thanks for your comments, Kumar !!

            I’ve applied the B2 extension for my parents online and now waiting for Biometric appointment. I’m planning to send them back to India ASAP once the flight operation starts. Will there be any issue if I send them back to India without completing the biometric ? What is the next step on this situation ? or Should I ask USCIS to schedule an appointment in India or Should I withdraw the I-539 ?

          2. administrator
            Kumar

            Ar,
            Should not be an issue. There is technically nothing that needs to be done. Just make sure that they have all documentation with them, when they try to re-enter. If you get a Biometric appointment before they leave, just attend it.

  24. Coco

    Hi ,
    I have an urgent question.
    I submitted H1-B transfer to USCIS on 3/26 /2020 and
    I was already starting to work for new employer ( I transferred) on 4/1/2020.

    However, I got laid off the company due to COVID-19 a few days ago.
    When I checked my status on USCIS website, then mailed me RFE a week ago.
    My current status got out of status now because H1-B transfer is not approved yet?

    In the case, can I apply the change of status to B1 ? or else another better solution ?

    Do I have to leave the state immidately?

    it is because going back to my home country is very risky for me at current moment and there are almost nowhere to leave the country now, either.

    I do not know what I should do… Please advise .

    thank you !

    Coco

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Coco,
      It all depends on your I-94. If it is still valid, you maybe able to go back to the previous employer and re-activate your H1B. Talk to your previous employer.
      You can also apply for COS to B2 and leave the country, when you can travel out.
      Also, discuss with attorney of your current company or general attorney and then take informed decision.

  25. Farjia

    Hi Kumar,
    I have filled my COS f2-f1 on march 19,2020. However after submission the form i-539 I found out I have made a small mistake. In section 15.b (page2) i gave my non immigrant status expiration date according to my f2 visa expiration date. I have granted D/S and my i-94 do not have and expiration date. In this situation what can i do?

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Farjia,
      Well, I am not sure, if it will impact…I suggest you call the USCIS help line and check with them. Worst case, you can always file a backup petition now indicating the reason for re-filing, that way you do not miss out on the mistake.

  26. Mvb

    Hi,
    I filing extension H1/H4 after i140 approval. My spouse has a valid EAD(H4). While filing i539 form, Q2, what should I enter Alien number(A #) as?
    Thanks

  27. Rakesh Upadhyay

    Hi,

    Thanks for your useful information. So I just want to confirm even with the biometric, we still can file H4 COS and H4 Ead together with H1B extension, correct?

    I am currently with STEM OPT, which expires on May 20, 2021. My wife is with her H1B, which expires on July 10, 2021. She is processing her perm now. Let’s say she got the I-140 form approved in October 2020.
    Case 1: if I do the H4 cos and H4 EAD together for myself, how long will this take? in this case, I guess my H4 will have the same expiration date with her current H1b as July 10, 2021, correct?

    Case 2: I checked she can only start to file her H1B extension as early as of Jan. 10, 2021. If I do my H4 COS and H4 EAD with her H1B extension, then it might be faster since she can have her H1B extension PP, correct? If so, should she do the H1B pp when submit the application or wait the PP after I finish the biometric appointment?

    Another question, when do you think it will be a good time to do this F1-H4 COS? I know we can put a futer effective date on H4 application (i-539 form), but how can I control the start date of H4 EAD?

    Thanks for your reply. I really appreciate your help.

    Stay safe and healthy during covid-19.

    Rakesh Upadhyay

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Rakesh,
      Yes, you can file together.
      1. There is no estimated time as the processing times are really long…can be 6 or more months for some locations. Yes, it will be same expiration as H1B.
      2. No, it will not be faster, they do not process all in premium anymore…

      Yes, you can put in future date… The trick is maintaining your F1 status until that happens. Plan out dates accordingly.

      1. Rakesh Upadhyay

        Hi Kumar,

        Thanks a lot for your reply.

        so you mean even doing the PP for H1B extension together with H4 and H4 EAD, they still will just process H1B as PP, and do the H4 and H4 Ead as standard process, correct?

        How did we control the start date of H4 EAD card? or is this determined based on USCIS’s approval date?

        Thanks.

        1. Raj

          Yes H-4 and H-4 EAD will be processed normally. Also start date in the form is just a formality. The date is determined by USCIS whenever they approve the petition. They don’t look at the start date in the application. This is from my personal experience and also from others experience in different forums.

          1. Rakesh Upadhyay

            Hi Raj,

            Thanks a lot for your reply.

            Let’s assume I put May, 01, 2021 as my future H4 effective date in the form i-539, but the H4 EAD is approved on Apr. 01, 2021. Although it is not my H4 effective date yet, does this still mean both my H4 status and H4 EAD start to be effective on Apr. 01, 2021? which also means I have to stop using my OPT EAD on this date?

            Thanks for your help.

          2. administrator
            Kumar

            Rakesh,
            Your H4 EAD date will be based on your H4 approval date, if they are approved before…So, this situation would not happen.

        2. administrator
          Kumar

          Rakesh,
          Yes, this changed with the biometrics process. Previously as courtesy, USCIS was doing it, but now they stopped it.
          You can specify the H4 date in it, it is part of the I-539 form, that will determine the EAD start date as well..If approved before the date you put in, then you control it…If it gets delayed and goes past, then it is the date when USICS actually approves it.

          1. Rakesh Upadhyay

            Hi Kumar,

            Thanks for your reply.

            So you mean, if the EAD approval date is earlier than the specified H4 date, I can choose either one? With the approval of H4, will it necessarily terminate my current OPT? or it still can be waiting until my specified H4 date?

            Thanks.

          2. administrator
            Kumar

            Rakesh,
            No, you cannot chose to work on H4 EAD without being on H4 and H4 being effective. Yes, your status will change to H4 from F1, so OPT and F1 status is not valid then. You can try to use F1 OPT, as long as you have valid F1 status and OPT is valid, while you wait. talk to your DSO and plan it.

  28. Farjia

    Hi Kumar,
    Today I received form i-797c after 15 days of my first submission in my mail box stating its a receipt for my i-539 filing of CO2 f2 to f1, . There is nothing mention about biometrics. I know that the biometric center is closed. Do they send another notice to me about my biometric appointment when the center again open? What should I expect now?

  29. sam

    Hello,
    I want to apply for an extension to my husband who is now on a B2 visitor visa that expires July 15th of this year. I am applying for extension for an important event that he has to be present in, and also because of the Corona Virus situation going on now . I checked the immigration site and it said that they are currently working on November 19th of 2019. Is it worth applying for? will we have enough time for them to respond before his stay expires?
    He does not was to overstay after his visa expires.
    Thanks

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      sam,
      You should apply for it, if your husband cannot travel out of US, before the expiry. You may not get approval before he leaves, but it gives him some paperwork to stay in country stating that he was in period of authorised stay.

      1. Sam

        But what’s the point if he will leave and not be able to use it? The event is August 1st and his visa expires July 15th. So I was wanting him to stay to attend with me. Also his I-130 is still in process so I don’t know how long it’s taking now.
        Do you think we’ll be able to get an answer before his visit expires?

        1. administrator
          Kumar

          Sam,
          You need valid documentation to stay in America, even if you are waiting. If let’s say anyone from ICE does a raid and if you do not have proper documentation, you can be deported as you do not have proper documentation…

    2. Sonam

      Hi Sam ,

      You mentioned that you checked immigration site and found out that they are still working on nov 2019 application ? where is that site, can you send us a link, Thank you is much.
      I am in the same boat, I am applying for B2 visa extension and wondering if USCIS will reply to me, my I 94 is expiring on April 23, 2020.

  30. Ismail Ibrahim

    I’m on B2 which expires on 06/10, my airline informed that my flight on 06/09 has been cancelled due to Covid19. Have applied online I539 for extension of stay on 03/27 and got a receipt. How much time it will take for my bio-metrics and over all how much time it will take for processing I539.
    If the airlines starts the flights early I will go back, even if my I539 is under process, if I do that will my next visit to USA will there be an issue.

  31. Madhu

    Im currently having my H1B denied on 03/20/2020 and I94 expired on 10/06/2020. I m unable to leave US due to pandemic and no flights to India. what are my options?
    Can I try and file i539 COS to B2 and will it help to make my stay legal?
    how long before does the decision arrive?
    Can I try and file H1B extension under nunc pro tunc for the special situation of covid-19?
    Also, in parallel, Can I apply for H1B new cap exempt petition with Consular processing?

  32. Fick

    Hi, I apply I-539 for my wife from F1 to H4 on 3/24/2020. Her OPT status expires on 7/10/2020. Can she stay here legally even if the I-539 has not approved yet? Thank.

      1. Satya

        Hi Kumar, Thanks for the summary of information above. I have similar question in reference to the F1 to H4 conversion. F1 opt is ending in Sept2020 (currently working fulltime for a company) and we have submitted I-539 COS and I-765 ead together along with H1b extension in premium. H1b extension got approved and H4 biometrics got scheduled for Mar18th ! Unfortunately usics office was closed and now it is on hold. Can Usics use biometrics from port of entry since we came back to USA just back in January after H1b and F1 visas stamped during our visit to india? Thank you

        1. administrator
          Kumar

          Satya,
          They may not be able to use it at the moment. This is the big issue…Hopefully USCIS update us that they would consider, at this point, nothing you can do.

  33. Rakesh

    Hi,

    My H1b is expiring by Nov 2020 and my wife’s H1B is expiring by August 2020. Can I do online I-539 for her to do COS from Sept to Nov 2020?
    Do we get any receipt while we do online?

    Also when I do my extension from Nov 2020 I am planning to file another I-539 for her to be on H4 along with my H1 B application, do I need to mention her COS,since the COS was supposed to be only until Nov 2020, wont that be a new H4 along with the new H1 and not COS?

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Rakesh,
      You will just be able to submit the form and get communication online, check https://www.uscis.gov/i539online. You can only do it, if you are a single applicant.
      Yes, you need to do that. The best thing to do is file for both together, talk to your employer and see, if you can do it before to avoid confusions.

  34. Pjaya

    Hi, My son is 8 yrs old and he is in L2 Visa. His i94 is expiring on May 2020 because of this Old passport expiry date. Now his passport is renewed. My L1 Visa and dependent L2 Visa is valid till August 2020. And due to my L1B maxout period, we will be leaving country on July 2020 for good. So my question is:

    -> Is it mandatory to extent i94 for my son for 3 months ? (even we have valid visa for all the members)
    -> If yes, Can I apply i-539 online for my son’s i94 extension without hiring Attorney.
    -> Is bio metric mandatory for him. What happens if we just skip the biometric test since we are planning to stay only 3 months.

    Thanks in advance.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Pjaya,
      Yes, you should. If you do not have I-94 extended, his stay is technically not valid and he is considered out of status from the day his I-94 expired.
      You do not need to apply for I-539 again, you can go to a CBP office and get it extended. If you have the approval valid for him till end of August, then you can just get I-94 extended. Read How to extend I-94 with New Passport

  35. Pankaj Gupta

    Hi, My wife is on H4 visa and currently she wants to change her status to F1 as she got admit from a university. I have following questions –

    How soon she have to apply for CoS?
    How long does it take to get the change of status approved?
    What are the chances of getting it approved compared to visiting US consulate in other country?

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Pankaj,
      Sooner the better…it takes a very long time for the F1 Visa COS.
      Check USCIS processing times…
      Usually, it is better to get COS done. In general, the risk with Stamping is that you are moving from Dual Intent Visa to Non-immigrant Visa and you need to prove non-immigrant nature during stamping, that would be tricky…

  36. Shilpa

    I have question regarding B2 visa extension for my parents.They came to US in October and they are supposed to return back to India on April 15th, but due to covid 19 outbreak i am planning to apply for their extension.

    1. How soon i have to apply for extension?
    2. Can i file online for both my parents ? or is it separate application for each applicant?
    3. How long i am going to get extension based on that i am planning to change their return tickets.
    4. Do they have to go through bio-metrics as well?

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Shilpa,
      You should apply it immediately as the situation is bad. Best case, if things ease out, they can leave and you can withdraw it.
      It would be seperate application for both. Check USCIS site
      Well, this is something you need to explain asking for few months based on the current ban on travel, India not allowing, etc.
      Yes, it is required…

  37. Sarah

    How does this impact L2 spouse who is in Canada? My husband is waiting for his renewal to be approved. What is the process for me to renew my L2 status?
    Thank you

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Sarah,
      Your status is not L2, when you are in Canada, You will only get it when you enter US. Now, in your case, if you get visa stamping, you do not need to file the form I-539 as you would get stamping done. the form is only applicable, if you are in US and applying for extension.

  38. Tiago

    I did a visa extension with I539 in the month of October 2018 in March 2019 came the answer with the denial. Now that in March 2020 I received a letter from UICIS saying that I have to do biometrics and photos, my wife and I, our 7 year old son did not receive it. A number appears on the letter with A #. This is for biometrics, or for deporting us. Should I attend or not, if I don’t attend what happens?

    1. Farjia

      Hi,
      I filled for COS f2 to f1 march 19,2020. On march 27,2020 USCIS deducted the application fee from my have. However I still not recevied any text,mail, email from USCIS about they received my file. Do I need to do about the situation or in general It’s normal

      1. administrator
        Kumar

        Farjia,
        If they have deduced fee, it is positive. Now with the current situation, it is tough for processing, so it may take time. Give it a week or two… Then given them a call, if you dont get it.

  39. Manish

    Hello,

    I am H-1B worker at a University. Last year October, I filed for extension for 3 years under premium processing and got it approved within a week. Then came my wife’s H-4 extension, for which we filed I-539 form and got her biometrics done on November 08, 2019. Since then her application status online says “fingerprint were taken’. Its’ been already more than 3 months now and we are not sure how long will it go to see the case approved. Our visas are expired. We are planning a trip to India but not sure if she would be allowed to come back considering the risk associated with visa renewal thing.

        1. administrator
          Kumar

          Manish,
          Most of the H4 stampings do not carry approved after filing I-539 as they are coming from their home country, so it does not matter…I-539 filing is done only to extend your status in US.

      1. Zarsham

        Hi, i am on B2 visa and my permitted stay is uptil 23rd april. Due to corona virus all flights are cancelled so i am planning to file i 539 today. My question is what if i file the i539 and while waiting for the verdict of application to come,i leave USA and withdraw my application, the period i stay from 23rd april untill i leave USA will be considered overstay?

          1. administrator
            Kumar

            Zarsham,
            Yes. It maybe considered cancelled, if your B2 extension is denied…But, now as this is exceptional situation, we do not know how USCIS will handle it.

  40. yumi

    Hi, I filed an i-539 for my in-laws last week on 02/03 to extend their B2 visa, due to the fact that most flights between China and the US have been cancelled because of the outbreak of coronavirus.. However, I’ve not received an e-notification yet about the acceptance of the package yet.. We can for sure wait longer, but the last day of the their visa is 02/24. What if the notification comes in later than this date? I know if the status of the case is pending, they can stay in the US for further notification. But the status right now is not even pending yet I guess… So should we just need to wait?

    1. Raj

      You can wait and see if your check gets deducted by Feb 18th or 19th and then you can take a decision. As far as I know if USCIS receives the docs before I-94 expiry then they are good to stay.

      1. yumi

        I have a receipt from USPS saying the package was delivered to the Lockbox in Dallas on 02/06. I can use this receipt as a proof that USCIS has got the package. Correct? Right now this is the only thing I have with USCIS… No e-notification, or case number, whatsoever…

    2. administrator
      Kumar

      yumi,
      Try to call USCIS, you should have got the package receipt as well, that could be treated as your record of sending. I also suggest you speak to an attorney and then plan out…Usually B2 extensions are hard, this would fall under one of the humanitarian aspects of USCIS for considering a request….

  41. Yvette Trinidad

    Hi, My Mom filed for I-539 extension of stay in October 2019 since her tourist visa will expire on February 20, 2020, at the same time, we filed for her change of status to immigrant visa. She had her biometrics done for her adjust of status in November 2019. My question is, why do they ask my mom to have another biometrics for the I-539 extension of stay? Do they need a separate biometrics for that while she had it done 2 months ago? Thank you..

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Yvette,
      Yes, they do it every time…I know people who did it after 2 weeks as they did transfer to other employer…It does not sound logical, but that is USCIS Process…You need to do it again, if you got the letter.

      1. Cristina

        Hi!
        I filled i539 to renew my L2 visa and my i94 expiration date is July 23. I don’t think I will get a response before that but I have booked a trip to my country and would be coming back after that date. Is there anything I could do? Could I do something in the us consulate in my country?
        Thanks

          1. Cristina

            Thank you very much for your response. I will give you more details:
            My husband renewed his L1 on January in the us embassy in our home country but we (me and my children) didn’t go with him that’s why we are on this process now. Now my L2 status and my work permit expire on July 23 but I don’t think I will get an answer from Uscis before that date and I need to travel abroad this summer. As I already started this process, could I go to the us embassy in my home country and renew there my L2? What would happen with my work permit application? Also, I read something about going to the Canadian border to extend my I94 with my husband’s L1? Could you please give me some advice?
            Thanks

          2. administrator
            Kumar

            Cristina,
            Yes, you can do that.
            Regarding the L2 EAD, it maybe processed as it was filed normally….having said that, there were couple of cases, where it was not processed too…
            The extending I-94 may not work for you, that is only for I-94 corrections or passport expired and renewed cases.
            Your options are to apply for Extension inside USA or get stamping outside USA.

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