New I-539 Form USCIS Info

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

In US Immigration - Visas by KumarUpdated : 199 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

   

Other Articles


Comments ( 199 )

  1. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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?

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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…

  10. 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…

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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….

  15. 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.

Leave a Comment

Comments Policy :
  • Comments are to drive conversation, add your thoughts, experiences, ask questions!
  • Do NOT write hate speech, swear words, or get into fight. Maintain etiquette
  • Enter your Name, valid Email, URL(optional - Facebook, LinkedIn profile URLs).
  • Your email will NOT be published. Do NOT post any phone numbers, email-ids
  • Do NOT post any links from other websites, unless official sites, University websites.
  • By submitting your comment, you agree to Term and Conditions of our website.