The USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) has extended the temporary suspension of the biometrics submission requirement for certain derivate applicants seeking L-2, E or H-4 extension of stay or change of status. Such applicants will generally will have to file Form I-539. The prior suspension was to be in effect until May 17, 2023 and has now been extended through September 30, 2023.
While the suspension is in effect, such derivative applicants will not be required by the USCIS to visit a facility for the collection of their biometric data. The agency, however reserves the right to require biometrics on a case-by-case basis. Extension of stay and/or change of status I-539 applicants who have already received a biometric appointment notice should attend their scheduled appointment and provide their biometrics at the designated support center. Often times, failure to attend a I-539 biometrics appointment can result in the application being deemed abandoned, which could have unintended adverse ramifications.
In their announcement, USCIS also confirmed that its plans to permanently exempt I-539 applicants from the biometric requirement. The suspension should likely help ease up processing times and backlogs.
This article has been written by Zeenat Phophalia, Esq. Of Counsel, Davies & Associates, India Office.
Zeenat Phophalia is qualified to practice law in New York, United Kingdom and India. She practices in the area of U.S. immigration law with a focus on business immigration, and has represented corporate clients including large and medium sized companies and startups across sectors such as IT, consulting, consumer goods, manufacturing and telecommunications.