USCIS to Release New Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that as of March 11, USCIS will only accept revised Form I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. USCIS has indicated that the revised form will be available on March 11, 2019.


Form I-539 is used to change or extend status for certain nonimmigrant visa holders including H-4 and L-2 dependents of H-1B and L-1 nonimmigrant workers.


The revised Form I-539 includes the following significant changes:


  • Each applicant and co-applicant regardless of age must pay an $85 biometric services fee and appear in person at the designated Application Support Center (ASC). USCIS will issue biometric appointment notices for a specific date and time directing the applicants to the appropriate ASC.
  • Each co-applicant included on the primary applicant’s Form I-539 must now submit and sign a separate Form I-539A. Parents or guardians may sign on behalf of children under 14 or any co-applicant who is not mentally competent to sign.

Any Form I-539 applications that are filed with 2019 cap H-1B petitions must be the revised version of the form. Given the short window between the release date and the filing of cap H-1B petitions, dependent status holders should be prepared to review and sign the form as soon as possible after the new version is released. Advocates in the immigration community have requested USCIS to grant a grace period during which the older, current version of the Form I-539 would be accepted. Chin & Curtis will keep you updated if USCIS grants a grace period.


We expect that the new biometrics requirement and associated background checks will likely result in longer processing times at USCIS for Form I-539 and associated Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization.  


If you have any questions about this news update, please do not hesitate to contact your Chin & Curtis attorney.