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Immigration Bulletin – USCIS to Publish a Revised Form I-539 and New Form I-539A Requiring Additional Action and Fees from Applicants

FEBRUARY 13, 2019 BULLETIN TO ALL IMMIGRATION CLIENTS

On February 11, 2019, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) announced that, on March 11, 2019, the agency will publish a revised Form I-539 and a new Form I-539A. Effective March 11, 2019, i.e., the same day that the revised Form is released, USCIS will accept only the new version of the Forms (with an edition date of 02/04/2019). Submissions containing any other versions of the Forms will be rejected.

Form I-539 is used by individuals across all nonimmigrant visa categories to change or extend their current nonimmigrant status. Form I-539A is a supplemental form that is used to include any dependent family members (typically children) as part of the principal I-539 application. The current version of Form I-539 requires only the signature of the principal applicant and allows all co-applicants (e.g., dependent children) to share a Form I-539A. The current application fee is $370 for Form I-539, with no additional fees for Form I-539A.

The revised version of Form I-539 will contain significant changes in that every co-applicant will be required to submit and sign their own separate Form I-539A. Parents or guardians will be permitted to sign Form I-539A on behalf of children under 14.

Additionally, and as of March 11, 2019, all applicants (principal applicants and co-applicants) will be required to pay a fee of $85 for biometric services and must also appear at a USCIS Application Support Center (ASC) to attend a biometric services appointment (to submit photographs and fingerprints) regardless of age. Upon submission of Form I-539 (and I-539A), all applicants will receive an individual notice scheduling their respective biometric services appointments. In the event that a co-applicant wishes to attend a biometric services appointment at a location other than the ASC closest to the primary applicant’s residential address, the co-applicant must file his/her own Form I-539.

We will work with all clients and applicants to ensure that, as of March 11, 2019, the revised Form is submitted to USCIS and that all applicants provide the appropriate information/fees for their dependent family members/co-applicants.

Additionally, and with the Fiscal Year 2020 H-1B Cap season upon us, we anticipate that several H-1B applicants will require the new Form I-539 and I-539A. An application must be accepted and entered into the system before an ASC appointment can be scheduled. Therefore, and in the event that an H-1B Cap petition containing the revised Form I-539 is not selected in the lottery, the applicants (and co-applicants) will not be required to appear for a biometric services appointment and all applicable fees will be returned.

Please contact any member of the Cohen & Grigsby Immigration Department if you have any questions regarding the above at 412.297.4900. To receive future bulletins and news alerts, please send an e-mail to bulletins@cohenlaw.com.

Copyright © 2019 by Cohen & Grigsby, P.C. (No claim to original U.S. Governmental material.)

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