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USCIS Announces Temporary Suspension of Biometrics for Certain I-539 Applications

Our article from one week ago discussed the class action lawsuit filed in Seattle by Reddy & Neumann Senior Associate Steven Brown together with Jonathan Wasden from Wasden Banias and Jesse Bless from the American Immigration Lawyers Association on behalf of all H-4 and L-2 EAD applicants. As part of the government’s opposition to the preliminary injunction filed in that case, the government submitted a declaration from the Associate Director of the USCIS Service Center Operations Directorate identifying that the Agency will be announcing a new policy to suspend the biometrics requirement for H-4, L-2, and E nonimmigrants for 24 months starting on May 17, 2021.

As a follow up to that declaration, today USCIS officially announced its temporary suspension of biometrics requirement for certain I-539 applicants. The suspension becomes effective Monday, May 17, 2021 and will apply to applicants filing Form I-539 requesting the following:

  • Extension of stay in or change of status to H-4 nonimmigrant status;
  • Extension of stay in or change of status to L-2 nonimmigrant status;
  • Extension of stay in or change of status to E-1 nonimmigrant status;
  • Extension of stay in or change of status to E-2 nonimmigrant status (including E-2C (E-2 CNMI Investor)); or
  • Extension of stay in or change of status to E-3 nonimmigrant status (including those selecting E-3D).

The suspension will apply through May 17, 2023. The announcement also states that the biometrics suspension applies only to the above categories of I-539 applications that are either:

  • Pending as of May 17, 2021 and have not yet received a biometrics appointment notice; OR
  • New applications postmarked or submitted electronically on or after May 17, 2021.

If you have already filed your I-539 application and have received your biometrics appointment notice, USCIS has stated that you should still attend your scheduled appointment.

Further, USCIS has stated that effective May 17, 2021, I-539 applicants meeting the above criteria are no longer required to submit the $85 biometric services fee along with the application.

To read the entire USCIS alert, click here

By: Kristina M. Hernandez