USCIS Makes Significant Changes to Form I-539: US Visitor Visa Extensions May Take Longer
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has revised Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant status that will go into effect starting March 11, 2019. The USCIS has made some critical processing changes and will accept only the new version post that date. This is accompanied by a new Form I-539A, which acts a Supplemental Information for Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status and has to be submitted together with Form I-539. These are critical documents since the repercussions for overstaying your visa are detrimental to any future visits to the US.
How does the new Form I-539 affect you?
- This revised version is applicable to nonimmigrant visa holders including V nonimmigrants extending their stay in the US or changing to another nonimmigrant status as well as F and M nonimmigrants applying for reinstatement.
- Each applicant and co-applicant including minors have to fill out and submit a separate Form I-539. Parents can sign off on behalf of minors under 14 years of age.
- There is now a biometric stage before getting approved for the extension or change in status. Each applicant as well as co-applicant has to separately pay the $85 biometric fees.
- The fee now is $370 for the Form plus the $85 for biometrics.
- This is followed by the issuance of an individual receipt number and a biometric services appointment notice.
- Every applicant including minors will be called in for fingerprinting. This will be scheduled at the closest Application Support Center (ASC).
- This is bound to influence the processing timelines for all categories eligible to apply for an extension or change their nonimmigrant status.
- Given that many dependents like H4 petitioners and their renewals are eligible for premium processing, this additional requirement may delay the process further for H4 spousal visas, students and visiting parents and relatives.
- Post March 11, 2019 USCIS will reject the use of older versions of the Form as well any submission that doesn’t have all the required signatures (including minor’s) and applicable fees.
For more information on how to extend your US visitor visa see when and how to apply for a visa extension.