The USCIS has announced that they will be exempting, or removing, the $85 biometrics fee previously required for all applicants filing a Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. This form is used when an applicant seeks to either extend their nonimmigrant status in the United States or change their nonimmigrant status to another status.
When Does the Biometrics Fee Exemption Change Take Effect?
This fee exemption will take effect beginning on October 1, 2023, meaning that the $85 biometric fee will no longer be a part of the application process for Form I-539 for applications postmarked October 1, 2023, or later. If you are submitting your application on or after October 1, 2023, you do not have to pay the $85 biometrics fee.
What If I Already Have a Biometrics Appointment Scheduled?
If you have filed your Form I-539 before October 1, 2023, you will likely have a scheduled USCIS Application Support Center appointment already, and you should still attend that appointment. However, most applicants after the first of October will not be scheduled to attend a biometric services appointment unless the USCIS determines that biometrics are required for your specific application. If this is the case, you’ll receive a notice from USCIS with information about appearing for your biometrics appointment.
What Happens If I Accidently Pay a Biometrics Fee?
If you accidentally pay a biometrics fee separately from your Form I-539, the USCIS will accept your form and return your fee.
If you submit your biometrics fee and your Form I-539 together, this will be considered an incorrect filing by the USCIS and your form will be rejected.
If you authorize both the biometrics fee and your application fee through a credit card payment, your application will still be accepted and only the application fee will be charged to your credit card.
In the USCIS Fiscal Year 2022 Progress Report, one of the new commitments for fiscal year 2023 included in the report was the removal of the requirement to submit biometrics for applicants who were submitting a Form I-539 for change and extension of nonimmigrant status. This makes the changing or extending of a nonimmigrant status easier and less expensive.