U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced the elimination of the $85 biometric services fee for all Form I-539 applications to extend/change nonimmigrant status, beginning October 1, 2023. While prior guidance temporarily suspending biometric services fees applied only to H-4, L-2, and E applicants, USCIS's elimination of biometric services fees will now extend to all I-539 applicants, including applicants in the following categories: TD, O-3, P-4, J-2, F-2, R-2, and B-1/B-2. The temporary suspension of biometric services fees for H-4, L-2, and E applicants was set to expire on September 30, 2023.
- While previously suspended only for H-4, L-2, and E applicants, biometric services fees will now be eliminated for all Form I-539 applicants, beginning October 1, 2023, including applicants in the following categories: TD, O-3, P-4, J-2, F-2, R-2, and B-1/B-2.
- A suspension of biometric services fees for H-4, L-2, and E applicants was set to expire on September 30, 2023.
On March 11, 2019, USCIS first began requiring all applicants filing Form I-539 to attend biometric services appointments as part of the application process. Due to this additional step, and COVID-19 pandemic–related USCIS office closures, unprecedented processing delays for Form I-539 applications developed.
In response to these delays and related lawsuits filed against USCIS, the agency first suspended this biometrics requirement on May 17, 2021. The agency issued an extension on April 19, 2023, allowing H-4, L-2, and E applicants to file Form I-539 without a biometric services fee.
Applicants who filed a Form I-539 prior to October 1, 2023, with the required biometric services fee are required to attend their scheduled biometrics appointment.
All I-539 applications filed on or after October 1, 2023, will not be required to pay the biometric services fee and applicants will not be scheduled for a biometric services appointment unless USCIS determines that biometrics are required. In that case, the applicant will receive a biometric services appointment notice.
The exemption of all biometric services fees is the result of an effort by the agency to promote efficiency.
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