U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on April 19, 2023, that it has extended through September 30, 2023, the temporary suspension of the biometrics submission requirement for certain applicants filing Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, requesting an extension of stay in or change of status to H-4, L-2, or E nonimmigrant status. The previously announced suspension was in place until May 17, 2023.

USCIS said it will allow adjudications for the specified categories to proceed based on biographic information and related background checks, without capturing fingerprints and a photograph. However, the agency said it retains discretion, on a case-by-case basis, to require biometrics for any applicant.

Form I-539 applicants meeting the biometrics suspension criteria are not required to submit the $85 biometric services fee for Form I-539 during the suspension period. USCIS will return a biometric services fee if submitted separately from the base fee but will reject paper Form I-539 applications if the applicant meets the above criteria and submits a single payment covering both the filing fee and the $85 biometrics services fee. 

USCIS said it plans to establish a permanent biometrics exemption for all Form I-539 applicants in the coming months. 

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