USCIS has prolonged the temporary suspension of the biometrics submission requirement for certain applicants filing Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. This pertains to individuals requesting an extension of stay in or a change of status to H-4, L-2, or E nonimmigrant status. The initial suspension, initially set until May 17, 2023, has now been extended through September 30, 2023.
Adjudications for applicants in these specific categories will proceed based on biographic information and related background checks, eliminating the need for fingerprints and a photograph. USCIS retains the discretion, on a case-by-case basis, to request biometrics for any applicant, with the possibility of scheduling an application support center appointment for biometric submission.
Applicants meeting the criteria for the biometrics suspension are reminded not to submit the $85 biometric services fee for Form I-539 during this suspension period. USCIS will refund any separately submitted biometric services fees and reject paper Form I-539 applications that include both the filing fee and the $85 biometrics services fee. In the event of rejection due to the inclusion of the biometrics service fee, applicants must re-file Form I-539 without the biometric services fee.
As outlined in the USCIS Fiscal Year 2022 Progress Report (PDF, 1.08 MB), plans are underway to establish a permanent biometrics exemption for all Form I-539 applicants in the coming months. Additional details on the temporary suspension can be found in the 2021 announcement.