On May 3, 2021, the USCIS announced that it will suspend the biometrics requirements for certain I-539 applicants for a two-year period beginning on May 17, 2021. The biometrics suspension will apply to the H-4, L-2, and E-1, E-2, and E-3 categories of Form I-539 applications if they are:
- Pending on May 17, 2021, and have not yet received a biometric services appointment notice, or
- Are new applications received by USCIS from May 17, 2021, through May 23, 2022.
USCIS will issue additional guidance soon regarding the applicability of the biometrics suspension and biometrics fee. It is expected that USCIS will not require the biometrics fee for the applicable categories during the effective period, but that USCIS will not refund any payments already made.
As such, clients may want to delay the filing of any new I-539 applications for the applicable categories (H-4, L-2, E-1-3) until on or after May 17, 2021 in order to avoid having to pay the biometrics fee.
This suspension is the result of a lawsuit filed against the USCIS challenging H-4 and L-2 adjudication delays. The hope is that suspending the biometrics requirement will improve
I-539 processing times.