U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has confirmed that the $85 biometric services fee will not be required for Form I-539 applications to change or extend nonimmigrant status filed on or after October 1, 2023.
In April of this year, USCIS announced that it was extending the temporary suspension of the biometrics submission requirement for I-539 applications filed to request an extension of stay in H-4, L-2, or E status or a change of status to one of these categories until September 30. USCIS also announced its intention to eliminate the biometrics submission requirement for all I-539 applications.
Starting on October 1, 2023, the $85 biometric services fee need not be paid for any I-539 application, regardless of the nonimmigrant status sought. If an I-539 application is filed before this date, the applicant will be scheduled for an appointment at an ASC and must attend that appointment. Despite the elimination of the biometrics fee, it is possible that USCIS may still decide that an applicant’s biometrics should be taken; in that case, the applicant will be contacted and asked to appear for an appointment.
All I-539 applications must still include the $370 filing fee. If the $85 biometrics fee is inadvertently included in a filing, the USCIS will return the $85 fee, provided that it was submitted in a separate check payment from the $370 payment, and will accept the Form I-539 for processing. If the $370 and $85 payments are combined in a single check payment, USCIS will not accept the Form I-539 and will reject it. If the payment is made by a credit card payment that combined the $85 fee with the $370 fee, USCIS will accept the I-539 application and only charge the $370 fee.
The elimination of the $85 biometrics fee is a welcome development and effectively ends the biometrics requirement for all I-539 applicants, including those seeking an extension of, or change of status to, H-4, L-2, and E status.