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This article was prepared with the assistance of ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, of which Loan Huynh, Fredrikson Immigration Department Chair, is a member.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on September 25, 2023, that it is exempting the biometric services fee for Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. Beginning October 1, 2023, applicants do not need to pay the $85 biometric services fee.

Certain filers who filed before October 1 will still be scheduled for, and should attend, an ASC appointment. In most cases, after October 1, applicants will not be scheduled to attend a biometric services appointment. However, if USCIS determines that biometrics are required, the applicant will receive a notice with information about appearing for their biometric services appointment, the agency noted.

USCIS warned:

If you mistakenly submit the biometric services fee and the payment is submitted separately from the Form I-539 fee, we will return the biometric services fee and accept the Form I-539. If you mistakenly submit the biometric services fee and the payment is combined with a paper-based Form I-539 filing fee, this is considered an incorrect filing and we will reject the Form I-539. If you mistakenly authorize a credit card payment that combines the biometric services fee with the Form I-539 application fee, we will accept the application, and only charge the application fee.

USCIS said the biometric services fee exemption will apply to all applicants filing on or after October 1, 2023, including those applicants filing Form I-539 requesting an extension of stay in, or change of status to, H-4, L-2 or E nonimmigrant for whom USCIS had previously suspended the biometrics requirement through September 30, 2023.

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