U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is finalizing a plan to temporarily suspend the collection of in-person biometrics from certain Form I-539 applicants, according to an agency court filing. The change could take effect as soon as May 17.

Key Points:

  • USCIS disclosed plans for the policy in a filing in Edakunni v. Mayorkas. The agency has not yet made an official announcement, but is expected to provide official details in the coming days.
  • The suspension of the biometrics requirement would apply to H-4, L-2, E-1, E-2 and E-3 categories of Form I-539 applications that are (1) pending as of the effective date if the applicant has not yet received a biometric services appointment notice or (2) filed after the effective date.
  • Applicants who have received a biometric services appointment notice before the effective date would need to fulfill the in-person biometrics requirement.
  • USCIS will retain the right to require biometrics on a case-by-case basis.
  • The suspension is intended to automatically expire after May 17, 2023, but will be subject to revision or by the USCIS director.

BAL Analysis: The suspension will ease the Form I-539 application process and could improve overall processing times. Applicants are reminded, however, that the suspension has not yet taken effect, nor has it been detailed in a formal USCIS announcement. Applicants must attend their scheduled biometrics appointments. Even after the new policy takes effect, applicants who have already received a biometric services appointment notice will be expected to fulfill the biometrics requirement. BAL continues to monitor the situation and will provide additional information as it becomes available.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact berryapplemanleiden@bal.com.

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