USCIS Temporarily Suspends Biometrics Requirement for Certain I-539 Applicants

On May 17, 2021, USCIS announced that they will temporarily suspend the biometrics requirement for specific groups of applicants wishing to extend or change their nonimmigrant status. Applicants of I-539 who wish to extend their stay or change their status to H-4, L-2, E-1, E-2, or E-3 status will not be required to provide biometrics. Instead, those applications will be adjudicated through biographical information and related background checks. This will only be applicable to applications that are pending as of May 17, 2021 or new applications submitted on and after May 17, 2021.

USCIS, however, does retain the right to require biometrics on a case by case basis if they feel the need to. Because biometrics will no longer be required for select groups, those applicants will also not be required to submit the $85 biometric service fee.USCIS will return the $85 biometrics fee if submitted separately. However, if the biometrics fee is filed with paper Form I-539, the application will be rejected. USCIS will offer a grace period. Applicants, whose application is postmarked May 27th, 2021 or later, will have their application rejected if they include the biometrics fee, and will need to refile without the fee included. The removal of the biometrics requirement is anticipated to last 24 months.

The change was implemented to prevent in-person scheduling appointments due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Although immigration offices have reopened to the public, they are still not operating at full capacity. The initial closing of these offices has created a backlog of biometric appointments at these offices. To increase safety efforts and to more efficiently adjudicate certain applications, DHS has suspended the biometric requirement for those listed above.

Here at Zhang and Associates, we have successfully represented thousands of non-immigrant and immigrant visas cases. We also understand that during this hectic time, your immigration needs are extremely important. If your needs are neglected, there can be very serious consequences that might disrupt your life. We also understand the importance of keeping up with the latest immigration news and law. If you have any questions or concerns regarding any immigration related issue, our seasoned staff will be happy to help. For a free evaluation on your case or situation, please email us at

Former U.S. Consular officer and
Visa Officer , Attorney Sechyi Laiu joined Zhang & Associates, P.C. on June 26, 2017

At Zhang & Associates, P.C., Attorney Laiu specializes on Consular Processing cases and business development. Attorney Laiu also focuses on TN visas, E visas, CBP administrative proceedings (monetary confiscation, deferred inspection), and overseas financial compliance.

Prior to joining Zhang & Associates, P.C., Attorney Laiu worked for the U.S. Department of State as a Chinese and Portuguese speaking diplomat. As a consular-coned officer who served in Vancouver (Canada), Shenyang (P.R. China), and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Attorney Laiu processed over 30,000 visa cases and worked in every section of Consular Affairs overseas (Fraud Prevention Unit, Immigrant Visas, Non-Immigrant Visas, and American Citizen Services).

He uses his experience and expertise to deliver the highest quality of service to our clients.

Founded in 1996, Zhang & Associates, P.C. offers legal services to clients worldwide in all aspects of U.S immigration law. We have successfully handled over ten thousand immigration cases.

At Zhang & Associates, P.C., our attorneys and supporting professionals are committed to providing high-quality immigration and non-immigration visa services. We specialize in NIW, EB-1, PERM, I-485 I-130, H-1B, O, L and J cases. In the past over twenty years, we have successfully helped over ten thousand clients get green cards. If you plan to apply for a green card, please send your CV to Attorney Jerry Zhang ( for a free evaluation.

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