USCIS is finalizing a policy that will temporarily suspend the Trump-era biometrics requirements for individuals filing Form I-539 to request an extension of stay in or change of status to H-4, L-2, and E-1, E-2, and E-3 nonimmigrants. This policy change is intended to address the extended processing time due to limited agency capacity and the resulting significant backlog and hardship for applicants.
Expected to begin on May 17, 2021, the new policy will suspend biometrics requirements for 24 months until May 17, 2023. At that time, the policy will be subject to extension or revocation by the USCIS Director.
The suspension will pertain to new applications filed after the effective date and pending applications that have not received a biometric services appointment notice. USCIS projects there will be approximately 125,000 pending I-539s for H-4 and L-2 categories on May 17, 2021.
The policy change was announced in a declaration submitted on Monday in Edakunni, et al. v. Mayorkas. According to the suit, more than 91,000 people lost their jobs while waiting for a work permit extension.
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