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USCIS Makes Significant Changes to Form I-539 Beginning March 11, 2019

USCIS recently announced that beginning March 11, 2019 it will require use of a new version of Form I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, a form commonly used to extend or change the status of H-4 and L-2 dependents.  USCIS stated it will also require use of a new Form I-539A, Supplemental Information for Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status.  At present, there is no grace period for continued use of prior editions of the form, and no preview of the new version is currently available.

This revision will have the following implications:

  • Every applicant and co-applicant will be required to pay an $85 biometric service fee;

  • Every applicant and co-applicant must attend a biometric services (fingerprinting) appointment, which will be scheduled at the Application Support Center (ASC) closest to the applicant’s address; and

  • Every co-applicant must sign a separate Form I-539A.  Parents or guardians may sign on behalf of children under 14 or any co-applicant who is not mentally competent. 

This revision may significantly affect processing timelines. Although Form I-539 is not eligible for premium processing when filed individually, USCIS’ current practice is typically to approve H-4 or L-2 status at the same time as a premium processed H-1B or L-1 as a courtesy.  USCIS has not clarified how completion of biometrics will impact H-4 or L-2 processing, but it is expected that the new biometric requirement will delay the process, possibly resulting in lag time between an employee’s H-1B or L-1 approval and the H-4 or L-2 approval of dependents, particularly when premium processing is used.

After March 11, 2019, USCIS will reject the old version and any submission that does not include each applicant’s signature. 

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About this Author

Katie P. Jacob, Dinsmore, Labor Compliance Lawyer, non-immigrant filings Attorney

Katie Jacob is member of the Immigration Practice Group. She represents businesses, universities, families and individuals in a wide variety of immigration matters. Katie's experience includes handling all non-immigrant filings but not limited to H-1B, L-1, O-1, TN and E-2. She also is proficient in handling immigration filings including PERM Labor Certification (Special Handling for Colleges/Universities), National Interest Waiver Petitions, Extraordinary Ability Petitions, Outstanding Professor/Researcher Petitions, and Multi-National Manager/Executive Petitions.

(513) 977-8591
David Castillo Gocher Immigration Nationality Lawyer

David focuses his practice on business immigration and nationality law, specifically advising clients on various aspects of employment-based immigration including immigrant and non-immigrant visas. He is part of a team aiming to provide creative solutions to complex business immigration matters, including those involved during mergers, acquisitions and corporate restructuring. As a supporter of the arts, he also has an interest in obtaining O-1 and P-1 visa status on behalf of musicians, actors and large entertainment groups for touring and working in the U.S.

At Dinsmore, he is an active member of the newly created LGBTQ Affinity Group, which focuses on providing opportunities for attorneys to collaborate on efforts to support LGBTQ equality in our firm and in our communities. David is also a member of the firm's Minority Affinity Group. 

Before working at Dinsmore, David served as the managing editor for the Journal of Technology and Intellectual Property at Northwestern University, where he directed the day-to-day operations and administration of the journal and its staff. During his last semester at Northwestern, he served as a law clerk for the Legal Aid of Cincinnati focusing on immigration, housing, and family law. He also served as a judicial extern to Judge Sidney I. Schenkier in the Northern District of Illinois.

David is currently a candidate for the Doctorate of Musical Arts at the Northwestern University Bienen School of Music. 


  • Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law  (J.D., 2017)

    • Journal of Technology and Intellectual Property, managing editor

  • Boston University  (M.S.M., 2009)

  • Texas Christian University  (B.M.E., magna cum laude, 2007)

Bar Admissions

  • Ohio


  • Cincinnati Bar Association

  • American Guild of Organists

  • American Choral Directors Association