The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) allows for electronic filing of certain applications for immigration benefits, including certain Forms I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. The agency claims that this will get your application into their processing queue faster than mail delivery. Given the significant case backlog, any changes that lead to faster processing are welcome.
Does this apply to all I-539 applications?
No. You can utilize online I-539 filing option only if you are looking to extend your status or change your nonimmigrant status to the following categories (B-1/B-2, H-4, E dependent spouse, TD, J-1, J-2. L-3, K-4, L-2, M-1, M-2, N-8, N-9, O-3, P-4, R-2, CW-2 (dependent), and so long as you will not be represented by an attorney. You will first need to create a USCIS account and follow the instructions on the website.
Will I receive mal notices from USCIS, if I filed online?
You will receive the digital case receipt notice as soon as your application is submitted online, and USCIS will mail you the notice. However, the USCIS will not mail paper biometric services appointment notices for electronically filed Forms I-539s. Rather, you will need to look for your appointment notice in your USCIS online account under “Documents” once your appointment is scheduled.
So it is very important that you check your online account regularly to ensure that you do not miss important communications from USCIS. We recommend that you sign up for notifications via your online account, so that you receive an alert each time your case is updated.
Will I still need to bring a paper notice to my biometrics appointment?
Yes, you will be required to bring a printed copy of your appointment to the Application Support Center appointment.
What if I need to reschedule my biometrics appointment?
To reschedule, you will need to call the USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283 (TTY 800-767- 1833) before your appointment date and time, and show a good cause for the rescheduling request.
What if I miss my appointment?
Importantly, if you do not appear for your appointment and the appointment is not rescheduled, USCIS will consider your Form I-539 abandoned and may deny it.
If you have any questions about the online filing, or about applying for change/ extension of your nonimmigrant status, or other immigration benefits applications, our LAC immigration attorneys would be happy to assist you.
Written by Teodora D Purcell, Partner