Spouses and the unmarried children of treaty investors and employees who currently legally in the United States can request a change in status to E-2 dependent status or an extension of a valid E-2 visa – by filing Form I-539. Current court cases may affect the ability to file a Form I-539. Family members of E-2 investors and employees should review these cases and their rights with experienced immigration attorneys.

When do you need to file Form I-539

Applicants who are seeking a change of nonimmigrant status or an extension of their visa must seek authorization. There are strict deadlines that must be met. There are limited circumstances where a failure to file in a timely manner can be excused.

Applicants can file for themselves, their spouse, and for unmarried children under the age of 21 all in one application – “but only if you are all now in the same status or they are all in derivative status.” Applicants must file Form I-539A for each person who seeks authorization. Fiancées’ are generally not allowed to seek nonimmigrant E-2 classification.

Extension of time/change of status requests – What documents must be submitted?

Applicants seeking a time extension or change of status to E-2 classification must complete the application, pay the filing fee, and file the documents and fee with the correct office.

The application should include the following forms in addition to the I-539 and I-539A forms:

  • Form I-94 (a front and back copy) for each applicant
  • Evidence of the relationship to the principal E nonimmigrant – such as marriage certificate and divorce papers
  • One or more of the following”
    • Form I-129
    • “A copy of the I-797 Receipt Notice related to the principal E nonimmigrant’s already pending Form I-129”
    • Other authorized documents your immigration lawyer can explain

The approval for spouses and dependents does not generally authorize the right to work in the US – just the right to live in the US.

Anyone who is required to have a valid passport to be admitted into the US must keep up the validity of that passport during their non-immigrant stay.

Additional Form I-539 requirements

USCIS provides form I-539 for free – though there is an application fee that must be paid when the form is submitted. In addition:

  • Applications must be signed by the applicants. This means Form I-539 and Form I-539A must be signed separately. “USCIS will consider a photocopied, faxed, or scanned copy of the original, handwritten signature valid for filing purposes. The photocopy, fax, or scan must be of the original document containing the handwritten, ink.”
  • The appropriate filing fee and biometric services fees must be paid when the application is filed.
  • Your immigration lawyer can explain when copies are acceptable and when translations into English are required.
  • All parts of the forms must be completed. There are typically about seven parts.

Biometric Services Appointment

“USCIS may require that you appear for an interview or provide biometrics (fingerprints, photograph, and/or signature) at any time to verify your identity, obtain additional information, and conduct background and security checks, including a check of criminal history records maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), before making a decision on your application or petition.”

USCIC will advise applicants whether a biometric services appointment is required after the application is filed. Applicants will be informed which office to go to if they are in the US or overseas. Applicants who are required to complete a biometric services appointment will need to sign oaths the that information in the application is accurate.

Contact an experienced immigration lawyer to review when you must complete an I-539 and/or I-539A form, how you should complete it, and what additional information/documentation is required.

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