I-539 Online Filing Limited to USCIS ELIS from March 2013

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) plans to discontinue the availability of the Legacy INS online filing option for the application to extend / change nonimmigrant status (form I-539). This change will be effective as of February 28, 2013. Those who wish to file the I-539 online will be limited to utilizing the USCIS Electronic Immigration System (USCIS ELIS) from March 1, 2013 onwards.

Old and New Online Filing Systems

The USCIS allows for eFiling of a number of commonly used immigration forms. The eligible forms and instructions are available on the USCIS WebSite.

The older eFiling system predates the USCIS ELIS system. USCIS ELIS is part of the USCIS transformation efforts. Some of the problems encountered with this transformation are described for MurthyDotCom readers in our NewsBrief, USCIS Challenges with Transformation (08.Jan.2013).

USCIS ELIS System Must be Used from March 1, 2013

Until February 28, 2013, it is possible to file the I-539 online through the older Legacy INS system as well as, in limited circumstances, under the newer USCIS ELIS system. The USCIS is consolidating these procedures and limiting online I-539s to the USCIS ELIS system from March 1, 2013 onwards.

Paper Filings Still Available: Required for Many

While USCIS ELIS is available as an option for online filing for some I-539s, it is not mandatory. Those who prefer to utilize paper filings may continue to do so. In fact, as of this writing, USCIS ELIS is only available to limited categories of I-539 requests. The instructions, including eligible categories, are set out on the USCIS WebSite.


Until the capabilities of USCIS ELIS expand into a broader range of I-539 filings, this change will require more paper filings. Those who need to request changes or extensions of status using the I-539 form should carefully check current procedures well in advance of the need to file. The Murthy Law Firm is available to assist with a wide variety of status change and extension requests. Anyone with questions is welcome to set up a consultation with one of our experienced and knowledgeable attorneys. Use the red Contact tab on the right side of MurthyDotCom.

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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.