• United States: New Edition of Form I-129 Mandatory Starting Thursday
  • December 22, 2010
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • Tomorrow ¿ Wednesday, December 22, 2010 is the last day that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will accept older editions of Form I-129, the nonimmigrant worker petition used for the H-1B, L-1, O-1 and several other nonimmigrant categories. Beginning Thursday, December 23, the agency will accept only the 11/23/2010 edition of the form. Employers using a previous version of the form must make sure to place their petitions into overnight express mail or courier service no later than today, so that they are received at USCIS on December 22.

    Though there have been conflicting reports concerning whether older Forms I-129 must be received or postmarked by December 22 in order to be accepted, the most prudent course of action for employers using the older forms is to make sure they are received on December 22, to minimize the risk that their petitions could be rejected and returned by the agency. This is a particularly critical concern in instances where the need to file for or obtain a benefit is time-sensitive. Receipting times vary and weeks could be lost if the wrong edition of the form is filed.

    When the new edition of Form I-129 becomes mandatory on December 23, petitioning employers will be required to answer new questions and make new certifications concerning whether the beneficiary will work offsite, whether the petition is subject to the H-1B and L-1 border security fee, and whether the employer is in compliance with H-1B program rules and export control rules. The new form also requires petitioning employers to acknowledge that USCIS can verify the information in an I-129 petition by any means the agency deems appropriate, including through visits to the worksite and use of “publicly available open source information.” Previous editions of Form I-129 did not contain these questions and certifications.

    The content herein is provided for informational purposes only. To read more Fragomen Client Alerts please visit: http://www.fragomen.com.