What is the Form I-129?
The Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, is a form that is used for multiple purposes regarding nonimmigrant workers:
- Petitioning for a nonimmigrant worker in certain categories;
- Requesting an extension of stay in certain nonimmigrant categories; and
- Requesting a change of status to certain nonimmigrant categories.
It is important to note that the Form I-129 is filed by the petitioner. In certain cases, an agent may file the Form I-129 on behalf of the petitioner. The filing fee for the Form I-129 is $325 as of September 4, 2016.
The Form I-129 is used to petition for a nonimmigrant worker in the following nonimmigrant worker categories:
- L1 (L1A and L1B)
The Form I-129 is also used to petition for an extension of stay in nonimmigrant status in any of the above nonimmigrant categories and for a change to any of the above statuses for an alien who is in the United States and maintaining a lawful status. In addition to the foregoing nonimmigrant categories, the Form I-129 is used to petition for a an extension of stay in or change of status to one of the following nonimmigrant categories (but not for an initial grant of status for an alien who is not in the United States maintaining a lawful status):
In certain cases where there is a substantial change in the beneficiary’s employment, the petitioner will be required to file an amended Form I-129 for approval for the new employment situation. The circumstances in which an amended Form I-129 may be required will depend on the facts of the specific situation and the nonimmigrant worker category in question.
A petitioner for an L1 nonimmigrant intracompany transferee under an approved L1 blanket petition (executives, managers, and specialized knowledge professionals) must file a Form I-129S, Nonimmigrant Petition Based on Blanket L Petition, on behalf of the beneficiary. If the petitioner is not seeking to confer status based on an approved L1 blanket petition, he or she must use the regular Form I-129.
As of September 4, 2016, the current edition of the Form I-129 is dated 08/13/15. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services USCIS) is still accepting the versions of the Form I-129 dated 03/26/15 and 10/23/14. No other editions will be accepted.
The current edition of the Form I-129 is dated 06/02/16. The USCIS will not accept any other edition of the Form I-129S.
The USCIS makes it a point of emphasis to remind petitioners to sign the Form I-129 or Form I-129S where indicated. If the Form I-129 or Form I-129S is not signed, the petition will not be adjudicated.
The Form I-129 is an important form in the nonimmigrant worker context, as it is used to petition for nonimmigrant workers in a large number of nonimmigrant work visa categories. Furthermore, the Form I-129 is used in these categories (and a few additional categories) for amended petitions, extension of stay petitions, and change of status petitions. Because of this, the evidence required for a Form I-129 petition will vary widely depending on the nonimmigrant visa sought. For example, the evidentiary and documentary requirements for a petition for the O1 category (Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement) will differ greatly from a petition in the H3 category (nonimmigrant trainee or special education exchange visitor). An employer must carefully consult the Form I-129 instructions, which can be found on the USCIS website on the same page as the Form I-129 itself, to understand the documentary requirements for his or her petition.
Persons or entities seeking to petition for nonimmigrant workers are well advised to consult with an experienced immigration attorney for assistance in determining which nonimmigrant work visa category best suits his or her situation, and for guidance on properly completing the Form I-129 and all other requirements for an approvable application.