Delays in Issuance of I-129 Receipt Notices01 Jun 2012
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has confirmed at the end of May 2012, that delays are being experienced in the issuance of receipt notices for Form I-129. The I-129 is used for many employment-based, nonimmigrant categories, including H1B petitions.
Increased H1B Cap Filings
The USCIS has attributed the delay in issuance of receipt notices to the high volume of recent I-129 filings. As our regular readers are aware, H1B cap filings began on April 2nd for fiscal year (FY) 2013, and the initial filings and continuing rate of filings have been much greater than in recent years. Readers were alerted to this development in our NewsBrief, H1B Usage During First Three Weeks of FY13 Cap Season (27.Apr.2012). The updated usage of cap numbers is available via a link from the H1B page on the new MurthyDotCom.
Timeframes – 30 to 60 Days for Receipt Notices
The USCIS has advised that receipt notices have been delayed by approximately two to four weeks. This delay is in addition to the standard 30-day timeframe. Thus, in some cases, it may take as much as 60 days to receive the I-129 receipt notice. In our experience, the period for receipt of the notices has varied. While some are issued within the normal timeframes, we continue to await others. Premium processing cases are processed in the promised expedited fashion and the receipt is issued promptly.
Information from Checks
Employers who are concerned about their recent H1B filings may wish to review their bank accounts to verify that checks have cleared. Generally, the receipt number appears on the back of the filing fee check and is available to those who use online banking.
Delay in Receipt Notices Potentially Problematic
Delays in receipt notice issuance can cause complications for those who, in certain situations, need their H1B receipt notices as proof of maintenance of status or employment eligibility. One example of potential problems caused by a delay is when receipt notices are required as proof of employment eligibility to extend H1B status with one’s employer. Those in H1B status also need receipt notices when changing to new employers based on their having filed H1B petitions. Another example of potential problems resulting from the receipt notice delays is with F-1 students in Optional Practical Training (OPT). Students in OPT often need the H1B receipt notice to enjoy the benefits of “cap gap” relief. Under cap gap, such students are often eligible to continue working after the expiration of OPT, based upon the filing of H1B petitions requesting change of status to H1B on October 1st.
The USCIS classified this delay in the issuance of the I-129 receipt notices as being temporary and suggested contacting the Service Center if no notification of receipt is received after 60 days of filing. For many, that sixty-day timeframe is June 1, 2012 or shortly thereafter. We at the Murthy Law Firm will advise our readers of any updates regarding I-129 receipt delays, as information is made available.
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