Status Inquiry on Delayed I-129s After 210 Days23 May 2016
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a new system for employers to follow up on long-delayed nonimmigrant worker petitions (form I-129). This option applies when an employer’s I-129 has been in pending status for 210 days or more.
Background: Form I-129 for Nonimmigrant Cases
The form I-129 is a commonly used immigration form, required in a wide range of employment-based nonimmigrant case types. These include: H1B, H-2, H-3, L-1, P, Q, and R classifications. It is also sometimes used for E, TN, and H1B1 cases.
Inquiry to National Customer Service Center
As of April 21, 2016, employers who are experiencing I-129 processing delays of 210 days or longer may inquire about the case via the USCIS National Customer Service Center (1.800.375.5283). Upon calling, employers should specify that their respective cases have been pending the requisite 210 days or more.
Employment Authorization Terminates After 240 Days
One possible reason for the timeframe of 210 days may have to do with the fact that, for some nonimmigrants, like those in H1B status, employment authorization based on the timely filing of an I-129 requesting an extension of status with the same employer, terminates 240 days after the beneficiary’s existing I-94 expires. Hence, by notifying the USCIS about a month in advance, the USCIS examiners hopefully will be able to make a decision before the 240-day mark has passed.
While premium processing is an option in some case types, stakeholders should not be forced to pay the premium-processing fee of $1,225 simply to have a case adjudicated within a reasonable period. Slow processing times create an array of problems. Allowing inquiries universally on I-129 filings after 210 days may provide a bit of relief, assuming the USCIS then is able to quickly complete the adjudication of such cases.
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