Ivener & Fullmer LLP

USCIS Clarifies CW-1 Extension of Stay Petitions


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on May 20, 2016, that it had received a sufficient number of petitions to reach the numerical limit (cap) of 12,999 workers who may be issued CW-1 visas or otherwise provided with CW-1 status for fiscal year (FY) 2016. May 5 was the final receipt date for CW-1 worker petitions requesting an employment start date before October 1, 2016. USCIS subsequently clarified that although extension of stay petitions for current CW-1 workers are counted toward the CW-1 cap, these petitions will be accepted under certain circumstances.

All CW-1 workers are subject to the cap unless the worker has already been counted toward the cap in the same fiscal year. The U.S. government’s fiscal year begins on October 1 and ends the following September 30.

If CW-1 workers were already counted toward the CW-1 cap for FY 2016, meaning that their previous employment start dates were on or after October 1, 2015, their employers can file a petition to change employer or extend CW-1 status in FY 2016, even though the FY 2016 CW-1 cap was reached on May 5, 2016. 

Additionally, USCIS said it is currently accepting CW-1 petitions requesting employment start dates on or after October 1, 2016, which are counted toward the FY 2017 CW-1 cap.

USCIS encourages CW-1 employers to file a petition for a CW-1 nonimmigrant worker up to 6 months in advance of the proposed employment start date, and as early as possible within that time frame. USCIS said it will reject a petition filed more than 6 months in advance.

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