Ivener & Fullmer LLP

USCIS Will Accept CW-1 Petitions Beginning April 3


On April 3, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting CW-1 petitions subject to the fiscal year 2018 cap. Employers in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) use the CW-1 program to employ foreign workers who are otherwise ineligible to work under other nonimmigrant worker categories. The cap for CW-1 visas for FY 2018 has not been set, but it must be less than the FY 2017 cap, which is currently set at 12,998.

For the FY 2018 cap, an extension petition may request a start date of October 1, 2017, even if that worker’s current status will not expire by that date. USCIS said it encourages employers to file a petition for a CW-1 nonimmigrant worker up to 6 months in advance of the proposed start date of employment and as early as possible within that time frame. The agency will reject a petition if it is filed more than 6 months in advance.

USCIS reminds employers to submit all required documentation, including evidence that the job vacancy announcement was posted on the Department of Labor website.

USCIS also reminds employers that the new base filing fee for a CW-1 petition is $460. A petitioning CNMI employer must also pay the required education fee ($150 per year) for each requested CW-1 worker. A biometric service fee of $85 per beneficiary is also required if the beneficiary is present in the CNMI when filing for an initial grant of CW-1 status.

Employers must submit the latest version of Form I-129CW, which has an edition date of 12/23/16. 

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