How to Successfully Navigate the I-140 Immigrant Petition Process

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What is Form I-140?

Form I-140, officially known as the “Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker,” is a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) form used by employers to petition for certain foreign workers to obtain employment-based immigrant visas. The form is an essential part of the process for foreign workers seeking to become lawful permanent residents (green card holders) through employment in the United States.

Key points to understand about Form I-140 include:

  • Employer Sponsorship: Form I-140 is filed by a U.S. employer (petitioner) on behalf of a foreign worker (beneficiary) who intends to immigrate to the U.S. for employment purposes
  • Immigrant Visa Categories: Form I-140 is used for various employment-based immigrant visa categories, including the EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 categories. Each category has its own eligibility criteria and requirements.
  • Preference Categories: Employment-based immigrant visas are divided into preference categories based on the skill level of the job and the individual’s qualifications. These categories include EB-1 (priority workers), EB-2 (professionals with advanced degrees or exceptional abilities), and EB-3 (skilled workers, professionals, and other workers)
  • Green Card Process: Once the I-140 petition is approved, the beneficiary (foreign worker) becomes eligible to apply for lawful permanent residency (green card). The process of adjusting status to a green card holder is typically handled through Form I-485, “Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.”
  • Labor Certification: In some cases, the I-140 petition may require a labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor. Labor certification demonstrates that the employer has attempted to recruit U.S. workers for the position and that there are no qualified U.S. workers available to fill the role.
  • Documentation and Supporting Evidence: The petitioner (employer) must provide evidence and documentation that demonstrate the beneficiary’s qualifications, the job offer, and the employer’s ability to offer the proposed position. This may include educational certificates, work experience documentation, letters of recommendation, and more.
  • Priority Date: The filing date of the Form I-140 petition establishes the beneficiary’s priority date, which is important for tracking the beneficiary’s place in the visa queue, especially for categories with limited visa numbers.
  • Processing Times: Processing times for Form I-140 can vary based on the visa category, the USCIS service center handling the petition, and other factors. Some visa categories allow for premium processing, which expedites the processing time for an additional fee.

It’s important to note that the information provided here is a general overview, and the eligibility requirements and procedures for Form I-140 can be complex and subject to change. For accurate and up-to-date information, it’s recommended to consult the official U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website or seek guidance from an experienced immigration attorney.

How to file Form I-140?

Filing Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, involves several steps and requires careful attention to detail to ensure that the petition is properly prepared and submitted. The process may vary based on the employment-based preference category (EB-1, EB-2, EB-3) and the specific circumstances of the petitioner and beneficiary. Here is a general guide on how to file Form I-140:

1. Determine Eligibility and Category:

Identify the appropriate employment-based preference category (EB-1, EB-2, EB-3) that applies to the beneficiary’s qualifications and the job offer.

2. Obtain Labor Certification (if required):

In some cases, such as certain EB-2 and EB-3 petitions, a labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor may be required. This step involves demonstrating that there are no qualified U.S. workers available for the position.

3. Gather Documentation:

Collect all necessary documents and evidence to support the petition. This may include educational certificates, work experience letters, letters of recommendation, job offer letters, and more.

4. Complete Form I-140:

Download and complete Form I-140 from the official U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website. Ensure that all information is accurate and complete.

5. Prepare Supporting Evidence:

Organize and assemble the supporting documents and evidence that validate the beneficiary’s qualifications, the job offer, and the employer’s ability to offer the position.

6. Check Filing Fee:

Check the current filing fee for Form I-140 on the USCIS website. Make sure to include the correct payment amount with the petition.

7. Submit Form I-140:

Mail the completed Form I-140, along with all required supporting documents and the appropriate filing fee, to the USCIS service center that has jurisdiction over the petitioner’s location.

8. USCIS Processing:

Once USCIS receives the I-140 petition, they will review the petition, supporting documents, and evidence. They may issue a Request for Evidence (RFE) if additional information is needed.

9. Premium Processing (Optional):

For certain categories, premium processing is available for an additional fee. Premium processing expedites the processing time and typically results in a response within 15 calendar days.

10. USCIS Decision:

USCIS will issue a decision on the I-140 petition. If approved, the beneficiary becomes eligible for the next step in the immigration process, such as applying for a green card.

11. Priority Date:

The priority date assigned to the I-140 petition is important for tracking the beneficiary’s place in the visa queue, especially for categories with limited visa numbers.

It’s important to note that the filing process for Form I-140 can be complex, and the documentation requirements may vary based on the preference category. It’s recommended to carefully review the official USCIS instructions and guidelines for Form I-140 and consider seeking assistance from an experienced immigration attorney to ensure that the petition is prepared accurately and thoroughly.

Form I-140 checklist of required documents

The required documents and evidence to be included with Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, can vary based on the employment-based preference category (EB-1, EB-2, EB-3) and the specific circumstances of the petitioner and beneficiary. While the exact documentation may vary, here is a general checklist of commonly required documents to consider including with your Form I-140 petition:

General Documents:

Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker:

The completed and signed Form I-140.

Filing Fee:

Payment for the filing fee associated with Form I-140. Check the USCIS website for the most up-to-date fee information.

G-28 Form (if applicable):

If you have an attorney representing you, include a Form G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative.

Supporting Documents:

  • Job Offer Letter:

A letter from the U.S. employer offering the beneficiary a permanent position in the company. The letter should include details about the position, duties, qualifications, and salary.

  • Labor Certification (if applicable):

If labor certification is required for the preference category, include the approved labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor.

  • Beneficiary’s Resume/CV:

A detailed resume or curriculum vitae outlining the beneficiary’s education, work experience, and qualifications.

  • Educational Documents:

Copies of educational certificates, diplomas, degrees, and transcripts.

  • Letters of Recommendation:

Letters from colleagues, supervisors, or experts in the field, attesting to the beneficiary’s accomplishments, skills, and expertise.

  • Work Experience Letters:

Letters from previous employers detailing the beneficiary’s work history, responsibilities, and contributions.

  • Published Works (if applicable):

Copies of articles, publications, research papers, or other scholarly works authored by the beneficiary.

  • Evidence of Achievements (if applicable):

Documentation of awards, recognitions, memberships in professional organizations, and other achievements.

  • Proof of Job Offer’s Authenticity:

Documentation demonstrating the authenticity of the job offer, such as employer tax documents, business licenses, and financial statements.

  • Proof of Employer’s Ability to Pay:

Financial documents showing the employer’s ability to pay the offered salary, including tax records, financial statements, and payroll documents.

  • Photographs (if applicable):

Photographs of the work environment, products, projects, or other relevant visuals that support the petition.

  • Translation and Certification (if applicable):

If any documents are not in English, include translations accompanied by a certified translator’s affidavit.

Remember that the documentation requirements can be complex and may vary based on the specific preference category and individual circumstances. It’s recommended to carefully review the official USCIS instructions for Form I-140, consult the USCIS website for guidance, and consider seeking assistance from an experienced immigration attorney to ensure that your petition is well-prepared and meets all the requirements.