Understanding the Key Aspects of Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers

What is Form I-140?

Form I-140, officially titled the “Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker,” is a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) form used to initiate the process of obtaining lawful permanent residency (green card) for foreign nationals based on their employment. It is an essential component of the employment-based immigrant visa application process, and it is filed by a U.S. employer on behalf of the foreign worker.

The primary purpose of Form I-140 is to demonstrate that the foreign worker meets the eligibility criteria for the specific employment-based immigrant category they are applying under. This form is commonly used in various employment-based visa categories, including the EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 categories. Each category has specific requirements and eligibility criteria.

Key points about Form I-140 include:

  • Employer Sponsorship: Form I-140 must be filed by a U.S. employer (or a qualified self-petitioner in some cases) seeking to employ the foreign worker on a permanent basis.
  • Different Categories: The form has different sections and requirements based on the specific employment-based category under which the foreign worker is applying. For example, the requirements for an EB-1A (Extraordinary Ability) I-140 petition are different from those for an EB-2 (Advanced Degree) or EB-3 (Skilled or Professional Worker) I-140 petition.
  • Evidence and Documentation: The form must be accompanied by supporting documentation and evidence that demonstrate the foreign worker’s eligibility for the chosen employment-based category. This may include documents such as letters of recommendation, educational credentials, employment records, and other relevant materials.
  • Priority Date: The filing of Form I-140 establishes the foreign worker’s “priority date,” which is important for tracking their place in line for visa processing. Priority dates are particularly relevant in cases where the demand for visas exceeds the annual limits set by immigration quotas.
  • Premium Processing: As mentioned in a previous response, premium processing is an optional service that allows the petitioner to pay an additional fee for expedited processing. This service ensures a response from USCIS within 15 calendar days.
  • Dependents: Dependents (spouses and unmarried children under 21) of the primary beneficiary (foreign worker) of Form I-140 may be eligible to apply for derivative visas.

It’s important to note that while Form I-140 is a crucial step in the green card application process, it’s only one part of the overall process. Depending on the employment-based category and the foreign worker’s circumstances, there may be additional steps such as applying for adjustment of status or consular processing. Consulting with an immigration attorney or legal expert is advisable to ensure that all requirements are met and the application is submitted correctly.

How to fill out Form I-140?

Filling out Form I-140, the Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, can be a complex process, as the form’s requirements vary based on the specific employment-based category under which you’re applying. Below, I’ll provide a general overview of the steps involved in completing the form.

Here’s a general guide on how to fill out Form I-140:

  • Download the Form: Obtain the most recent version of Form I-140 from the USCIS website. Make sure you’re using the correct version to ensure compliance with current requirements.
  • Read the Instructions: Before you begin filling out the form, thoroughly read the accompanying instructions. The instructions will provide important guidance on how to complete each section, what evidence to include, and where to send the completed form.
  • Gather Required Documents: Depending on the employment-based category (EB-1A, EB-1B, EB-1C, etc.), you’ll need to gather the necessary supporting documents and evidence to demonstrate your eligibility. This may include letters of recommendation, educational records, employment history, and more.
  • Provide Biographic Information: The first part of the form will ask for basic biographical information, such as your name, address, date of birth, and contact information.
  • Select the Appropriate Category: Indicate the specific employment-based category (classification) under which you are filing the petition. This will determine the criteria you need to meet and the supporting evidence you need to provide.
  • Petitioner Information: Provide information about the U.S. employer or self-petitioner filing the I-140 petition.
  • Beneficiary Information: Provide information about the foreign worker for whom the petition is being filed. This includes their personal information, country of birth, and more.
  • Job Offer Details: If applicable, provide details about the job offer, such as the job title, job duties, salary, and location.
  • Qualifications and Evidence: This is a critical section where you’ll provide evidence to support the eligibility criteria of the chosen employment-based category. Attach the required documents and evidence to demonstrate the beneficiary’s qualifications.
  • Signature: Sign and date the form in the appropriate section. If the form is filed by an attorney or accredited representative, they will also need to sign and provide their information.
  • Filing Fee and Payment: Include the appropriate filing fee or evidence of fee exemption. Check the USCIS website for the current fee amount and payment instructions.
  • Mail the Form: Review the USCIS website for the correct mailing address to send your completed Form I-140, along with all required supporting documents and payment.

It’s important to exercise caution and accuracy when filling out Form I-140, as any mistakes or omissions could lead to delays or denials. If you find the form complex or if you’re unsure about any part of the process, consider seeking assistance from an immigration attorney or authorized representative. They can provide valuable guidance and ensure that your application is completed accurately and in accordance with the latest USCIS requirements.

Form I-140 government filing fees

The government filing fees for Form I-140, the Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, are as follows:

  • EB-1A (Extraordinary Ability) and EB-1B (Outstanding Professors and Researchers): $700
  • EB-1C (Multinational Managers and Executives): $700

Please note that these fees are subject to change, and it’s important to verify the current filing fees on the official U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website before submitting your application. USCIS occasionally updates its fee schedule, so make sure you are using the most up-to-date information to avoid any issues with your application.

Additionally, keep in mind that USCIS fees are separate from any legal fees you might incur if you choose to work with an immigration attorney or authorized representative to assist you with your Form I-140 submission.

Form I-140 checklist of required documents

The specific documents required for a Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, can vary based on the employment-based category (EB-1A, EB-1B, EB-1C, etc.) under which you’re applying. However, here’s a general checklist of documents commonly required for various EB-1 categories:

  • Basic Information and Supporting Documentation:
    • Copy of Form I-140 (keep a copy for your records).
    • Filing fee payment or evidence of fee exemption.
    • If applicable, a copy of the Form G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative (if represented by an attorney or representative).
  • Petitioner Information:
    • Information about the U.S. employer or self-petitioner, including contact details and Employer Identification Number (EIN).
  • Beneficiary Information:
    • Information about the foreign worker for whom the petition is being filed, including full name, date of birth, country of birth, and other biographical details.
  • Job Offer Details (if applicable):
    • Job title, job duties, location of employment, and salary information.
    • If applicable, information about the employer’s business and its relationship to the foreign worker.
  • Evidence of Qualifications (Specific to the EB-1 Category):
    • Detailed evidence demonstrating the foreign worker’s eligibility under the chosen employment-based category.

Here’s a more specific breakdown of evidence commonly required for each EB-1 category:

EB-1A (Extraordinary Ability):

  • Evidence of sustained national or international acclaim in the field, as demonstrated by meeting at least three out of ten regulatory criteria.
  • Letters of recommendation from experts in the field.
  • Evidence of major awards, prizes, or recognition.
  • Evidence of scholarly publications, media coverage, or other contributions to the field.

EB-1B (Outstanding Professors and Researchers):

  • Evidence of international recognition as an outstanding professor or researcher.
  • Documentation of at least three years of teaching or research experience.
  • Letters of recommendation from experts in the academic field.
  • Proof of a specific job offer for a permanent research or teaching position at a U.S. university or institution.

EB-1C (Multinational Managers and Executives):

  • Proof of the qualifying multinational relationship between the foreign and U.S. entities.
  • Documentation of the foreign worker’s role as a manager or executive in the foreign company.
  • Proof of the U.S. company’s substantial trade or commerce with the foreign entity.
  • Information about the foreign worker’s proposed role in the U.S. company.

It’s important to consult the most recent Form I-140 instructions provided by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to ensure you have the accurate and up-to-date information for your specific case. Additionally, consider seeking guidance from an experienced immigration attorney or authorized representative to navigate the complexities of the application process and ensure all required documents are included.

Form I-140 processing time

The processing time for Form I-140, the Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, can vary based on several factors, including the specific employment-based category (EB-1A, EB-1B, EB-1C, etc.), the USCIS Service Center processing the application, and any backlogs or changes in USCIS processing times. Below you can find the general idea of processing times, but it’s important to note that these times are subject to change and can vary over time.

Here are some key points regarding Form I-140 processing times:

  • Regular Processing: Without premium processing, Form I-140 petitions are processed in the order they are received by the USCIS Service Center. The processing times can vary significantly, and some categories may have longer processing times than others due to higher demand or other factors.
  • Premium Processing: Premium processing is an optional service that allows you to have your Form I-140 processed within 15 calendar days for an additional fee. As of my last update, the premium processing fee was $2,500. Keep in mind that while premium processing expedites the initial response, it does not guarantee approval within the 15-day timeframe.
  • USCIS Processing Times: The USCIS provides estimated processing times on their website. These times can vary based on the USCIS Service Center and the specific employment-based category. The USCIS processing time page can give you a general idea of how long you might expect to wait.
  • Priority Dates: The priority date is the date on which the USCIS receives the Form I-140 petition. Priority dates are particularly important when there are visa number limitations, as they determine your place in line for visa processing.
  • Backlogs and Delays: In some cases, certain employment-based categories may experience backlogs or delays due to high demand or other factors. This can affect processing times and the overall timeline for green card applications.

To get the most accurate and up-to-date information about Form I-140 processing times, I recommend visiting the USCIS website and specifically checking the “Check Processing Times” page for the latest estimated processing times for the specific USCIS Service Center and employment-based category. If you’re working with an immigration attorney, they can also provide insights into the current processing times and any potential issues that might affect your application timeline.

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