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The complete guide to Form I-140: the Immigrant Worker Petition

Are you a U.S. employer hoping to hire a worker from overseas? As part of the process, you’ll have to complete Form I-140. Below, we explain everything you need to know about the Immigrant Worker Petition.

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Are you a U.S. employer hoping to hire a worker from overseas? As part of the process, you’ll have to complete Form I-140. Below, we explain everything you need to know about the Immigrant Worker Petition.  

What is Form I-140?

Form I-140, the Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, is a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) form. Generally,  U.S. employers complete this form when they wish to petition for a foreign employee to work in the United States permanently. 

In order for employers to file this petition, the prospective foreign national employee must be considered “extraordinary.” An employer can also file this petition when there aren’t any qualified American employees for a particular position.

The employer who files form I-140 is referred to as the “petitioner” and the foreign national employee is referred to as the “beneficiary.” In some cases, highly qualified alien workers can self-petition Form I-140; in this case, the alien worker is considered both the petitioner and the beneficiary.

What are the eligibility requirements for Form I-140?

In order for a petitioner to file Form I-140, the beneficiary must meet one of the following visa requirements:

EB-1:

A foreigner possessing extraordinary ability, an outstanding professor or researcher or a multinational executive or manager.

EB-2:

A professional in the field of work that the foreign national will be employed for and who holds an advanced degree or a bachelor’s degree. The beneficiary must have a minimum of 5 years of experience working in the field after acquiring a bachelor’s degree or must be a foreign national who has exceptional ability.

EB-3:

A professional who either:

  • Has a minimum of a U.S. bachelor’s degree or the foreign equivalent of a bachelor’s degree

  • Is a skilled worker with a minimum of 2 years of specialized training or experience

  • Is an alien applying for a National Interest Waiver, who works in the profession and holds an advanced degree or who is considered an alien of exceptional ability

What evidence must be submitted with Form I-140?

Form I-140 must be accompanied by supporting evidence. The evidence required depends on the type of foreign national employee being sponsored and includes both initial evidence and general evidence.

Initial evidence

  • Labor certification.

    In many instances, a labor certificate must be included as a form of initial evidence. For example, it must be included for foreign workers who are in an E21, E3-1, E3-2 and EW3 visa category. In this case, the foreign worker’s labor certification must be submitted with Form I-140 during the 180-day validity period. If a labor certification is not submitted, Form I-140 will be rejected unless the petitioner establishes that they are filing the form under an exception.

  • Proof of extraordinary ability.

    For a visa category that doesn’t require a labor certification, the petitioner must submit proof of the exceptional ability of the alien worker. Examples of proof of extraordinary ability include an award that the employee received for their work in the field or a publication that highlights the foeign employee’s extraordinary ability.

For petitions requiring a labor certification, the certification must be filed with and approved by the U.S. Department of Labor prior to the submission of Form I-140.

General evidence

In addition to the initial evidence, Form I-140 must also be accompanied by general evidence. This includes:

  • Employer’s financial information

  • Proof of the education and work experience of the employer

  • Proof that the employer can pay the wage that the alien worker has been offered

A foreign alien can self-petition Form I-140 if they have an EB1-A (alien of extraordinary ability) or an EB-2 (national interest waiver) visa category.

How to complete Form I-140

To obtain Form I-140, visit the USCIS website  where you can download and print a copy of the form. Note that using the latest version of Adobe Reader is recommended to download the form.

If you cannot access the internet, you can obtain a form by contacting the USCIS National Customer Service Center and asking for a form to be sent directly to you. Their phone number is 1-800-975-5283.

General instructions for completing Form I-140

  • The form can be completed by hand using black ink. Alternatively, answers can be printed in black ink.

  • Photocopied, faxed or scanned copies of original, handwritten signatures will be accepted.

  • All evidence must be submitted with the completed Form I-140.

  • You may be required to attend and complete a biometric services appointment to confirm your identity, during which a photograph, fingerprints and/or a signature will be collected.

  • You may be required to attend an interview with a USCIS officer, during which additional information related to your background may be collected.

  • Unless original documents are requested, you should only submit photocopies of the necessary documents. If original documents are requested, they will be returned to you. Note that if original documents are not requested and you send them in, USCIS may destroy them.

  • Documents written in a foreign language must be accompanied by a complete and accurate English translation. The individual who translated the document must sign the document to confirm the accuracy of the translation. As per the Department of Homeland Security, the translator should include their printed name, signature, signature date and contact information.

  • All questions should be answered completely and accurately. If you need more space, you can use Part 11 (Additional Information) or you can attach a separate piece of paper with your name and Alien Registration Number (if applicable) and the page number, part number and item number that the answer is related to at the top of the sheet. The sheet should also be signed and dated.

  • If a question does not apply to you, an answer of ‘not applicable’ or ‘N/A’ will suffice.

  • For questions that require numeric responses and your answer is zero, enter the word “none,” unless you are directed to do otherwise.

Understanding industry and occupation codes

You may be required to provide industry and occupation codes. Below, you will find information on how you can obtain specific codes:

  • North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Code.

    ANAICS code can be obtained from the U.S. Department of Commerce U.S. Census Bureau. For codes that are less than six digits, begin typing the code to the left of the spaces provided and add in zeros in any remaining spaces.

  • Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) System Code.

    A SOC code can be obtained from the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. Begin typing the code you received to the left of the space provided on the application. Enter zeros in any remaining boxes after all digits provided in the code have been entered.

Including information on the petitioner or authorized signatory

When answering the section requesting information on the petitioner or authorized signatory, choose the box that properly indicates whether you have read the petition on your own or if you had an interpreter help you.

Either you or an authorized signatory are also required to sign and date the form. The full name, title, daytime phone number, mobile number (if applicable) and email address (if applicable) of the signatory must be provided.

All petitions must be signed by the petitioner or the authorized signatory. Note that only handwritten signatures will be accepted. Typed or stamped signatures will not be accepted.

Interpreter’s information

If someone interpreted the instructions and questions on From I-140 for you, that person is required to complete the interpreter’s information section. Here, the interpreter must provide their name, address of their place of business, daytime telephone number, mobile phone number and email address, if applicable.

Additionally, the interpreter is required to sign and date the form. Only handwritten signatures will be accepted; typewritten or stamped signatures will not be accepted.

Contact Information, Declaration, and Signature of Petitioner

The petitioner must provide their contact information, declaration and signature on Form I-140. If someone other than the petitioner completed the form, he or she must provide their contact information, declaration and signature.

Only a handwritten signature will be accepted; a typewritten or stamped signature are typically rejected. Should the person who completed the petition be an immigration attorney or an accredited representative, that person may need to complete and file a Form G-28 (Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney) or Form G-281 (Notice of Entry Appearance as Attorney in Matters Outside Geographical Confines of the United States).

Is there a Filing Fee for Form I-140?

Yes. There is a filing fee of $700, which must be submitted with the petition and the supporting documentation. Otherwise, the petition will be rejected. The filing fee is non-refundable.

The filing fee should not be paid in cash, but rather with a check or money order. The check or money order should be made payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. This should be spelled out; abbreviations such as USDHS or DHS will not be accepted.

Where to file Form I-140

The filing address for Form I-140 depends on whether you will be filing the petition by itself or with another USCIS form.

Only filing Form I-140 If you are only filing Form I-140, you can file it using one of the following addresses: US Postal Service (USPS): USCIS Attn: I-140 P.O. Box 660128 Dallas, Texas 75266 FedEx, UPS, and DHL: USCIS Attn: I-140 2501 S. State Highway 121 Business Suite 400 Lewisville, Texas 75067

Filing Form I-140 and another USCIS form If you are filing Form I-140 with another USCIS form, you can send it to one of the following locations:

U.S. Postal Service (USPS): USCIS P.O. Box 660867 Dallas, Texas 75266 FedEx, UPS, and DHL: USCIS Attn: NFB AOS 2501 S. State Highway 121 Business Suite 400 Lewisville, Texas 75067

Is premium processing available?

Yes, there are certain Form I-140 classifications that are eligible for Premium Processing. You can find out if your petition is eligible by visiting the Premium Processing section of the USCIS website.

If your petition is eligible and you would like to request Premium Processing, you will also need to file Form I-907 (Request for Premium Processing Service) with your completed Form I-140.

How long does it take for USCIS to process Form I-140?

There is no set processing timeframe for Form I-140. Once your application is received, USCIS will accept the petition and assess it to ensure that it is complete. If the petition is deemed incomplete, your application may be rejected.

Once your application is assessed and is determined to be complete, USCIS may request additional information. In this case, you will receive a written notification that will indicate what additional evidence or information you must provide to support your petition.

USCIS may ask you to complete an interview and may request a biometrics screening. In this case, you will receive a written notification, which will include further details that pertain to the interview or biometrics screening.

Once all of your information has been assessed, USCIS will determine whether or not you have successfully established eligibility for the beneficiary of the petition. You will receive a written approval notice. If, after a four-month period, you have not heard anything further, you can contact USCIS to find out more information about your application.

The takeaway

Employers who wish to hire foreign nationals or foreign nationals who wish to work in the U.S. need to complete and file a Form I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker).

Following the instructions listed above and providing the necessary supporting documentation can establish your eligibility and encourage USCIS to approve your I-40 request.

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