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All You Need to Know About Form I-129 Petition
Image of Form I-29, a petition to non-migrant workers kept on a computer keyboard, with a pen on top.

This article covers the following topics:

  • Purpose of Form I-129
  • Eligibility for Form I-129
  • Steps to fill Form I-129

An Introduction to USCIS I 129 & Its Purpose

Form I-129 is an official document that must be filled in and submitted to the USCIS to sponsor non-immigrant foreign employees for temporary jobs in the USA. Foreign nationals may use this form to apply for new status or update their existing visas.

What are the purposes of Form I-129?

The I 129 H1B is required if you are:

  • Being employed by two companies. ( Each one has to file a separate Form I-129.)
  • Switching jobs. ( Your new employer must file Form I-129.)
  • Extending or amending your non-immigrant status if you are living in the U. S.
  • Revising your approved employment due to changes in your job position or salary.
  • Providing sponsorship for foreigners not residing in the U.S. but can apply for a US non-immigrant work visa at their local US Consulate when Form I-129 is approved.

Eligibility Criteria for Form I-129 Sponsorship

Employees eligible for sponsorship with an I 129 visa include:

  • Foreign nationals qualifying for O-1 visas with extraordinary skills, and their aides qualifying for an O-2 visa.
  • Temporary employees qualifying for H3, H1B, H2A, and H1C.
  • Entertainers, performers, and athletes eligible for the P 1, 2, and 3 status.
  • Staff of entertainers, athletes, and artists qualifying for P-2S, P-1S, or the P-3S status.
  • Entertainers, performers, athletes, and artists qualifying for the P-2, P-1, or the P3 status.
  • Religious employees with R-1 status.
  • Cultural exchange employees with Q-1 status.
  • Foreign nationals residing in the U.S. with E-1 and E-2 and TN visas (for extensions.)

How to Fill I 129 Petition: The Procedure

For I 129 direct filing, the petition comprises 36 pages, of which eight pages are the main pages, and the rest are supplemental information.

The list of supplements for Form I-129 includes:

  • Attachment - 1 (to be used to include multiple foreign nationals)
  • E-1/E-2 Classification Supplement
  • Q-1 Classification Supplement
  • H Classification Supplement
  • H-1B Data Collection and Filing Fee Exemption Supplement
  • L Classification Supplement
  • O and P Classifications Supplement
  • R-1 Classification Supplement
  • Trade Agreement Supplement

Your petitioning employer is responsible for filling and submitting Form I-129. They should only complete forms relevant to the visa classification. The remaining supplements may be left blank. Here's a list of the information employers are required to fill out.

Also Read: US Immigration Forms

1. Petitioner Information

This is the first part of the petition that requires the employer to fill out the information about themselves. The employer is the "petitioner," and the employee is the "beneficiary."

2. Application Information

In this section, the employer must fill the details of the required non-immigrant visa and the actions they want the USCIS to implement if:

  • The foreign employee is new and signed under "new employment." The same will be required to classify an already existing employee.
  • The purpose is to extend the stay without any changes in the job or salary and file under "continuation of previously approved employment without change with the same employer."
  • There are changes in the job position and salary; then, the petition is filed as a "change in previously approved employment."
  • If there is a change in material, the petition is filed under "amended petition.'

3. The Beneficiary Information

The confusion in this section is usually centered around "A Number," a 9-digit registration number given for selected foreigners. Most often, the A-Number is not assigned to workers who have not requested for permanent residence. If you have not received this number, you may skip this part and leave it blank.

4. Processing Information

This is the fourth part of the petition that gathers information to process your petition. Sometimes, the questions may pertain to facility inspection where the worker has applied for the visa whether they are outside the US or the location of the Consulate within the US.

5. Job & Employer Information

The petitioning employer must provide information regarding:

  • The proposed employment
  • LCA case number (if available)
  • Compensation and benefits provided for the employee

6. Export Control Certification

The employer must state if a license is required from the federal government for the foreign worker to access technical data or technology. A designated official will be asked to determine if the employer's business uses technologies that may require this license.

7. Completion of Form I-129

The filled and completed Form I-129 can be verified and signed by the employer's authorized representative. Most employers file the petition not more than six months before the job commencement date. The employer should also pay the filing fee of USD 460.

The completed Form I-129 can be filed at a location depending on:

  • The Non-immigrant visa classification
  • Action requested by the petitioner
  • Company location

Form I-129 should be submitted and received before the beneficiary's H1B status expires.

Portability & Travelling Abroad After Filing Form I 129

As far as Portability is concerned, a foreign employee already residing in the United States and sponsored by another employer through an H-1B visa may work while Form I-129 is processed. The same is applicable even if the petition has been approved for some cases. Beneficiaries are allowed to do this for 240 days after the expiration of their work permits.

Kindly note that your Form I-129 process could be delayed if you travel abroad during this time. Employers must be informed if the worker needs to travel abroad after their H-1B status has expired. However, most of the time, travellers do not get permission to travel until they receive approval for their petition.

Before We Conclude

Like all non-immigrant petitions, the instructions for Form I 129 direct filing must be precisely followed to avoid any delay in the processing. Please remember that you may encounter problems later if any incorrect information is found in your approved Form I-129 petition. Therefore, please take utmost care to fill out and submit your Form I-129.

For more information on US non-immigrant visas, please follow our TechFetch H1B website.

**Disclaimer : All H1B processes are subject to change. Kindly refer to the USCIS website for the latest updates.**

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