GovAssist Logo

The I-140 form, officially known as the Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers, is a critical document in the U.S. immigration system. It serves as a formal request filed by a U.S. employer to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of a foreign national employee. The purpose of this form is to petition for an employment-based visa, which is a significant pathway toward obtaining a green card (permanent residency) in the United States.

Filing an I-140 is a declaration by the employer that they intend to hire the foreign national permanently and that they have the means and intent to pay the offered wage. It is a foundational step in the journey toward permanent residency and a key document that ties the employment offer to the visa process.

Documents Needed for I-140

The successful filing of an I-140 form hinges on providing the correct documentation. The required documents can vary depending on the specific employment-based category under which the petition is being filed. Generally, the following documents are essential:

Documentation Required for Form I-140 Petition

Beyond the basic requirements, additional documentation can strengthen the I-140 petition and facilitate its approval. This can include:

Fees for the I-140 Petition

An important aspect of filing the Form I-140 is understanding the associated fees. As of my last update, the fee for filing an I-140 petition is $700. This fee must be paid by the petitioner, which in this case is the employer, and not the beneficiary (the foreign worker). It's crucial to note that USCIS fee structures are subject to change, so it's advisable to always check the latest fee schedule on the USCIS website before filing.

In addition to the standard filing fee, there are other potential costs to consider. If opting for premium processing, an additional fee of $2,500 is required. This service expedites the processing of the petition, typically resulting in a decision within 15 calendar days. Remember, these fees are separate from any legal fees incurred if you engage an attorney to assist with the petition.

Form I-140 Eligibility Requirements:

The eligibility requirements for an I-140 petition vary based on the employment-based visa category under which the petition is filed. Broadly, these categories and their general requirements are:

  1. EB-1 Category: This is for individuals with extraordinary abilities, outstanding professors and researchers, and multinational managers and executives. Requirements include demonstrating extraordinary ability through sustained national or international acclaim, being recognized in a specific academic area, or having a managerial or executive role in a multinational company.
  2. EB-2 Category: Aimed at professionals with advanced degrees or individuals with exceptional ability in the arts, sciences, or business. Advanced degree means a degree above a bachelor's, or a bachelor's degree plus five years of progressive work experience in the field.
  3. EB-3 Category: For skilled workers, professionals, and other workers. Skilled workers need at least two years of job experience or training, professionals need a U.S. bachelor's degree or foreign equivalent, and other workers are those performing unskilled labor requiring less than two years of training or experience.

Where should I file Form I-140?

Form I-140 must be filed with the appropriate USCIS Service Center. The correct filing location depends on the employment-based category and sometimes the geographical location of the job. USCIS provides detailed filing instructions, including addresses for service centers on its website. It is essential to file with the correct service center to avoid delays or rejection.

How to Complete Form I-140

Completing Form I-140 accurately is crucial for a successful petition. Here are the key steps:

  1. Fill Out Each Section Accurately: Provide complete and accurate information about the employer and the beneficiary.
  2. Attach a Cover Letter: Include a cover letter summarizing the petition and the evidence provided.
  3. Include All Necessary Supporting Documents: Based on the category under which you are filing, ensure all relevant documents are attached.
  4. Sign and Date: The petition must be signed and dated by the authorized signatory of the petitioning company.
  5. Pay the Filing Fee: Ensure that the correct fee is included with the petition.

5 Ways to Organize Your Evidence for the I-140 Petition

A well-organized petition can significantly aid in the smooth processing of your I-140. Here are five strategies:

  1. Chronological Order: Organize documents in the order of events or achievements.
  2. By Category: Group documents by type, such as educational certificates, work experience letters, and awards.
  3. Priority of Importance: Place the most compelling evidence at the beginning of the petition.
  4. Tabs and Labels: Use tabs and labels for easy reference to different sections of your evidence.
  5. Index of Contents: Provide a detailed index at the beginning of your petition, listing all documents and their location in the file.

Effective organization not only presents a professional image but also makes it easier for USCIS officers to review and understand your petition.

Approval Notice Period for I-140

The I-140 approval notice period can vary significantly depending on several factors such as the employment-based category, the volume of applications at the USCIS, and the specifics of the case. Typically, once the I-140 is filed, the petitioner and the beneficiary eagerly await the approval notice, which confirms that the petition has been accepted and approved.

It's important to understand that the approval notice period is not fixed. Generally, it can range from a few months to over a year. This variability is due to the different processing times at various USCIS service centers and the complexity of individual cases. Staying informed about the processing times for your specific service center and category can provide a more accurate expectation.

Processing Time for Form I-140

The processing time for Form I-140 petitions is a crucial concern for both the employer and the foreign worker. As of the latest information, regular processing times can range from 6 to 9 months. However, this is subject to change and can be longer depending on the service center's workload and the specific category under which the petition is filed.

It's essential to regularly check the USCIS website for the most current processing times. USCIS updates its processing time information monthly, which can help set realistic expectations regarding the timeline.

Premium Processing for Form I-140

For an additional fee (currently $2,500), Form I-140 can be processed under the premium processing service, which guarantees a response within 15 calendar days.

How to Check Your I-140 Status

Keeping track of your I-140 petition status is important, and USCIS provides several ways to do this. The most straightforward method is to use the USCIS online case status tool. When you file your I-140, you'll receive a receipt number. You can enter this receipt number on the USCIS website to check the current status of your petition.

For more detailed tracking and automatic updates, creating an account on the USCIS website is advisable. This account allows you to receive electronic notifications and updates about your case. Additionally, if there are any requests for additional evidence or other communications from USCIS, being able to access and respond to these promptly can be crucial for the timely processing of your petition.