What You Need to Know About Form I-140 Employment-Based Immigration Process

What is the purpose of filing Form I-140?

The primary purpose of filing Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, is to seek approval for a foreign worker’s eligibility for a Green Card (permanent residency) based on employment in the United States. This form is an essential step in the employment-based immigration process, and it serves several key purposes:

  • Employer Sponsorship: Form I-140 is filed by a U.S. employer (or a prospective employer) on behalf of a foreign worker whom they wish to hire for a permanent job position in the United States. The employer acts as the petitioner in the process.
  • Establishing Eligibility: The I-140 petition is filed under specific employment-based immigration categories, such as EB-1, EB-2, EB-3, EB-4, or EB-5. Each category has specific eligibility criteria based on the foreign worker’s qualifications, job position, and other factors.
  • Priority Date: The filing of Form I-140 establishes the foreign worker’s priority date, which is the date USCIS receives the completed I-140 petition. The priority date is essential for determining the foreign worker’s place in the visa queue for limited visa categories.
  • Job Offer Confirmation: By filing the I-140, the employer confirms that they have a genuine job offer for the foreign worker, and the position meets the necessary requirements for the chosen employment-based immigration category.
  • Supporting Green Card Application: If the I-140 is approved, it serves as the foundation for the foreign worker’s subsequent Green Card application. After I-140 approval, the foreign worker may move forward with the final step of the Green Card process, either through adjustment of status if already in the U.S. or consular processing if outside the U.S.
  • Permanent Residency: Once the Green Card is issued, the foreign worker is granted permanent residency status in the United States, which allows them to live and work in the U.S. indefinitely, travel in and out of the country, and enjoy certain rights and benefits available to U.S. permanent residents.

It is important to note that Form I-140 is an employer-sponsored petition, and the foreign worker cannot file it on their own behalf. The employer must demonstrate that they have a genuine need for the foreign worker’s skills or expertise and that there are no qualified U.S. workers available to fill the position offered to the foreign worker.

What documents are required to file with Form I-140?

When filing Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, various supporting documents and evidence are required to establish the foreign worker’s eligibility for the requested employment-based immigration category. The specific documents needed may vary depending on the category under which the petition is filed and the nature of the foreign worker’s qualifications. Here are some common documents typically required for filing Form I-140:

  • Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker: The properly completed and signed Form I-140 itself is the primary document that initiates the petition.
  • Evidence of Employer’s Ability to Pay: The employer must provide evidence that they have the financial ability to pay the proffered wage to the foreign worker. This can include financial statements, annual reports, or tax documents of the employer.
  • Job Offer Letter: A detailed job offer letter from the employer outlining the terms and conditions of employment, including job title, job duties, salary, and work location.
  • Supporting Documentation for Specific Employment Categories:
    • EB-1: Extraordinary Ability, Outstanding Professors/Researchers, Multinational Managers/Executives:
      • Evidence of extraordinary ability (awards, recognition, contributions to the field).
      • Documentation of outstanding research or teaching contributions (for professors/researchers).
      • Proof of prior managerial/executive role and multinational business relationship (for managers/executives).
    • EB-2: Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons with Exceptional Ability:
      • Educational qualifications (diplomas, transcripts, degrees).
      • Letters of recommendation.
      • Evidence of exceptional ability in the field.
    • EB-3: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers:
      • Evidence of education or training.
      • Work experience documentation.
      • Proof that the position requires the foreign worker’s qualifications.
    • EB-4: Special Immigrants:
      • Documentation specific to the special immigrant category (e.g., religious workers, broadcasters, etc.).
    • EB-5: Immigrant Investors:
      • Investment-related documents (e.g., capital investment amount, business plan, job creation plan).
    • Labor Certification (if required): For some employment categories (EB-2 and EB-3), a labor certification (Form ETA-9089) issued by the U.S. Department of Labor may be required to demonstrate that there are no qualified U.S. workers available for the position.
    • Passport-style Photos: Passport-sized photographs of the foreign worker, adhering to USCIS specifications.
    • Filing Fees: Payment of the required filing fee, unless eligible for a fee waiver or exemption.

It is crucial to carefully review the USCIS instructions and guidelines for Form I-140 to ensure that all necessary documents and evidence are included with the petition. Additionally, it is often recommended to seek the guidance of an experienced immigration attorney to navigate the I-140 petition process successfully and to ensure that all required documents are accurately provided.

Is premium processing available in Form I-140 petitions?

Premium processing was available for certain categories of Form I-140 petitions. Premium processing allows petitioners to request expedited processing of their petitions for an additional fee. By paying the premium processing fee, USCIS aims to process the petition within 15 calendar days.

However, please note that immigration policies and procedures can change over time, including the availability of premium processing for specific forms. Therefore, it is essential to verify the current status of premium processing for Form I-140 on the official USCIS website or by consulting with an immigration attorney.

If premium processing is available for Form I-140 at the time of your inquiry, the additional fee is payable in addition to the regular filing fee. The premium processing fee is typically substantial and subject to change, so it is essential to check the USCIS website or contact them directly to obtain the most up-to-date information on premium processing fees and eligibility.

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