The I-129 application is meant for U.S.-based employers to petition on behalf of a foreign national they intend on hiring temporarily in the United States. The application is available on the USCIS website, and should be completed anytime an employer is seeking to hire a non-citizen whether they are already based in the U.S. or are overseas.
The application has some technical questions that should be reviewed, so this blog will be dedicated to going through the actual form and deciphering what these questions are really asking. Submitting a fully completed application without any errors is essential to having a faster adjudication by the USCIS without any Requests for Evidence (RFEs).
Part 1 is fairly straightforward and asks the employer to state where the business is based by listing the physical address, IRS information, or their Federal Employer ID Number.
Note: Not every U.S. business will have a federal Employer ID number, this only refers to organizations that part of the U.S. federal government, such as an agency or special department.
In Part 2, the employer needs to check the right box pertaining to the immigration benefit that their prospective/new hire will be granted if the petition is successful. For example, if the foreign national is working for a new organization entirely, the employer should check the “Change of Employer” box. If the foreign national has received a new salary, job title, or new job responsibility in a separate office but within the same organization, the employer should check the “Change in Previously Approved Employment” box. Employers should contact a USCIS Help Desk if they are unsure of what box to check.
In Part 3, the USCIS is asking the employer interesting in hiring the foreign national to provide direct personal information about the beneficiary. This includes their U.S. address if they are residing in the U.S., the current status they are living under, their I-94 information which will be critical for determining eligibility (granted the applicant has not overstayed their visa). In addition the employer will need to request the beneficiaries Passport number and provide it in this section.
In Part 4, the employer needs to provide information about where the USCIS should an approved petition if consular processing is involved and the beneficiary is currently living abroad. The employer also needs to answer other personal questions on behalf of the beneficiary in this section such as whether the employer has ever filed a petition for them before, or if the foreign national has ever been put into removal proceedings.
In Part 5, the employer needs to fill out specific information about the Job title the beneficiary will have granted the petition is accepted. In addition, the employer should supply other critical information such as the salary the beneficiary will receive, the approximate number of hours they will work per week, or if there is another office or facility where the employee will work off-site. Employers should have their financials ready, as the USCIS also requests the net and gross annual income of the organization in this section.
Part 6 is perhaps the most important section of the form. It asks the employer if through hiring the foreign national (beneficiary), the organization will release controlled technology or technical data of which a license is required by the State Department to release. The employer should review the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations to understand if the information/data they are releasing to their new hire first requires a license to do so.