Key Immigration Forms for Hiring a Foreign Worker


Hiring a foreign worker may be important for your business – you may not be able to find a qualified US worker for the job you have. You may need the expertise that is only available through a non-US worker. The good news is that many organizations hire foreign workers all the time. The bad news is that it can quite a few immigration forms and some paperwork to get the authorization to hire a foreign worker. Immigration authorities want to ensure that you really need to hire foreign worker and that the worker will not adversely affect working opportunities, wages, or conditions of US workers. As a result, immigration authorities will require you to fill out and file quite a few immigration forms.

The first thing to determine is whether you will need to file an Application for Alien Employment Certification with the Department of Labor (DOL) or get consultation reports from labor organizations or whether you can file USCIS Form I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker) first. If you are filing for a H-1B, H-1C, H-2A, or H-2B non-immigrant worker, you will generally need certification from DOL. In most cases, you will be able to file Form I-129 first. However, this will depend largely on the type of worker you are seeking.

In addition to Form I-129, you may need to file other forms, too. These may include:

  1. Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status (USCIS Form I-539). If you need to extend the amount of time a worker works for you or if you want to change the terms of employment (by having the worker do another job, for example, or work for a related company that you own) you may also need to eventually file Form I-539 to get the authorization to make these changes. Once you file a Form I-129 and that form is approved, you can only the hire the worker you have petitioned for, for the job and salary indicated on the form.
  2. Request for Premium Processing Service (USCIS Form I-907). If you need to speed up the process, you can file form I-539 either with Form I-129 or after you file Form I-129.
  3. Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9). You are required by law to file this application to ensure that the worker you are hiring is eligible to work the US.
  4. Nonimmigrant Petition Based on Blanket L Petition (Form I-129-S). If you are hiring L-1 visa category workers and want to hire several workers as part of an intra-company situation, you can file Form I-129-S. However, you will also need to file Form I-129 for each worker.