When to Submit a New I-129CW Petition

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has reported getting a number of questions about applicants interested in changing or amending their I-129CW applications for CNMI-only transitional CW employees. According to the USCIS, the employer submitting the application only needs to submit an amended petition if there is a significant change in the terms of work. This might include:

1) A situation in which an existing business is purchased. If the new business owner wants to keep the workers who have pending CW petitions, he or she must submit an amended I-129CW application.

2) The employment changes to full-time where it was previously advertised as part-time.

3) There is a significant change in compensation or salary.

Whether the original I-129CW application was approved or is still pending, the employer will need to submit an amended form. If there is still an application pending, the employer will want to let the USCIS know that the original I-129CW application is to be withdrawn once the amended petition is filed. To request a withdrawal, an employer can send a request to CNMI.CSC@uscis.dhs.gov or via mail to the California Service Center in Laguna Niguel.

When sending in an amended I-129CW application, employers should look to Part 2 and check the “2f” option on the application. They need to submit the filing fees ($325) but not the biometrics or education funding fees, provided that the fees were paid on the original application and provided that the petition is being filed for the same employee.

If a new employee is being hired, that requires a new I-129CW petition. In some cases, employers can request a consular notification rather than a grant of status for pending I-129CW petitions. This is done rarely, but can be done with their new or amended petitions. This is usually done only if the employee must leave the CNMI. To make the change, there is no additional fees or amended petition needed. However, the employer will need to submit a letter requesting consular process. The letter must be signed by the employer and must contain the receipt number of the petition and the beneficiary’s name. The letter can be sent to the California Service Center in Laguna Niguel via regular mail (the envelope should have the words “ATTN: CW-1” clearly visible) or the letter can be sent via email to CNMI.CSC@uscis.dhs.gov. In some cases, applicants submit a duplicate copy of their petition and all supporting documents so that the U.S. Department of State can be notified of the approval. This is important in preventing a visa issuance overseas in some cases.