Monday, October 24, 2022

Filing Guidance for CW-1 Petitions Seeking to Extend Status

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will consider certain CW-1 petitions seeking an extension of status for temporary workers present in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) to be filed on time, even if USCIS receives them after the worker's current period of CW-1 petition validity expires.

USCIS is providing this limited accommodation to facilitate the current Temporary Labor Certification (TLC) processing delays at the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).

Normally, under Department of Homeland Security regulations, an employer may only file a CW-1 petition on behalf of a worker present in the CNMI if the worker is lawfully present in the CNMI, and USCIS will not approve an extension of nonimmigrant status if the worker's nonimmigrant status expired before the petition is filed. Under statutory requirements and DHS and DOL regulations, CW-1 petitions must include an approved TLC.

However, USCIS has the discretionary authority to excuse a late filing for extension of status petitions in limited circumstances. USCIS has determined that it is appropriate to exercise such authority to excuse late filings of CW-1 petitions (petitions USCIS receives after the current CW-1 status expires) by employers in the CNMI, only if:

  • The TLC application was filed with DOL at least 60 days before the requested start date;
  • The petition is otherwise properly filed, and includes an approved TLC; and
  • USCIS receives the petition no later than 30 days after the date of TLC approval, or by Nov. 15, 2022, whichever is earlier.

If an employer files an extension petition meeting these requirements, the CW-1 worker may continue employment with the same employer for up to 240 days beginning on the expiration of the authorized period of stay, pending adjudication of the petition (or, in the case of a non-frivolous petition for extension of stay with change of employer, until USCIS adjudicates the petition).

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