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Guide to Form I-129S in the U.S
Companies in the United States with offices outside the country often bring in specialized workers temporarily. Form I-129S is an important form that companies use to help bring an individual worker into the US.
In this guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about Form I-129S.
What is Form I-129S?
Form I-129S, officially known as Non-immigrant Petition Based on Blanket L Petition, is an employer petition form. It is filed by the employer to classify a non-immigrant worker (who is also the beneficiary) as an L-1 nonimmigrant intracompany transferee. This is done through the blanket L petition (L-Z) approval by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and found in 8 C.F.R. 214.2(l)(4)(i).
Difference Between Form I-129S And I-129
When filing Form I-129S, many inexperienced employers mistake it for being the same as Form I-129. This is a dreadful mistake and can result in the cancellation of the petition along with financial loss (because there are non-refundable fees involved). Therefore, you need to have clarity on the difference between Form I-129S and Form I-129.
Form I-129, also known as Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, is a multi-purpose form filed by the employers of the non-immigrant worker. The typical requests made are for extending stay or requesting a change of status.
With Form I-129, you can apply for certain non-immigrant visas for your overseas worker, including H1B, H1C, H2A, L1, O1, and O2, among others. If the worker is eligible for an L1 visa, then you’re required to file Form I-129S.
So to summarize the difference, Form I-129 is filed when you are requesting an extension of stay or change of status, while Form I-129S is filed when the foreign worker is eligible for an L-1 visa based on Blanket L Petition.
Who Needs Form I-129S?
Form I-129S is the form used by employers in the United States as a petition form for the classification of a non-immigrant worker as an L-1 intracompany transferee.
Form I-129S can only be filed by those petitioners who have been approved for a blanket L-1 petition based on eligibility. They can classify the beneficiary — which is located outside the United States — as a specialized knowledge professional and can hire him/her as an executive or manager.
If in case the beneficiary is already in the United States, the petitioner can file for an extension of stay or change of status. Therefore, he must file Form I-129S along with Form I-129.
For filing Form I-129S, both the company submitting the petition and the overseas worker must meet specific eligibility criteria.
For companies, the guidelines are:
- The employer filing the petition and its overseas subsidiaries must be in the active engagement of trade or services.
- The company must have its offices in the United States and has been doing business in the US for at least a year before filing the form.
- The employer filing the petition should have at least three branch offices or subsidiaries or affiliates in the United States and overseas.
In addition to the aforementioned compulsory requirements, the US company must satisfy at least one of the following terms:
- The company and its affiliates have received at least ten petition approval for L-1 non-immigrant intracompany transferee in the previous year.
- The company and its subsidiaries have a combined turnover of at least $25 million.
- The company is employing at least 1000 people in the United States.
Requirements for overseas transferring employees to be eligible as a non-immigrant intracompany transferee are:
- The employee must hold a manager or executive position in the foreign or US-based company overseas, or for an L-1B visa, a specialized knowledge position.
- The employees must be professionals in their field with a mix of education and work experience.
- They must have at least a Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent.
- The office where the transferring employee is working must be included in the Blanket L petition.
If you and the nonimmigrant worker satisfy all the eligibility criteria, you can move forward with the petition.
How to Complete Form I-129S?
Form I-129S is an 8-page document divided into 10-parts. Each part asks a set of questions that are mandatory to answer should they be applicable in your case. Here’s a brief overview of how to fill out each part:
Part 1: Information About the Employer
- 1 – Full legal name of your organization (the petitioning organization)
- 2.a – 3 – The complete mailing address of the company/petitioner
- 4.a – 4.e – The complete physical address of the company/petitioner
- 5 – 8 – Primary contact information of the petitioner including telephone, email address, and fax number
- 9 – 10 – The total number of employees in the US, if more than 50 of them are in the US, and if 50% of them hold any kind of immigration status.
Part 2: Information About the Proposed Petition and Prior Periods of Stay in the United States
- 1.a – If the alien will be Manager/executive
- 2.b – If the alien will be a Specialized knowledge Professional
- 2.a – State date of proposed employment in mm/dd/yyyy
- 2.b – End date of proposed employment in mm/dd/yyyy
- 3 – 6 – Prior periods of stay
Part 3: Information About the Beneficiary
- 1 – Alien Registration Number or A-number
- 2 – USCIS Online Account Number
- 3 – US Online Social Security Number
- 4.a – 4.c – Beneficiary’s Full name
- 5.a – 5.c – Fill this section if the beneficiary holds any other legal name
- 6.a – 7 – Foreign mailing address of the beneficiary
- 8 – Beneficiary’s foreign mailing address
- 9 – Date of Birth in the format mm/dd/yyyy
- 10 – Gender
- 11 – 13 – Place of Birth
- 14 – Nationality of the beneficiary
Part 4: Information About The Proposed Employment
- 1 – Blanket L Petition Receipt Number
- 2 – If you’re filing any other forms along with I-129S
- 3 – Address where the beneficiary is proposed to work
- 4 – 6 – Wages and hours of employment
- 7 – 8 – Job titles and duties involved
- 9 – 11 – Primary worksite or whether the beneficiary will work offsite
Part 5: Information About Foreign Employment
- 1 – The position the beneficiary held for the foreign employer
- 2 – 3 – Foreign employer name and address
- 4 – 13 – Other information about the foreign employment of the beneficiary like joining date, duties performed, wage information, etc.
Part 6: Certification Regarding the Release of Controlled Technology or Technical Data to Foreign Persons in the United States
Use this section if you are required to obtain licenses or release technical data to the beneficiary.
Part 7: Statement, Contact Information, Declaration, and Signature of the Petitioner or Authorized Signatory
Provide your contact details, declaration, and signatures at relevant blanks.
If you’re using an interpreter or someone else is filling the form on your behalf, then you need to use Part 8, 9, 10. Otherwise, you can leave them blank.
Where to File Form I-129S?
If filing from outside the United States, then the form should be submitted to a US Consular Office in that country. If presenting from inside the United States, then filing should be done at a USCIS service center.
For Canadian transferees, the form can be filed directly with Customs and Border Protection at specific points of entry.
Form I-129S Cost
There is no filing fee involved, but you do need to pay a $500 fee as Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee. Depending on your case, you’ll be asked to pay the Public Law 114-113 Fee of $4,500.
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This was all about form I-129, and form I-129S. Make sure that you fill it appropriately if needed; you may also take the help of an attorney.