Working in the United States
Instructions for Employers Petitioning for Transitional Workers in the CNMI
If you are an employer in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) you are probably wondering if the CNMI-only transitional worker or CW status is something that will work for you and your foreign employees.
The step by step information on this webpage will help you:
Step 1: Determine if you are eligible to hire a foreign worker
Are you eligible to hire a foreign worker under the Transitional Worker status?
To qualify to hire workers with CW status, you as the employer, must:
Step 2: Determine if the foreign worker qualifies for CW Status
If you are eligible to hire a transitional worker, is the foreign worker qualified for CW status?
To qualify for CW status, the foreign worker you want to hire must:
Step 3: File forms
If you are eligible to hire a foreign worker and the foreign worker you want to hire is eligible to be considered for the CW status, then you need to submit the necessary forms to USCIS.
Grant of Status
A foreign worker who is lawfully present in the CNMI may be eligible for a ‘Grant of Status’ and get CW status directly in the CNMI without having to obtain a U.S. visa abroad first. If you are petitioning for a foreign worker and also requesting a Grant of Status, include an $85 biometrics processing fee in the I-129CW application package. Information about Grant of Status criteria is found at www.uscis.gov/cnmi. When you request a grant of status in the CNMI, USCIS will advise you where the foreign worker must go for fingerprints and photograph for DHS to conduct the required security checks.
If petitioning for foreign workers who are requesting consular processing abroad or already have a nonimmigrant status (F-1, H-1B, etc.) you do not need to submit a biometrics fee with the application.
Step 4: USCIS contacts employer
If your Form I-129CW is approved, USCIS will mail an approval notice to you showing that the CW-1 classification has been approved. You should get the notice in 60 days. If you haven’t received any correspondence from USCIS after 60 days, contact a USCIS customer service representative by calling 1-800-375- 5283 or make an InfoPass appointment at www.uscis.gov to see an officer in our Saipan Office.
Foreign worker in the CNMI
If your approved foreign worker is in the CNMI, provide the worker with the original approval notice document, which includes the worker’s Arrival-Departure Record Form I-94. The worker will need this Form I-94 to indicate that he or she received approval for the Grant of Status.
Foreign worker abroad
If your approved foreign worker is abroad, send the original approval notice to the worker’s address abroad. The approval notice will indicate that he or she needs to make an appointment for a nonimmigrant visa interview at the U.S. Consulate/ Embassy nearest to them for processing of a CW-1 visa application.
Step 5: Extending CW status
CW status is valid for one year. You must file a new petition for CW status on behalf of your employee or the employee must obtain another Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) nonimmigrant or immigrant classification to lawfully stay in the CNMI after that.
For more information about transitional worker status, please visit our website at www.uscis.gov/cw.
Last Reviewed/Updated: 09/21/2011