Petition Filing and Processing Procedures for Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker

You may use Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker to ask USCIS to classify a foreign national as someone who is eligible for an immigrant visa based on employment. The employer generally files the Form I-140 for the foreign national.

On this page, you will find information on:

General Filing Tips

To ensure that we do not reject your Form I-140, make sure to submit your form with correct information and well-organized supporting documentation. Follow the general filing tips on the Tips for Filing Forms with USCIS page to ensure that we will accept your Form I-140 for processing.

Additionally, here are some Form I-140 filing tips to follow:

General

  • Use the current version of the form, which you can find at www.uscis.gov/i-140.
  • File your Form I-140 at the correct address. Go to the Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker page to determine where to file your Form I-140. We sometimes transfer workloads between service centers, so be sure you file your form at the current filing address.
  • Make sure the petitioner signs the Form I-140. 
  • If you file a Form I-140 with other related applications for the beneficiary, write the beneficiary’s name on the payment document (for example, in the memo line on a check).
  • Submit one check per form. If you use one check to pay for more than one petition or application and we determine that you did not properly file one of the forms, we will reject ALL of the forms.
  • If applicable, submit Form G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative with original signatures.  

Completing the Form

  • Make sure that you provide the petitioner’s (not the attorney’s) contact information in Part I of the Form I-140.
  • Select only one visa preference category in Part 2 of the Form I-140. We will reject your form if you leave Part 2 blank or if you select more than one category.
  • If the beneficiary will be placed at a client site, please identify the address of the client location in Part 6 of Form I-140.
  • For E11 and NIW filings, please include information in Part 6, Basic Information About the Proposed Employment. At a minimum, it is helpful to complete: 1. Job title; 2. SOC code; and 3. Nontechnical description of the job. This information is needed to verify the beneficiary’s/self-petitioner’s proposed endeavor or how he or she intends to continue to work in the area of expertise in the U.S.

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Filing a Form I-140 That Requires a DOL-approved Labor Certification

If you file a Form I-140 and request a visa category that requires a Department of Labor (DOL)-approved labor certification, we will review your petition to verify that it contains a valid labor certification. These visa categories are:

  • E21, Member of the professions holding an advanced degree or an alien of exceptional ability (Form I-140, Part 2. option d.)
  • E32, Professional (Form I-140, Part 2. option e.)
  • E31, Skilled Worker (Form I-140, Part 2. option f.)
  • EW3, Other Worker (Form I-140, Part 2. option g.)

You must submit the labor certification with the Form I-140 during the 180-day validity period annotated at the bottom of every page of the labor certification. We will reject your Form I-140 if you do not include a valid labor certification, unless you clearly state that you are filing under one of the following two exceptions:

  • If you need a duplicate labor certification, check the box marked “Yes – Attach an explanation” at Part 4, Item 8 of the form. Write that request in large, bold font on a brightly colored piece of paper and place the paper directly under the Form I-140.
  • If you are filing a Form I-140 as an amended petition and the original labor certification was already submitted with another Form I-140, check the box marked “Yes – Attach an explanation” at Part 4, Item 7 of the form. Place a brightly colored piece of paper directly under the Form I-140 and write on it in large, bold font that this Form I-140 is an amended petition and that the labor certification has already been submitted. Also provide the receipt number of the previously-filed Form I-140, if available.

Here are additional tips for filing a Form I-140 petition requiring a labor certification:

  • Organize your Form I-140 package in this order:
  1. Form G-28, if any, on top
  2. Form I-140
  3. The original labor certification
  4. Other supporting documentation, including:
  • Official academic records, such as diplomas and transcripts, to show that the beneficiary meets any educational requirements for the position
  • Work experience letters from previous employers giving the name, address and title of the employer and a description of the beneficiary’s experience, to show that the beneficiary meets any work experience requirements for the position
  • Training letters from trainers giving the name, address and title of the trainer, and a description of the training received, to show that the beneficiary meets any training requirements for the position.
  • Federal tax returns, audited financial statements or annual reports to show that you have the ability to pay the wage offered to the beneficiary.
  • If the labor certification's validity period expires on a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday, we will accept your Form I-140 with the labor certification on the next business day. If you file your Form I-140 with an expired labor certification after the next business day, we will reject it.
  • The DOL-approved labor certification must be signed by the employer, an agent/representative, and the beneficiary before submitting it with the Form I-140.
  • If you are filing under the E21, An alien of exceptional ability visa category and you are NOT requesting a national interest waiver (Form I-140, Part 2. option i.), be sure to identify which of the six regulatory criteria the beneficiary is attempting to satisfy and the relevant evidence for each individual criterion.

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Submitting Evidence

Group your evidence according to the eligibility requirement you are trying to meet:

  • If the beneficiary may be entitled to an earlier priority date based on a previously approved Form I‑140, please provide a statement requesting the earlier priority date. Include a copy of the approval notice (Form I-797) for the previous Form I-140.
  • If you are documenting the beneficiary's publications or citations of the beneficiary's work, please highlight the beneficiary's name in the relevant articles. You do not need to send a full copy of the beneficiary’s dissertation, thesis, or research paper, or the one that has cited the beneficiary's work. You may simply include the title page and the portions that cite the beneficiary's work and the “works cited" or bibliography section.
  • If you are submitting a substantial amount of documentation with your petition, tab and label the evidence at the bottom of the first page of each piece of evidence. Provide a list of the evidence you are submitting and which eligibility criteria that evidence applies to. If you are submitting a document that can support multiple eligibility requirements, identify those requirements in your list.
    • If using tabs, place the tab at the bottom rather than on the side. 
    • If you are submitting to a USCIS Lockbox, the lockbox prefers colored paper rather than tabs, as tabs make scanning difficult.
  • Do not submit multiple copies of the evidence. One set of evidentiary exhibits is sufficient. In addition, when responding to an RFE, NOID, or NOIR, it is sufficient to refer to evidence previously submitted. You do not need to resubmit evidence that you previously submitted.
  • You may submit secondary evidence if you cannot obtain a required document or the required document does not exist. However, you must submit a detailed explanation about why the required evidence does not exist or why you cannot obtain it. This explanation would be in addition to your secondary evidence.
  • If secondary evidence is also unavailable, you may submit affidavits. When submitting affidavits as evidence, you must submit an explanation that demonstrates that a required document and relevant secondary evidence does not exist or cannot be obtained.
  • Affidavits cannot come from the petitioner or the beneficiary. Anyone who writes the affidavit for you must have direct personal knowledge of the event and circumstances and must swear to or affirm the information in the affidavit.

Filing Tips for Specific Visa Categories that Do Not Require a DOL-Approved Labor Certification

E11, Alien of extraordinary ability (Form I-140, Part 2. option a.)

  • Identify which of the ten regulatory criteria the beneficiary is attempting to satisfy and the relevant evidence for each individual criterion.
  • Provide a statement and evidence that the beneficiary is coming to the U.S. to continue to be employed in his/her area of sustained national or international acclaim. See 8 C.F.R. 204.5(h).

E12, Outstanding professor or researcher (Form I-140, Part 2. option b.)

  • Identify which of the six regulatory criteria the beneficiary is attempting to satisfy and the relevant evidence for each individual criterion.
  • Provide evidence that the beneficiary has at least three years of experience in teaching and/or research in the academic field.
  • Submit a copy of the petitioner's actual job offer issued to the beneficiary. This letter or contract must include the job title, terms, and conditions of the position offered.
  • If the beneficiary has changed positions since being initially hired, send the documentation listed above for each position the beneficiary has had. See 8 C.F.R. 204.5(i).

E13, Multinational executive or manager (Form I-140, Part 2. option c.)

  • Provide evidence and a cover letter that describes the:
    • Name of the foreign employer,
    • Position offered in the United States,
    • Position held abroad,
    • Years of employment,
    • Date the beneficiary transferred to the United States, if applicable, and
    • Claimed relationship between the foreign employer and the U.S. petitioner (affiliate, subsidiary, joint venture, etc.)
  • Provide evidence that the U.S. employer has been doing business for at least one year before the day the Form I-140 was filed. See 8 C.F.R. 204.5(j).

E21, Member of the professions holding an advanced degree or an alien of exceptional ability, who is requesting a national interest waiver (Form I-140, Part 2. option i.)

  • Identify how the beneficiary qualifies for classification as a member of a profession with an advanced degree (for example, the beneficiary has an advanced degree or a Bachelor's degree in addition to five years of progressive experience, or the beneficiary qualifies as an alien of exceptional ability).
  • Provide evidence to satisfy these three criteria:
    • The foreign national’s proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance,
    • The foreign national is well-positioned to advance the endeavor, and
    • On balance, it would be beneficial to the United States to waive the requirements of a job offer and thus of a labor certification.

(See 8 C.F.R. 204.5(k) and Matter of Dhanasar, 26 I&N Dec. 884 (AAO 2016).

Schedule A, Group I or II shortage occupation (Form I-140, Part 2, option 2.b)

  • Submit a completed and signed ETA Form 9089 that has not been certified by the DOL.

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Requesting or Changing Visa Categories

If You Want to Correct the Visa Category You Selected in Part 2 of Form I-140

When we accept your Form I-140 for processing, we create an electronic record and mail a Form I-797, Receipt Notice, to you and the representative on the Form G-28. The receipt notice will indicate the visa category that you requested on Part 2 of the Form I-140. Make sure this category is correct.  If it is not correct (for example, if you or USCIS has made a clerical error), immediately call the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 or 1-800-767-1833 (TTY) to request that we change the visa classification before making a decision on your form.

Although you may request that we change the visa classification to correct a clerical error in Part 2 of the form, we will make the final determination about whether to change the visa classification based on everything in your case.  If we deny your Form I-140 because you are ineligible for the requested visa category, we will also deny any related application that you filed with it (for example, Form I-485 , Form I-765, Form I-131). 

We cannot change the visa category if we have already made a decision on your Form I-140.

If You Want USCIS to Consider Multiple Visa Categories for a Beneficiary

If you want to classify the beneficiary under multiple visa preference categories, you must file a separate Form I-140 for each requested visa category. You must also pay the required fee for each Form I-140 and submit supporting documentation for each requested visa category.

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Job Portability under INA 204(j)

As the beneficiary of an I-140 petition, you may request to change jobs or employers under INA 204(j), which is commonly known as “porting,” if you:

  • Are the beneficiary of a pending or approved Form I-140;
    • If your Form I-140 is pending, it must have been valid when filed. This means that at the time the Form I-140 was filed, you must have been eligible for the employment-based visa classification and had a valid job offer;
  • Filed a Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, and it has been pending for 180 days or more;  and
  • Seek to change jobs to a new job that is in the same or similar occupational classification.

If you request to change jobs or employers under INA 204(j) while your Form I-140 is pending, we must approve the Form I-140 before we may approve your portability request.

Requesting Portability

To request portability under INA 204(j), you and your prospective employer (this may be your current employer or your future employer) must complete Form I-485 Supplement J and file it either at the same address used for your Form I-485, as noted on the “Where to File” section on the Form I-485 Supplement J page, or with the local USCIS field office at the time of your interview. The completed Supplement J must specify:

  • The job title, Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code, and duties of the offered position,
  • The date you began employment with your employer, if applicable, and
  • The offered salary or wage.

The Supplement J must be signed by you and an appropriate authority in your prospective employer’s organization who is authorized to make or confirm an offer of permanent employment. For additional filing instructions and information on where to file, please review the Form I-485 Supplement J web page.

When you file a Form I-485 Supplement J to request portability under INA 204(j), we will take the following steps:

  1. We will first determine if you are the beneficiary of an approved Form I-140 petition. If you are not, we will then determine whether any unapproved, pending Form I-140 filed for you was approvable when filed and remained so until the associated Form I-485 has been pending for 180 days. We may issue a request for evidence before making this determination.
  2. If we decide to approve the Form I-140 filed on your behalf, we will adjudicate your Supplement J. We will determine whether your new position is the same or similar for INA 204(j) portability purposes and for the Form I-485.

See the guidance published at 8 C.F.R. 245.25(a)(2)(ii)(B)(1) and (2) for more information.

Motions and Appeals

If you are the beneficiary of a Form I-140, you usually cannot appeal or file a motion about the decision on the Form I-140. You also will not receive notices about these proceedings. However, there is an exception. You may receive notices and be able to file a motion or appeal in revocation proceedings if you meet the following requirements:

  • You had an approved Form I-140 that USCIS later revoked;
  • You filed a Form I-485 based on a valid Form I-140, and that Form I-485 has been pending for 180 days or more; 
  • You submitted a Form I-485 Supplement J after January 17, 2017, to request job portability or submitted a portability request before January 17, 2017, via a written letter or other acceptable form of communication; and
  • USCIS has approved the portability request.

If you meet the requirements above, you may provide evidence in response to a Notice of Intent to Revoke a previously approved Form I-140. If USCIS revokes the approval of your Form I-140, you may also file an appeal or motion using Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion. Please see the Form I-290B webpage for filing instructions.       

Withdrawing Form I-140

The petitioner may request to withdraw a Form I-140 at any time. However, if the petitioner requests to withdraw a Form I-140 that has already been approved for at least 180 days or if an associated Form I-485 has been pending for at least 180 days, we will not revoke the approved Form I-140 and the beneficiary will retain the priority date from the form. We will consider the job offer withdrawn, but the Form I -140 will remain approved for purposes of INA 204(j) portability unless we revoke it on other grounds. See 8 C.F.R. 205.1(a)(3)(iii)(C) (revised effective January 17, 2017). In order to become a lawful permanent resident based on the continued approval of this Form I-140, the beneficiary must either obtain a new job offer under INA 204(j) or have a new Form I-140 petition filed on his or her behalf. 

How to Withdraw a Form I-140

To withdraw a pending or approved Form I-140, the petitioner should submit the following:

  • A statement that the Form I-140 petitioner wishes to withdraw the petition;
  • The Form I-140 receipt number;
  • The name, address and phone number of the petitioner;
  • The name of the beneficiary;
  • The beneficiary’s A-Number, if known; and
  • The petitioner's signature or the Form G-28 representative’s signature.

Send the withdrawal request to:

If the Form I-140 is pending or was approved at the...

Mail the withdrawal request to...

  • Texas Service Center

or

  • Vermont Service Center

USCIS Texas Service Center
PO Box 851745
Mesquite, TX 75185

  • Nebraska Service Center

or

  • California Service Center

USCIS Nebraska Service Center
P.O. Box 82521
Lincoln, NE 68501-2521

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Successor-in-interest (SII) Employers

When a company is bought, merged, changes corporate structure, or significantly changes owners, the new or reorganized company is generally considered a successor-in-interest (SII) of the original company. We allow SII employers to use the original employer’s approved labor certification when filing a Form I-140 for the beneficiary named on the labor certification.

How USCIS Determines If an Employer Is an SII Employer

To determine whether a company is an SII employer that can use the original employer’s approved labor certification, we look at three factors:

  1. The job opportunity offered by the SII employer must be the same as the job opportunity originally offered on the labor certification. When making this determination, we examine the job duties of the position to see if the job is still the same. We also review job title changes, wage increases over the passage of time, and other minor changes (such as a change in the software used) as part of the overall record when making this decision.
  2. The burden of proof is on the SII employer to establish eligibility. This includes providing the required evidence from the original company, such as evidence of the original company’s ability to pay the offered wage from the date it filed the labor certification until the date of the SII event, and the successor-in-interest’s ability to pay the proffered wage from the SII event until the beneficiary acquires lawful permanent resident status
  3. For a valid SII relationship to exist between the SII employer and the original company that filed the labor certification, the petitioner must fully describe and document how the SII employer assumed ownership of the original company.

See USCIS’s August 6, 2009, memo titled "Successor-in-Interest Determinations in Adjudication of Form I-140 Petitions; Adjudicators Field Manual ("AFM") Update to Chapter 22.2(b)(5)" for more information.

Visa Categories That Require a SII Determination

We allow SII employers only for Form I-140 visa classifications that:

  • Require a job offer, and
  • Must be supported by a DOL-approved individual labor certification.

SII determinations do not apply in cases where the beneficiary is requesting portability under INA 204(j) based on an approved Form I-140 because we do not need to see a new Form I-140 in order to make an INA 204(j) determination.

The following table outlines when we will make a SII determination:

Class/Subcategory

Will USCIS Make a SII Determination?

E11, Alien of Extraordinary Ability

No. The E11 visa classification does not require a job offer.

E12, Outstanding Professor or Researcher

No. The E12 visa classification has classification-specific eligibility requirements for petitioners. This means that the petitioning employer must show that it is an institution of higher learning or a private research firm that employs at least 3 full-time researchers. See 8 C.F.R. 204.5(i). Also, no individual labor certification is required.

E13, Multinational Manager or Executive

No. The E13 visa classification has classification-specific eligibility requirements for petitioners. This means that the entity must be multi-national and have a qualifying relationship with the foreign entity which employed the beneficiary abroad. See 8 C.F.R. 204.5(j). Also, no individual labor certification is required.

E21, Advanced Degree Alien or Alien of Exceptional Ability, with Individual Labor Certification

Yes

E21, NIW

No. The E21-NIW visa classification does not require a job offer or a labor certification.

E21 or "EB3", Schedule A, Group I or II

No. These Schedule A classification subcategories have specific requirements for the job offered by the petitioner which must occur before the petitioner files the Form I-140 with USCIS. See 20 C.F.R. 656.

E32, Professional

Yes

E31, Skilled Worker

Yes

EW3, Other Worker

Yes

Requesting Consolidated Processing for SII Cases

We evaluate each SII petition based upon the three factors listed in the How USCIS Determines If an Employer is an SII Employer section above and will adjudicate each petition on its own merits. However, you may request that we accept multiple petitions based on the same transfer and assumption of ownership along with consolidated evidence documenting that transaction. If we grant your request, we will adjudicate those petitions at the same service center and/or at the same time. 

Submit these requests for consolidated processing of SII cases to the National Customer Service Center (NCSC). The NCSC will forward the request to the appropriate service center(s) for a decision, which you should receive within 30 days of the request. The center director will determine whether to grant your consolidated processing request.

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