Skip to main content

I-129CW, Petition for a CNMI-Only Nonimmigrant Transitional Worker

ALERT: On July 29, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) in State of New York, et al. v. DHS, et al. and Make the Road NY et al. v. Cuccinelli, et al. enjoined the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from enforcing, applying, implementing, or treating as effective the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds Final Rule for any period during which there is a declared national health emergency in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. (84 FR 41292, Aug. 14, 2019, final rule; as amended by 84 FR 52357, Oct. 2, 2019, final rule correction)

On Jan. 31, 2020, the Secretary of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency, effective Jan. 27, 2020, under section 319 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 247d), in response to COVID-19. On Feb. 24, 2020, DHS implemented the Public Charge Rule to be applied prospectively to any application or petition postmarked, or if applicable, submitted electronically on or after that date. On March 13, 2020, the President issued Proclamation on Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak. On the same day, USCIS issued an alert addressing COVID-19 and public charge determinations under the Public Charge Rule.

As long as the July 29, 2020, SDNY decision is in effect, USCIS will apply the 1999 public charge guidance that was in place before the Public Charge Rule was implemented on Feb. 24, 2020 to the adjudication of any application for adjustment of status on or after July 29, 2020. In addition, USCIS will adjudicate any application or petition for extension of nonimmigrant stay or change of nonimmigrant status on or after July 29, 2020, consistent with regulations in place before the Public Charge Rule was implemented; in other words, we will not apply the public benefit condition.

For applications and petitions that USCIS adjudicates on or after July 29, 2020, pursuant to the SDNY injunction, USCIS will not consider any information provided by an applicant or petitioner that only relates to the evidence required by the Public Charge Rule, including information provided on the Form I-944 or any supporting documentation included with that form, or information on the receipt of public benefits in Part 5 on Form I-539, Part 3 on Form I-539A,  Part 6 on Form I-129, or Part 6 on Form I-129CW, or any additional documentation pertaining to the public benefit condition. Applicants and petitioners whose applications or petitions are postmarked on or after July 29, 2020, should not include the Form I-944 or provide information about the receipt of public benefits on Form I-485, Form I-129, Form I-129CW, Form I-539, or Form I-539A.

USCIS will issue guidance regarding the use of affected forms. In the interim, USCIS will not reject any Form I-485 on the basis of the inclusion or exclusion of Form I-944, nor Forms I-129 and I-539 based on whether Part 6, or Part 5, respectively, has been completed or left blank.

In any public charge inadmissibility determination, USCIS will consider the receipt of public benefits consistently with prior public charge guidance – the 1999 Interim Field Guidance (PDF) and AFM Ch. 61.1. (PDF, 77.92 KB)


ALERT:  On May 14, 2020, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services published an interim final rule (IFR) implementing the Northern Mariana Islands U.S. Workforce Act of 2018. The IFR went into effect on June 18, 2020, and it included a revised Form I-129CW, Petition for a CNMI-Only Nonimmigrant Worker, and instructions.

USCIS will only accept the 06/18/20 edition of Form I-129CW, and will reject any older edition of Form I-129CW postmarked on or after June 18.


An employer uses this form to petition U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for an alien who is ineligible for another employment-based nonimmigrant classification to work as a nonimmigrant in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) temporarily as a CW-1, CNMI-Only Transitional Worker.

Forms and Document Downloads

Form Details

Edition Date

06/18/20. You can find the edition date at the bottom of the page on the form and instructions.

Dates are listed in mm/dd/yy format.

Where to File

Mailing Instructions

All filings for employment or services in the CNMI, regardless of classification, are filed with:

California Service Center
P.O. Box 10698
Laguna Niguel, CA 92607-1098

For courier or express deliveries:

California Service Center
24000 Avila Road
2nd Floor, Room 2312
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677

When completing Form I-129CW, please list your CNMI Post Office Box when asked for a street or physical address.

See the filing instructions for further information.

Don’t forget to sign your form! We will reject any unsigned form.

Filing Fee
$460 (base filing fee).

Additionally, employers filing CW-1 petitions must submit a $200 CNMI education funding fee per beneficiary, per year.

UPDATE: Effective July 25, 2018, employers filing CW-1 petitions must submit a $50 fraud prevention and detection fee with each petition.

A biometric service fee of $85 per beneficiary is required if the beneficiary is present in the CNMI when filing for initial grant of CW-1 status.

When you send a payment, you agree to pay for a government service. Filing and biometric service fees are final and non-refundable, regardless of any action we take on your application, petition, or request, or if you withdraw your request.

Checklist of Required Initial Evidence (for informational purposes only)

Please do not submit this checklist with your Form I-129CW. It is an optional tool to use as you prepare your form, but does not replace statutory, regulatory, and form instruction requirements. We recommend that you review these requirements before completing and submitting your form. Do not send original documents unless specifically requested in the form instructions or applicable regulations.

If you submit any documents (copies or original documents, if requested) in a foreign language, you must include a full English translation along with a certification from the translator verifying that the translation is complete and accurate, and that they are competent to translate from the foreign language to English.

Did you provide the following?

  • A complete CW Classification Supplement to Form I-129CW per beneficiary/employee with the required attestation and evidence that supports the elements in the attestation (to the extent available)
  • Evidence demonstrating you meet the definition of an employer
  • A copy of the Commonwealth or local license for each beneficiary/employee to fully perform or practice the duties of the occupation (if required)
  • Evidence you have posted a job vacancy announcement for the position on the CNMI Department of Labor website 
  • A copy of each beneficiary/employee’s Form I-94, Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Record, if seeking change of status or extension of stay
  • Evidence each beneficiary/employee maintained status if seeking change of status or extension of stay
  • Evidence each beneficiary/employee remains admissible if seeking extension of stay
  • Evidence each beneficiary/employee remains eligible for CW-1 classification if seeking extension of stay
Special Instructions

Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds final rule implementation 

Petitioners requesting an extension of stay or change of status on behalf of aliens who are subject to the new public benefit condition do not need to report the receipt of public benefits on Form I-129CW if such benefits are received before Feb. 24, 2020. Please read all references to Oct. 15, 2019, as though they refer to Feb. 24, 2020.

Duplicate Copies:

The beneficiary may need a visa from the U.S. Department of State if they are found ineligible for a grant of status, a change of status or an extension of stay, or if they travel outside the CNMI.

Please provide a duplicate copy of Form I-129CW and all supporting documentation at the time of filing. Additionally, please provide duplicate copies of all documents sent to USCIS in response to a Request for Evidence or Notice of Intent to Deny. The duplicate copies will be sent to the U.S. Department of State. USCIS will not make a duplicate copy if one is not provided.

Please note: Failure to submit duplicate copies may cause a delay in the U.S. Department of State issuing a visa abroad, if one is needed.

Form I-94 Validity:

When an alien employee with an approved Form I-129CW petition is admitted to the CNMI, U.S. Customs and Border Protection grants the alien employee a period of stay documented on Form I-94 or as noted in the passport or travel document. 

If the expiration date on the granted Form I-94 ends before the end of Form I-129CW’s validity period (as shown on Form I-797, Notice of Action) one of the following must occur before the expiration date on Form I-94 or as noted in the passport or travel document:

  • A request for an extension of stay must be filed on behalf of the alien employee using Form I-129CW; or
  • An application for some other immigration benefit that would allow the alien employee to remain in the CNMI must be filed; or
  • The alien employee must depart from the CNMI.

If the alien employee’s stay is limited as described above, any dependent family members who accompanied or followed to join the alien employee must also:

  • Request an extension of stay using Form I-539, Application To Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status;
  • Apply for some other immigration benefit that would allow them to remain in the CNMI; or
  • Depart the CNMI before the expiration date on their Form I-94 or the date noted in their passport or travel document.

Please note: Premium Processing Service is not available for Form I-129CW filings.

Related Links
Last Reviewed/Updated: