USCIS Reaches CW-1 Cap for Fiscal Year 2016
USCIS has received a sufficient number of petitions to reach the numerical limit (the “cap”) of 12,999 workers who may be issued CW-1 visas or otherwise provided with CW-1 status for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016. May 5, 2016 was the final receipt date for CW-1 worker petitions requesting an employment start date before October 1, 2016.
What Happens After the Cap is Reached
USCIS will reject CW-1 petitions that were received after May 5, 2016 and that request an employment start date before October 1, 2016. This includes CW-1 petitions for extensions of stay that are subject to the CW-1 cap. The filing fees will be returned with any rejected CW-1 petition.
If an extension petition is rejected, then the beneficiaries listed on that petition are not permitted to work beyond the validity period of the previously approved petition. Therefore, affected beneficiaries, including any CW-2 derivative family members of a CW-1 nonimmigrant, must depart the CNMI within 10 days after the CW-1 validity period has expired, unless they have some other authorization to remain under U.S. immigration law.
Petitions that are Subject to the CW-1 Cap
The following Form I-129CW petitions are generally subject to the CW-1 cap:
- New employment petitions, and
- Extension of stay petitions.
All CW-1 workers are subject to the cap unless the worker has already been counted towards the cap in the same fiscal year. The U.S. government’s fiscal year begins on October 1 and ends on September 30.
The CW-1 cap does not apply to CW-2 dependents.
Determining the Appropriate Cap for a CW-1 Worker
USCIS uses the employment start date requested to determine in which fiscal year cap a CW-1 worker is counted. Please see the chart below.
If the employment start date falls between:
Then the worker will be subject to the following CW-1 cap:
Oct. 1, 2015 and Sept. 30, 2016
Oct. 1, 2016 and Sept. 30, 2017
When to File CW-1 Petitions
USCIS encourages CW-1 employers to file a petition for a CW-1 nonimmigrant worker up to 6 months in advance of the requested employment start date, and to file as early as possible within that timeframe. Please note, however, that USCIS will reject a petition if it is filed more than 6 months in advance.
FY 2017 CW-1 Cap Petitions
USCIS is currently accepting CW-1 petitions requesting employment start dates on or after October 1, 2016 (which apply to the FY 2017 CW-1 cap).
For more information about the CW-1 work program, visit our website at https://www.uscis.gov/cw-1 or call the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283.