Chapter 8 - Annual Cap and Waiting List
By Congressional mandate, USCIS may only grant T-1 nonimmigrant status to 5,000 persons in any fiscal year. Derivatives are not subject to this annual cap. However, USCIS does not approve applications for derivative T nonimmigrant status until USCIS has approved T-1 nonimmigrant status for the related principal applicant.
As of 2021, USCIS has never received more than 5,000 principal applications for T-1 nonimmigrant status in a given fiscal year but has created a waiting list procedure by regulation in the event that the statutory cap is ever met in the future.
If the annual cap is met in a given fiscal year, USCIS places all eligible applicants who are not granted T-1 nonimmigrant status due solely to the cap on a waiting list and provides applicants written notice of such placement. USCIS determines priority on the waiting list by the date the application was properly filed, with the oldest applications receiving the highest priority.
In the subsequent fiscal year, USCIS issues a number to each applicant on the waiting list in the order of the highest priority, provided that the applicant remains admissible and eligible for T nonimmigrant status. After USCIS issues T-1 nonimmigrant status to qualifying applicants on the waiting list, USCIS issues any remaining T-1 nonimmigrant numbers for that fiscal year to new qualifying applicants in the order that the applications were properly filed.
If a waiting list is established, USCIS may, but is not required to, grant, renew, or extend deferred action, parole, administrative stays of removal, or other relief, which may ensure an applicant is not removed while awaiting T-1 nonimmigrant status. If USCIS extends such relief, the applicant may apply for work authorization by filing an Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765).
Applicants on the waiting list must remain admissible to the United States and otherwise eligible for T nonimmigrant status. If at any time before final adjudication, USCIS receives information that an applicant is no longer eligible for T nonimmigrant status, USCIS may remove an applicant from the waiting list and terminate any grant of deferred action or parole at its discretion. USCIS provides notice to the applicant of that decision.
[^ 6] See 8 CFR 241.6 (administrative stay of removal). See 8 CFR 274a.12(c)(14) (employment authorization for deferred action grantees demonstrating economic necessity). See 8 CFR 212.5 (parole of noncitizens into the United States).