I-129 & I-539 Filing Location Change

Posted on March 13, 2007 by Warren Wen | Category: Immigration

Alert for the H-1B Applicants or Extension/Change of Status Applicants:
The USCIS’ New Policy Changes the Place for I-129 & I-539 filings


On March 5, 2007, the USCIS issued a new policy that will change the location for I-129 petitions and I-539 applications filing.  According to the new policy, the USCIS is requiring customers to directly file their applications to the service center based on their temporary employment place or residence.  The customers can expect the service center where they filed the applications to generate the receipt notice of the filings and complete the adjudications.  This is a streamlining of the Bi-specialization process which previously required that applications or petitions be filed with one centralized location and subsequently distributed to another service center for issuance of receipt and final adjudication.

Effective April 2, 2007, all forms I-129 and I-539 were to be filed with either the California Service Center or Vermont Service Center, whichever was applicable.  Customers are responsible for the filing of the forms with the correct service center and they should verify that they used the correct filing address by referring to the instructions on the relevant form.  Employers requesting the Premium Processing Service on Form I-129 must also file the Form I-907, the Request for Premium Processing Services.

The USCIS will accept Forms I-129 and I-539 filed in accordance with the old filing instructions from April 2 to April 16.  However, if a Form I-129 or I-539 is filed on or after April 17, 2007, and is not submitted to the correct filing location, it will be rejected and returned to the petitioner/applicant with fee and instructions for proper filing.

In recent years, due to the shortage of H-1B quota, H-1B visas became unavailable to foreign students or workers around May or June even though the calendar year did not start until October 1st of each year.  As a result, a lot of potential H-1B applicants began to prepare for the H-1B filing long before April 1st of each year.  Because of this new change of the policy regarding I-129 and I-539 filing, these H-1B applicants need to take extra efforts to make sure their I-129 petitions are filed with proper service center.  Otherwise, if their petitions are rejected for filing to the wrong place, they could run the risk of losing their legal status.

This article is only for your reference. Please do not apply mechanically to any exact cases. You are welcome to consult our attorneys at Liu & Associates, P.C. For contact information, please click here.