On April 3, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting CW-1 petitions subject to the fiscal year (FY) 2018 cap. Employers in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) use the CW-1 program to employ foreign workers who are otherwise ineligible to work under other nonimmigrant worker categories. The cap for CW-1 visas for FY 2018 has not been set, but it is required to be less than the FY 2017 cap, which is currently set at 12,998.
For the FY 2018 cap, an extension petition may request a start date of, even if that worker’s current status will not expire by that date. USCIS encourages employers to file a petition for a CW-1 nonimmigrant worker up to 6 months in advance of the proposed start date of employment and as early as possible within that timeframe. USCIS will reject a petition if it is filed more than 6 months in advance.
Remember to submit all required documentation, including evidence that you posted the job vacancy announcement on the Department of Labor website.
Important reminder: As of Dec. 23, 2016, the new filing fee for a CW-1 petition is $460. A petitioning CNMI employer must also pay the required education fee for each requested CW-1 worker. Go to the Form I-129CW, Petition for a CNMI-Only Nonimmigrant Transitional Worker page to see the current fee amounts. You must include the correct fee or USCIS will reject and return your form.
Employers must submit the latest version of Form I-129CW, which has an edition date of 12/23/16. All forms can be downloaded for free at uscis.gov/forms. Additionally, you can request paper copies through USCIS forms request line (800-870-3676) and forms by mail service.