What is Form I-129?
Form I-129 (Petition for a Non-immigrant Worker) is a document that needs to be submitted by a U.S. employer wishing to sponsor a foreign citizen for temporary employment in the United States. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issues this form.
Workers for Whom a Visa Can Be Sponsored Using Form I-129
The I-129 petition may be filed for the following categories of non-immigrant visas based on employment:
- Temporary employees with H-1B, H-1C, H-2A, or H-3 status.
- Foreign Nationals with exceptional ability who qualify for O-1 status and their essential personnel who qualify for O-2 status.
- Athletes, performers, entertainers, and artists who qualify for P-1, P-2, or P-3 status and their required personnel who qualify for P-1S, P-2S, or P-3S status.
- Cultural exchange visitors who are eligible for Q-1 status; • Religious workers who are eligible for R-1 status.
Additionally, the I-129 petition can be used to prolong the status of foreign citizens who entered the United States on the E-1, E-2, or TN status.
Objectives of the I-129 Petition
As mentioned previously, the I-129 petition can be used for multiple purposes, including:
- To sponsor a foreign citizen who is not residing in the United States but can apply for the corresponding non-immigrant visa at the consulate after the I-129 is approved.
- To change the status of a qualified non-immigrant who is already in the United States.
- To extend the non-immigrant status of a foreign national who is already employed, or
- To modify a foreign national’s approved employment when there is a significant change in job duties, job title, or salary.
I-129 Petition Structure
The primary I-129 petition contains multiple pages, with additional visa category supplements comprising additional pages. (For instance, an employer seeking to employ a foreign national on an E-1 visa would complete the E-1 supplement, while an employer seeking to employ a foreign national on a TN visa would complete the Trade Agreement Supplement.)
The form primarily requests information about the employer and the position the foreign national will fill. There is one section for the biographical information of the foreign national.
The I-129 petition also necessitates the submission of various supporting documents, which vary depending on the non-immigrant status being sought. Before preparing the petition, the form’s instructions should be read carefully for guidance on how to complete the petition and gather the supporting documents.
How to Include Dependent Family Members in a Non-immigrant Visa Application
Dependents of foreign nationals sponsored by an employer are responsible for obtaining the appropriate dependent visa. If the dependent is present in the United States, Form I-539 Application to Extend/Change Non-immigrant Status must be completed and submitted with the employee’s I-129 petition.
A dependent outside the United States can apply for a dependent visa at a U.S. consulate. The dependent must provide a copy of the I-797 approval notice based on Form I-129 and evidence of their relationship to the primary visa holder.
The I-129 petition must contain a supplement corresponding to the requested visa classification. The employer is not required to submit supplement pages unrelated to the visa classification requested.