The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on March 24, 2006 changes to the filing procedure for two popular employer-sponsored immigration forms. Starting on April 1st, employers filing a Petition for a Non-immigrant Worker (Form I-129) should mail that form directly to the Vermont Service Center. Also starting on April 1st, employers filing an Immigrant Petition for an Alien Worker (Form I-140) should mail that form directly to the Nebraska Service Center. Employers should file any accompanying forms at these same centralized locations.
These changes mark the first phase of the USCIS initiative to use centralized filing and bi-specialized adjudication. Through this effort, USCIS will align similar workloads between two “sister” service centers. After April 1st, the Vermont and California Service Centers will process all I-129s and related dependent applications. The Nebraska and Texas Service Centers will process all I-140s and related permanent residency applications. Pairing work between service centers will allow USCIS to better manage cases and improve customer service.
Customers will receive a receipt notice from the service center that will process their case. Applicants and petitioners should note that the filing location for the form type is not necessarily the Service Center that will decide the case. USCIS will continue to process cases received before April 1st using preexisting procedures. USCIS has previously instructed customers to file I-129 and I-140 petitions at one of its four service centers. Once the amended filing instructions take effect on April 1st, however, USCIS will not reject any I-129 or I-140 sent to the incorrect service center. Instead, USCIS will accept the filing, redirect it to the correct location, and honor the initial receipt date. The April 1st changes, establishing a new filing location for forms I-129, I-140 and related forms, do not affect other aspects of the forms’ instructions and do not change the forms themselves. USCIS will continue to honor previous versions of the forms.
More information about this change is available by calling USCIS National Customer Service Center (NCSC) toll-free at 1-800-375-5283, or visiting the USCIS website at uscis.gov.
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