The USCIS has issued a new version of the Form I-140
The rumor mill has been turning regarding recent changes to the I-140, Immigration Petition for an Alien worker. Unfortunate tales of I-140 petitions being filed one-day-to-late have been popping up around the immigration law community. While I cannot dispute the accuracy of claims that perfectly sound I-140 petitions have been rejected for such an arbitrary reason as the movement of the location of a few check boxes on the Form, I am confident that such rejections were not the intention of the USCIS.
What is true is that the I-140 document was altered by the USCIS on January 31st, 2010. What is also true is that this alternation was not foreshadowed or publicized on the USCIS website or other relevant media. One is left to speculate why the federal government would abruptly alter such an important document without making it known ahead of time, and therefore cause a small panic for certain immigrants and petitioners alike. Whatever the reason may be, it is important to note that the old version of the From, I-140 will be accepted until March 2, 2010.
What has changed?
On the first page, under Part 2, a box has been added that allows a petitioner to indicate whether the I-140 has been submitted in order to amend a previously filed I-140 petition. There is also a box for the previous receipt number and the indication whether or not the petition is for a schedule A. I. or II. category. It would appear that this new box replaces the prior, USCIS suggested, practice of placing a bright piece of paper immediately under the I-140 petition that indicated in bold lettering that the instant petition was for an I-140 amendment. While it is obvious that this addition is welcomed and needed, it would have been courteous for the Service to indicate that such as change was forthcoming. Foreign nationals who have endured the immigration process long enough to file an I-140, and especially those who qualify for an amended I-140, deserve to have a little more consideration.
Under part 4, there have been two checkboxes added. First, there is a box asking if the instant I-140 is being filed without the original labor certification document. The checkbox seems to relate to the issue of amendment of the I-140 petition. The actual labor certification document is a unique document, printed on distinctive paper that includes an individual case number and security strip. Once this document is signed, it is submitted with the Form I-140. Logically, if you are filing an amended I-140 petition, the original Labor Certification Document has been filed with the previously filed I-140 petition, rendering it unavailable. Only the Department of Labor can issue an official duplicate copy of a Labor Certification Document. Conveniently, the new Form I-140 includes a checkbox that asks if the Petitioner would like the USCIS to request a duplicate.
Finally, the new I-140 ads a box for the employer to place an e-mail address and position title on the signature section of part 9 on page five. This is in keeping with the USCIS trend toward emphasis on electronic notification of the employer as to immigration matters.
In conclusion, old I-140 forms should be accepted if received by the USCIS by March 3, 2010. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your I-140, contact our immigration attorneys or call The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates Co., LPA at the nearest office close to you to consult with an attorney.