The processing data provided in this blog is manually fetched every month from the USCIS Case Processing Times website to ensure accuracy. These figures are directly from USCIS and are updated by our team to provide the most current and reliable information for our readers.
If you’re an employer looking to hire foreign workers in the United States, you may need to file an I-129 Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker. This form is used to request temporary workers for a variety of employment-based nonimmigrant visa categories, including H-1B, L-1, O-1, and more.
One of the most important considerations for employers is the processing time for the I-129 petition. The processing time can vary depending on a number of factors, including the type of visa being sought, the USCIS service center processing the petition, and the overall volume of petitions being received by USCIS.
At a high level, the processing time for an I-129 petition can range from a few weeks to several months. In some cases, it may even take over a year for USCIS to process an I-129 petition. In this article, we’ll dive deeper into the factors that can impact the processing time for an I-129 petition, and provide some tips for minimizing delays in the process.
I-129 Processing Time
|Category||Office||80% of cases are completed within|
|Blanket L||California Service Center||2 Months|
|E - Treaty traders and investors||California Service Center||2.5 Months|
|E3 - Certain specialty occupation professionals from Australia||Vermont Service Center||2.5 Months|
|H-1B - Specialty occupation - Visa to be issued abroad||California Service Center||2 Months|
|H-1B - Specialty occupation - Visa to be issued abroad||Texas Service Center||2.5 Months|
|H-1B - Specialty occupation - Visa to be issued abroad||Vermont Service Center||2 Months|
|H-1B - Specialty occupation - Change of status in the U.S.||California Service Center||2 Months|
|H-1B - Specialty occupation - Change of status in the U.S.||Texas Service Center||2.5 Months|
|H-1B - Specialty occupation - Change of status in the U.S.||Vermont Service Center||2 Months|
|H-1B - Specialty occupation - Extension of stay in the U.S.||California Service Center||2 Months|
|H-1B - Specialty occupation - Extension of stay in the U.S.||Nebraska Service Center||2 Months|
|H-1B - Specialty occupation - Extension of stay in the U.S.||Texas Service Center||2.5 Months|
|H-1B - Specialty occupation - Extension of stay in the U.S.||Vermont Service Center||2 Months|
|H-2A - Temporary agricultural workers||California Service Center||15 Days|
|H-2B - Temporary nonagricultural workers||California Service Center||1 Week|
|H-2B - Temporary nonagricultural workers||Vermont Service Center||5 Weeks|
|H-3 - Temporary trainees||California Service Center||2.5 Months|
|H-3 - Temporary trainees||Vermont Service Center||2 Months|
|L - Intracompany transfers||California Service Center||2.5 Months|
|L - Intracompany transfers||Texas Service Center||2.5 Months|
|O - Extraordinary ability||California Service Center||1.5 Months|
|O - Extraordinary ability||Vermont Service Center||1.5 Months|
|P - Athletes, artists, and entertainers||California Service Center||2.5 Months|
|P - Athletes, artists, and entertainers||Vermont Service Center||5 Weeks|
|Q - Cultural exchange visitors||California Service Center||2.5 Months|
|Q - Cultural exchange visitors||Vermont Service Center||2.5 Months|
|R - Religious occupation||California Service Center||2.5 Months|
|TN - North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) professional||Vermont Service Center||2.5 Months|
Factors that Impact I-129 Processing Time
As mentioned, there are several factors that can impact the processing time for an I-129 petition. Here are a few of the most important factors to keep in mind:
Visa Category: The processing time for an I-129 petition can vary depending on the specific nonimmigrant visa category being sought. For example, H-1B petitions typically have a longer processing time than other visa categories due to the high volume of petitions received each year.
USCIS Service Center: The location of the USCIS service center processing the petition can also impact the processing time. USCIS has several service centers located throughout the United States, and each center may have a different processing time for I-129 petitions.
Volume of Petitions: The overall volume of I-129 petitions being received by USCIS can impact the processing time as well. During peak filing seasons, such as the H-1B cap season in April, the volume of petitions can be extremely high, which can lead to longer processing times.
Tips for Minimizing I-129 Processing Time
If you’re looking to file an I-129 petition, there are several steps you can take to minimize the processing time and avoid unnecessary delays. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
File Early: One of the most effective ways to minimize processing time is to file your petition as early as possible. This can help you avoid peak filing seasons and give USCIS more time to process your petition.
Double-Check Your Forms: Make sure you’ve completed all forms correctly and provided all required documentation. Any errors or omissions can lead to delays or even a denial of your petition.
Track Your Petition: Once your petition has been filed, you can track its status using the USCIS website. Make sure to check the status regularly and follow up with USCIS if you notice any delays or issues.
Consider Premium Processing: If you’re willing to pay an additional fee, you can request premium processing for your I-129 petition. This will expedite the processing time and typically result in a decision within 15 calendar days.
Filing an I-129 petition can be a complex and time-consuming process, but by understanding the factors that impact processing time and taking steps to minimize delays, you can help ensure a smooth and successful outcome. Whether you’re an employer seeking to hire foreign workers or a foreign worker seeking temporary employment in the United States, working with an experienced immigration attorney can be invaluable in navigating the I-129 process.