Over the summer, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published an updated edition of Form I-129S, Nonimmigrant Petition Based on Blanket L Petition. The new edition is dated “6/2/16.” Blanket L visa applicants with consular appointments have been required to use the new version since August 29, 2016. However, USCIS had been slower to provide an effective date for use of the new form with USCIS change or extension of status filings until just recently.
USCIS has now updated its website directing all petitioners requesting an extension of stay or change of status for a beneficiary who entered the United States based on an approved blanket L petition to use the new Form I-129S. USCIS will accept Form I-129 extension of stay/change of status requests without the accompanying Form I-129S until November 9, 2016. Starting on November 10, 2016, USCIS may reject any Form I-129 for an L-1 blanket request that does not also include the Form I-129S.
The new version of the Form I-129S features multiple, significant changes including requests for:
- percentage of time the beneficiary will spend performing duties on a daily basis
- details of offsite work that L-1B applicants perform including the names of their supervisors and the nature of the supervision and control of their work;
- a description of why the placement at the worksite is not an arrangement to provide labor for hire and how the beneficiary’s duties at the worksite relate to the need for specialized knowledge;
- the beneficiary’s foreign employment, the yearly wage received expressed in U.S. dollars, and the number of hours worked per week;
- Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) certification, and more.
Employers should take care to craft appropriate responses to the questions noted above since the level and type of detail provided on the form could make a difference in how the application is adjudicated. Otherwise immediate attention should be given to the content of the application packet itself. Employers can ensure that Blanket L applications include the appropriate I-129S by reviewing the bottom left corner of the Form I-129S to locate the “6/2/2016” edition date. All Blanket L applications filed with the consulate should contain this new form now. All Blanket L petitions going to the USCIS should include the new version of the Form by no later than November 10, 2016.