The Immigrant Visa Petition (I-140)
The University of Kansas files the I-140 form “Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker” on behalf of the foreign national employee in order to obtain a visa number. For EB-2 (Special Handling and Standard Labor Certification) cases the purpose of the I-140 is twofold:
- It enables USCIS to verify that the foreign national employee meets the requirements of the job as specified on the Labor Certification
- It ensures that the sponsoring employer has the ability to pay the offered wages to the employee.
For EB-1-2 (Outstanding Professor/Researcher) cases the I-140 is the point at which USCIS verifies that the foreign national employee meets the evidentiary requirements for the “outstanding” designation.
The I-140 is a mandatory step in the green card process for all employment-based petitions. Once an I-140 is approved, International Programs will receive an approval notice that we will provide to the international employee. This notice also includes a priority date. This priority date determines the foreign national employee’s position in the green card queue. When the priority date becomes current, the individual is eligible to apply for adjustment to permanent resident status. The U.S. Department of State publishes a monthly “Visa Bulletin” that indicates the priority dates being processed for each category of green card.
I-140 petitions are processed by the USCIS Nebraska and Texas Service Centers. A general estimate of the expected processing time can be obtained based upon the Service Center processing times. These are published on the USCIS website. The processing time for any particular case can vary depending upon whether there is a request for further evidence and due to general variations from case to case. Typical processing times range from four months to one year. It is possible to expedite most I-140 filings by using premium processing at a cost of $1225. This will ensure a response from USCIS within 15 calendar days.