September 30, 2020 UPDATE: A federal court blocked implementation of the new filing fees mentioned below, in an order issued on September 29, 2020, while litigation challenging the legality of the fees continues. At this writing, it’s unclear whether USCIS will delay requiring use of the new forms due to this court ruling.
October 1, 2020 Update: USCIS said it will honor the injunction and continue to accept prior versions of USCIS forms, with no fee changes. (The Government is still likely to appeal the injunction, however).
Coinciding with a final rule increasing the filing fees for many immigration forms, on September 2, 2020, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced updates to its Policy Manual reflecting that only the newest versions of certain immigration forms will be accepted as of October 2, 2020, when the new filing fees take effect.
In addition, USCIS is issuing revised forms specific to each subcategory of temporary foreign worker, doing away with the current generic I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker form.
Employers will need to use the updated form version dated October 2, 2020 for any nonimmigrant worker petition that will be received by USCIS on or after that date. In Maine, the most relevant forms that employers must use for petitions filed on or after October 2, 2020 are:
- New I-129H1 form- Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker: H-1B or H-1B1 Classifications
- New I-129H2A form – Petition for H-2A Workers
- New I-129H2B form – Petition for H-2B Workers.
New forms have also been created to petition for other classes of nonimmigrant workers visas, including L and O visas.
USCIS has also updated its Policy Manual to reflect another change from the new filing fees rule, lengthening the allowed time from 15 calendar days to 15 business days for the agency to act on petitions filed by employers who pay the premium processing fee for faster processing.
In addition, noncitizens filing for employment authorization on or after October 2, 2020 must use the October 2, 2020 version of the I-765 form.