USCIS and the U.S. Department of State (DOS) today announced the launch of USCIS/DOS e-Approval for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, for the H-2A (temporary agricultural worker) classification. Beginning Wednesday, May 11, 2016, this new electronic process will allow USCIS to send approval information for H-2A petitions to DOS by the end of the next business day. DOS will accept this electronic information in place of a Form I-797 approval notice and allow its consular posts to proceed with processing an H-2A nonimmigrant visa application, including conducting any required interview.
USCIS will continue the current practice of updating My Case Status online upon approving a case and mailing approval notices to petitioners. For additional information on how USCIS will mail notices to petitioners, see the Web alert about using prepaid mailers for H-2A petitions. Employers will not be charged any additional fees for the USCIS/DOS e-Approval process.
The goal of the USCIS/DOS e-Approval process is to:
· Reduce delays for U.S. employers that wish to employ H-2A agricultural workers;
· Reduce the amount of paperwork between USCIS and DOS;
· Replace the current paper-based USCIS/DOS notification process with an electronic process that will make the visa process more efficient for our customers; and
· Provide greater efficiency and consistency in transmitting information to DOS consular posts.