The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced special considerations for certain CW-1 petitions seeking an extension of status for temporary workers in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). In light of processing delays in the Temporary Labor Certification (TLC) by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), USCIS will accept these petitions as timely filed even if received after the current CW-1 petition validity expires.
Typically, DHS regulations require that CW-1 petitions be filed only for workers lawfully present in the CNMI, and USCIS won't approve extensions if the worker's status has expired. Additionally, CW-1 petitions must include an approved TLC according to statutory requirements and DHS and DOL regulations.
Despite these regulations, USCIS holds discretionary authority to excuse late filings for extension petitions in specific situations. In this context, USCIS deems it appropriate to exercise this authority for late filings of CW-1 petitions in the CNMI, but only if certain conditions are met. Firstly, the TLC application must be filed with DOL at least 60 days before the requested start date. The petition must be properly filed and include an approved TLC. USCIS must receive the petition no later than 30 days after TLC approval or by November 15, 2022, whichever comes first.
If an employer adheres to these requirements and files an extension petition accordingly, the CW-1 worker is permitted to continue employment with the same employer for up to 240 days beyond the authorized period of stay. This period lasts from the expiration of the authorized stay until USCIS adjudicates the petition, or in the case of a non-frivolous petition for extension of stay with a change of employer, until the petition is adjudicated.