CW-1 Visa

CW-1: CNMI- Only Transitional Worker

A CW visa allows employers in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana to apply for temporary permission to hire nonimmigrant workers who would not be allowed to work under other work categories. Employers who wish to hire employees with CW status must:

  • 1) be engaged in legitimate business (this must be a real, active, and operating commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking which produces services or goods for profit, or is a governmental, charitable, or other valid nonprofit entity),
  • 2) consider all readily available United States workers for the position being offered,
  • 3) offer terms and conditions of employment consistent with the nature of the employer’s business in the CNMI,
  • 4) file the necessary forms to hire transitional workers,
  • 5) comply with all federal and CNMI requirements that relate to employment, 6) pay reasonable transportation costs of the individual to the individual’s last place of foreign residence if the individual is involuntarily dismissed from employment for any reason before the end of the Visa period.

 

A nonimmigrant worker who wishes to be classified as a CW-1 immigrant must show:

 

  • 1) he or she is ineligible for any other employment based nonimmigrant status under United States immigration law,
  • 2) he or she will enter or stay in the CNMI to work in an occupational category designed as needing alien workers to supplement the resident work force,
  • 3) he or she is the beneficiary of a petition filed by a legitimate employer who is doing business in the CNMI,
  • 4) he or she is not present in the United States, other than CNMI,
  • 5) he or she is lawfully present in the CNMI if he or she is in the CNMI,
  • 6) he or she is otherwise admissible to the United States or is granted any necessary waiver or a ground of inadmissibility.

 

There are four main categories for employers with regards to the application process.

 

  • 1) If the employer is petitioning for one or more workers who are lawfully present in the CNMI with a federal nonimmigrant status then they must submit a Form I-129CW with the $325 application fee and must submit a mandatory CNMI education funding fee of $150 per beneficiary.
  • 2) If the employer is petitioning for one or more workers who are lawfully present in the CNMI with a CNMI permit OR have parole authority granted by USCIS or CBP then the employer must submit a Form I-129CW with the $325 application fee as well as submit a mandatory CNMI education funding fee of $150 per beneficiary. The employer or the worker must also submit an $85 biometrics fee if they are requesting a grant of status in the CNMI.
  • 3) If the employer is petitioning for one or more workers who are requesting consular processing abroad then they must submit a Form I-129CW with the $325 application fee as well as submit a mandatory CNMI education funding fee of $150 per beneficiary. The employer should not submit a biometrics fee. The biometrics fee may be required by the Department of State when the employee applies for their f abroad.
  • 4) If the employer is requesting an extension of CW status for a nonimmigrant worker then they must submit a Form I-129CW with the $325 application fee as well as submit a mandatory CNMI education funding fee or $150 per worker.

 

Any nonimmigrant worker who has been living lawfully in the CNMI and wishes to obtain CW status must have their employer submit all of the following documents: a form I-129CW with the application fee, a mandatory $150 education fee, any supporting evidence that the information provided about the worker, the employer and the work position is correct and meets eligibility criteria. IF the worker is lawfully present in the CNMI with a permit and parole authorized by the UCIS or CBP, then the employer must also include the biometrics fee with the petition if the employee is requesting a grant of CW-1 status in the CNMI rather than overseas.

If the worker is a foreign national worker living abroad and seeking employment in the CNMI then the following documentation must be submitted by the employer: A Form I-129CW with an application fee, a required $150 education fee, any and all supporting evidence that the information provided about the employee and employer and the work position is accurate and meets all eligibility requirements.

If the applicant for a CNMI has dependents who are seeking a grant of CW-2 status, then a Form I-539 may be filed along with the employer’s I-129CW petition for the CW-1 principal, once the CW-1 principal is submitted by the employer. Dependents have the option of waiting until the CW-1 petition is granted, but they are required to be lawfully present in the CNMI at the time of filing I-539s in order to be eligible for a grant of CW-2 status in the CNMI. Because of this, dependents may need to file the I-539 before the I-129CW is granted in order to retain eligibility for CW-2 status as a dependent. A dependent is not given employment authorization with CW-2 status.

A nonimmigrant worker with CW nonimmigrant status will not be given that status if he or she violates any terms or conditions associated with that CW status. But, when the violation is solely caused by termination of employment, the worker will not violate his or her status if: the worker obtains new employment within 30 days of the date of termination, or an employee files a petition on the worker’s behalf. If new work is found, the new employer must file a petition for the foreign worker before the end of his or her 30 day period in order for him or her to remain lawfully present in the CNMI. If this petition is not filed within 30 days, the worker must leave that CNMI and the worker will no longer have status effective on the termination date of CW-1 employment.

 

For more information regarding CW-1 Visas, and the process of obtaining a CW-1, please contact the Law Office of Jeffery Bennett via phone: 816-759-2776 (English), 816-759-2777 (Spanish); or via email: jyb@jybennettlaw.com.