US H-1Bs can be accepted without Labor Condition Applications

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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that for a 120-day period they will accept H-1B petitions filed without Department of Labor certified Labor Condition Applications (LCAs).

This is following a request from people affected by DOL delays in certifying LCAs. There are processing delays due to implementation of the "iCERT" system which mean that LCAs take longer than 7 days to process. DOL says that the current processing delays are a temporary problem.

The Department of Labor Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) began implementing a new portal system called iCERT for LCA and permanent labor certifications (PERM) filings from 15 April 2009. The iCERT system requires employers and their representatives to set up an online account, from which they have been able to file LCAs and from 1 September 2009 PERM applications.

H-1Bs will be accepted without certified LCAs in the following circumstances:

  • During a 120-day period from November 5, 2009 to March 4, 2010.

  • USCIS will only accept H-1B petitions as long as you have waited for at least seven calendar days after the LCAs were filed with DOL.

  • You must include evidence that the LCA has been filed which must be a copy of DOL's email notice of receipt of the LCA.

  • You must wait until you receive a request for evidence (RFE) from USCIS before you submit the DOL certified LCA to USCIS.

  • Following receipt of the RFE you must respond within 30 calendar days with the DOL certified LCA.

It remains the case that H-1B petitions will be approved only after a certified LCA is received by USCIS.