You might have a great foreign employee lined up for a job, but you can’t hire them until the U.S. government approves your pending labor certification. Unfortunately, it sometimes can take several months for the Department of Labor to issue a permanent labor certification. While you’re waiting, you can check the status of your application.
Checking the Status
Find the processing times.
The Department of Labor provides processing times here: https://icert.doleta.gov/. Click on the “Processing Times” tab. These times are updated once a month.
- Look for “PERM” under the Processing Queue column. To the right is the Request Date. This date reflects the month and year of the applications which the agency is currently processing.
- For example, the Request Date might read January 2017. This means that applications filed in January 2017 are being reviewed. If you filed in March 2017, then the department has not yet reached your application.
- Check the processing times every month to see how fast the department is moving.
Check your filing date. If you filed your application online, then log into the Permanent Case Management System at http://www.plc.doleta.gov. Check your filing date. Call the National Processing Center (NPC) if the agency is processing applications for months after you filed.
- If you filed a paper application, then you should call the National Processing Center and get the status update.
Call the National Processing Center. You can reach the NPC’s Help Desk at 404-893-0101. Tell them your name and the filing date of your application. Ask if anything is missing and what your next steps should be.
Choose a next step if your application is denied.
If you’re denied, you’ll have 30 days to decide what you want to do. If you do nothing, then the denial becomes final. You should meet with an immigration attorney to discuss your best options, which will depend on the circumstances:
- Request reconsideration. You can ask the certifying officer to take another look and reconsider the denial. This is a good choice if you have extra evidence to present in support of your application. Your cover letter should explicitly state you want “reconsideration.”
- Request review. You can also ask the Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) to review in the first instance by including the words “request for review” in your cover letter. Alternately, if your request for reconsideration is denied, your appeal will be forwarded to BALCA for consideration.
- File a new PERM application. Because BALCA rarely overturns a denial, you might want to go ahead and submit a new appeal. However, you generally must complete a new recruitment campaign unless you were denied shortly after applying. Check with your attorney about the best choice for you.
- To file a new PERM application, you’ll need to show the Department of Labor, through a series of tests, that there are no U.S. residents who are willing and able to do the job instead of your foreign beneficiary. You’ll also need to demonstrate that your PERM certification won’t negatively affect the U.S. economy.
Complete Form I-140 for your alien worker.
If your application was certified, you have 180 days to complete Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for an Alien Worker, and file it with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
- You can download the form and instructions from the USCIS website.
Submit all required paperwork.
When you submit your Form I-140, you must also attach the certified ETA Form 9089 (the PERM document from the Department of Labor), along with other documents specified by USCIS.
- Remember to include the filing fee. As of May 2017, the fee is $700. Make your check or money order payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security.” Don’t use any other initials, such as “DHS” or “USDHS.”
- Find out where to file by calling the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283.