Law Offices of Stuart J. Reich, PLLC

Practice Limited to Immigration & Nationality Law

11 Broadway, Suite 615
New York, NY 10004

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Labor Condition Application FAQs

Q: What is the Labor Condition Application, or "LCA"?

A: The Labor Condition Application is an application made by the potential H-1B employer to the U.S. Department of Labor - not to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. It is a prerequisite to the filing of the H-1B application with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (as well as to filing TN petitions for Mexican nationals).

It is essentially a certification by the employer that they have complied with certain requirements, and will comply with certain other requirements should the H-1B Petition be granted. A detailed explanation of what the employer is promising may be found here.

Q: Is the Labor Condition Application anything like the Labor Certification? What are the similarities and differences?

A: These two applications are frequently confused. Both are processed by the Department of Labor, and both are prerequisites for certain filings with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. However, the Labor Condition Application is a prerequisite to a non-immigrant, or temporary, visa - the H-1B. The Labor Certification is a prerequisite for certain types of Permanent Residence Applications.

Further, the Department of Labor is certifying something different in each case: in the case of the Labor Condition Application, the DOL certifies only that the application submitted by the employer containing the necessary attestations is complete, while for the Labor Certification the Department of Labor is actually certifying that no qualified and willing U.S. worker is available who could perform the job based upon an actual test of the labor market.

Q: What is the process for obtaining a Labor Condition Application?

A: Labor Condition Applications are submitted electronically - it is generally a matter of simply filling out a form on-line with information about the employer and the proposed job and submitting, with approval oftwn taking approximately a week to come through.

Q: Can I begin work once the labor condition application is approved?

A: No. The Labor Condition Application does not confer any immigration status - neither the right to be in the U.S. nor the right to work.

Normally, only approval of the actual H-1B petition by USCIS confers the right to be in the U.S. in that status and to work. There is one exception to this – an H-1B petition filed by a new employer to change the sponsoring entity of a foreign national who is already working for one employer on a H-1B allows the foreign national to begin work for the new employer once it is filed with USCIS.

However, even here filing or approval of the Labor Condition Application for such a petition isn't enough to confer status or employment authorization.



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The above is presented for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship with our firm. The information provided should not be used as guidance in pursuing an immigration matter absent consultation with a qualified immigration attorney.