Major Updates to the H-1B Cap Registration and Selection Process
The initial registration period for the FY 2025 H-1B cap will open at noon Eastern on March 6, 2024, and run through noon Eastern on March 22, 2024. USCIS has announced several significant changes to the H-1B program aimed at strengthening the integrity of and reducing the potential for fraud in the H-1B registration process. Steps have been implemented to reduce the potential for “gaming” the registration system and ensuring each beneficiary has the same chance of being selected, regardless of the number of registrations submitted on their behalf. USCIS is also making updates to the H-1B registration accounts, increasing fees associated with the registration and filing of H-1B petitions and launched online filing options for H-1B petitioners.
“Beneficiary-Centered” Selection Process
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) has modified the H-1B registration selection process, transitioning to a “beneficiary-centered” selection process aimed at discouraging employers from sending in multiple registrations for the same individual without intending in advance to make legitimate job offers. Instead of selecting by registration, USCIS will select registrations by unique beneficiary, meaning individuals will be entered into the lottery once, regardless of how many registrations are submitted on their behalf. Starting this year, USCIS will require registrants to provide valid passport information or valid travel document information for each beneficiary. The passport or travel document provided must be the one the beneficiary, if or when abroad, intends to use to enter the United States if issued an H-1B visa. Each beneficiary must only be registered under one passport or travel document. The rule will go into effect in 2024, within 30 days of publication and before the H-1B registration process for the FY 2025 H-1B cap starts on March 6, 2024.
Organizational Accounts & Online Filing
On Feb. 28, 2024, USCIS will launch new organizational accounts in the USCIS online portal that will allow multiple people within an organization and their legal representatives to collaborate on and prepare H-1B registrations, H-1B petitions, and any associated Form I-907. While paper filing of Form I-129 H-1B petitions will still be available, USCIS will encourage users to use the online filing options, which will be available from April 1, 2024. Note, USCIS also announced that it will automatically convert existing MyUSCIS accounts to the new organizational accounts on February 28. The updated accounts and expanded online services are aimed at making the H-1B process more convenient and efficient for users. USCIS is holding several “Tech Talks” sessions in February so individuals can ask questions about the new accounts in preparation for the registration season.
Increased USCIS Filing Fees
Though the H-1B registration fee will remain the same during the March 2024 registration period, this will be the last year that the registration fee will be $10. USCIS published a final rule adjusting many USCIS filing fees including the I-129, I-907 and H-1B registration fee, which will go into effect April 1, 2024. The filing fee for an I-129 H-1B will increase from $460 to $780 and the I-907 fee to request premium processing will increase from $2,500 to $2,805. The full Fee Schedule as well as answers to frequently asked questions can be found on the USCIS website.
Please contact an MVA Immigration Team Member if you have any questions.