- This year’s H-1B Registration Period will open at 12PM EST on March 6, 2024 and close at 12PM EST on March 22, 2024.
- Registration Fee will remain $10, Registrations selected for submission as soon as April 1, 2024 will be subject to updated fee increases.
- H-1B Registrations to be selected based on beneficiary to combat widespread fraud.
- New additions also include organizational logins and the option to file online.
- Final rule’s changes restricted to Electronic Registration process, substantive updates to H-1B qualification excluded.
In a recent announcement, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) introduced a final rule designed to fortify the integrity of the H-1B Electronic Registration process. This comprehensive set of changes, which will go into effect for this year’s (FY 2025) H-1B Cap Lottery, addresses concerns related to fraud, streamlines application processes, and brings about an updated selection system. We’re here to break down the important details of this announcement, offering clear guidance and legal expertise every step of the way:
H-1B Registration Period for FY 2025 & Registration Fee Update
As we look ahead to the FY 2025 H-1B cap, the initial registration period is scheduled from 12 PM EST on March 6, 2024, to 12 PM EST on March 22, 2024. During this period, the H-1B Registration Fee will remain at $10. However, please be aware that the increased registration fee will be effective after April 1, 2024, along with the Fee Schedule final rule. We encourage you to stay informed and consider these changes in your strategic immigration planning.
Beneficiary-Centric Selection Process Intended to Combat Fraud
To ensure fairness and reduce the potential for gaming the system, USCIS is introducing a beneficiary-centric selection process. This guarantees that each of you has an equal chance of selection, regardless of the number of registrations submitted on your behalf. Starting with the FY 2025 registration period, USCIS now asks registrants to provide valid passport information for each beneficiary.
It’s important to note that USCIS is implementing these changes to intensify their efforts to combat fraud within the H-1B program. In the recent registration period, USCIS received a record-breaking 780,884 registrations of which 21,890 registrations were eliminated for reasons such as duplication and withdrawals, highlighting the pressing need for enhanced fraud prevention measures as the program grapples with a significant increase in submissions and potential abuse. For a deeper understanding of the necessity for these measures, we encourage you to revisit our previous blog post on the subject.
Premium Processing and Fee Increases
Crucially, H-1B petitions filed in this year’s cap will be subject to increases in Premium Processing, I-129 Base Fee, and Asylum Program Fee, effective April 1, 2024. For a detailed understanding of these changes, please refer to our recent blog post for a more comprehensive understanding of these changes.
New Organizational Logins and Online Filing
In a significant move towards a fully electronic H-1B process, USCIS is launching organizational accounts on February 28, 2024. These accounts will empower multiple individuals within an organization, including your legal representatives, to collaborate seamlessly not only on the H-1B Registrations that have been submitted electronically since March 2020, but now for the first time, the H-1B Petitions themselves.
Changes NOT Included in this Final Rule
An earlier version of a more comprehensive rule addressing additional aspects of the H-1B Program beyond the Electronic Registration – including but not limited to clarifying and/or amending the definition of “specialty occupation” employment or the characteristics necessary to establish whether an employer is exempt from the above-described H-1B Cap, did not make it into this final rule. Therefore, we will remain on the lookout for further updates on substantive issues pertaining to H-1B qualification in the coming months.
These changes represent a major stride in bolstering the integrity of the H-1B program, ensuring a fair and transparent selection process for employers and foreign national workers alike. As we gear up for the FY 2025 H-1B Cap initial registration period starting on March 6, 2024, we want you to stay informed and adapt to these changes. If you have any questions or need clarification on how these adjustments may impact your case, Please contact our office, our dedicated team is here to provide expert guidance and ensure a smooth immigration process for you.