As a new fiscal year approaches, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is taking definitive steps to enhance the H-1B visa registration process’s integrity. The final rule announced by USCIS seeks to minimize fraud potential and establish a more equitable chance for each beneficiary during the selection process. With this development, USCIS also introduces the initial registration dates for the fiscal year (FY) 2025 H-1B cap, along with an innovative online filing system for H-1B petitions.
USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou emphasized the agency’s ongoing efforts to improve application procedures, stating, “The improvements in these areas should make H-1B selections more equitable for petitioners and beneficiaries and will allow for the H-1B process to be fully electronic from registration, if applicable, until final decision and transmission of approved petitions to the Department of State.”
H-1B Registration Final Rule
The new regulations will usher in a beneficiary-centric selection process, pivoting from selecting registrations to selecting unique beneficiaries. This change is aimed at reducing fraudulent submissions and ensuring fairness in the selection odds for each individual, regardless of the number of registrations an employer submits. Starting in FY 2025, USCIS will require registrants to provide valid passport or travel document information for each beneficiary, which must be the document intended for U.S. entry if an H-1B visa is granted.
This rule also provides flexibility for petitioners regarding the requested employment start date, allowing for dates beyond October 1 of the relevant fiscal year, in alignment with current policy. Furthermore, the rule empowers USCIS to deny or revoke petitions linked to false attestations or invalid registrations, including issues with registration fees.
FY 2025 H-1B Cap Initial Registration Period
The initial registration period for the FY 2025 H-1B cap is set to commence at noon Eastern on March 6, 2024, and will conclude at noon Eastern on March 22, 2024. Prospective petitioners, along with their representatives, must utilize the USCIS online account system to register each beneficiary for the selection process and submit the required registration fee.
Online Filing for H-1B Petitions
USCIS is paving the way for a smoother application process by introducing new organizational accounts, effective February 28, 2024. These accounts will enable multiple individuals within an organization, including legal representatives, to collaborate on preparing H-1B registrations and petitions, as well as any associated requests for premium processing (Form I-907). Online filing of Form I-129 for non-cap H-1B petitions and the accompanying Form I-907 will also launch on the same date. For selected H-1B cap petitions, online filing will become available on April 1, 2024.
Petitioners who prefer to file paper-based petitions will still have the option to submit Form I-129 and any associated Form I-907 in a traditional manner. However, during the initial phase of the organizational accounts, paper-filed forms cannot be linked to the online account system.
Adjustments to Premium Processing Fees
USCIS also notifies of a fee adjustment for Form I-907, which will take effect on February 26, 2024. If a Form I-907 is postmarked on or after this date with the incorrect fee, USCIS will reject the form and return the filing fee. The date on the commercial courier’s receipt will serve as the official postmark date for this purpose.
The latest measures introduced by USCIS are set to transform the H-1B visa registration and petition process, making it more secure, fair, and efficient. Employers and their legal representatives are encouraged to familiarize themselves with these changes to ensure seamless participation in the FY 2025 H-1B cap season. For more information on USCIS programs and updates, you can visit their official website or follow them on various social media platforms.
Litwin & Smith stays at the forefront of immigration law and policy updates, ensuring our clients receive expert guidance and efficient service. Our firm is equipped to help you navigate these changes and optimize your H-1B cap season experience. We invite you to take advantage of our knowledge and resources as you prepare for the upcoming registration period and beyond.
H-1B Forms & Other Important H-1B Links
For more information on the H-1B Cap Season, visit H-1B Cap Season webpage.