On January 31, 2024, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a final rule to strengthen the integrity measures of the H-1B visa program. The measures include various updates to the H-1B registration process, the implementation of online filing for crucial H-1B forms, fee changes, and more.
“We’re always looking for ways to bolster integrity and curtail the potential for fraud while improving and streamlining our application processes,” said USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou. “The improvements in these areas should make H-1B selections more equitable for petitioners and beneficiaries.”
Here’s a general overview of the changes included in USCIS’ latest H-1B final rule:
H-1B Registration Final Rule
To reduce potential fraud during H-1B registration, USCIS has announced a series of changes that will make the H-1B lottery and selection process more equitable and “beneficiary-centric.”
Under the new process, selections will be based on unique beneficiaries rather than registrations as a whole. This updated approach aims to minimize the risk of fraud and ensures that every beneficiary has an equal opportunity for selection, regardless of the number of registrations submitted on their behalf by an employer. Starting in 2025, USCIS will also require valid passport or travel document information for each beneficiary registering for the H-1B lottery.
FY 2025 H-1B Cap Registration Dates
USCIS announced that the registration period for the FY 2025 H-1B cap season will open at 12:00 PM EST on March 6, 2024, and run through 12:00 PM EST on March 22, 2024.
You can learn more about H-1B cap season and how to register in Boundless’ guide.
H-1B Fee Changes
On January 31, USCIS also finalized significant changes to its fee structure. New filing fees for most applications, including H-1B petitions, will go into effect on April 1, 2024. For H-1B petitions, Form I-129 will increase from $460 to $780. All H-1B petitions postmarked after April 1, 2024 will be charged the new, higher fee. NOTE: The H-1B registration fee will not increase until next year — the fee will jump significantly, from $10 to $215.
Premium processing costs for H-1B applications (when filing Form I-907) will also increase on February 26, 2024, from $2,500 to $2,805.
Organizational Accounts and Online Filing for Forms I-129 and I-907
USCIS previously announced a series of customer improvements to the H-1B program, including the launch of organizational accounts and online filing for Form I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker) and Form I-907 (Request for Premium Processing Service).
According to USCIS’ latest update, the new organizational accounts will go live on February 28, 2024. Online filing for Form I-129 and Form I-907 for non-cap H-1B petitions will also be available on February 28, 2024. On April 1, USCIS will begin accepting online filing for H-1B cap petitions.
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