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U.S. Immigration Service Opens H-1B Registration, With Two Key Changes

    Client Alerts
  • March 08, 2024

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has started the initial registration period for the FY 2025 H-1B cap. The H-1B program allows employers to petition for highly educated foreign professionals to work in specialty occupations that require at least a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent.

The USCIS began accepting electronic registrations for H-1B candidates, subject to the annual quota, on March 6, 2024. The registration period will run through noon Eastern on March 22, 2024.

New H-1B petitions are subject to a yearly numerical quota or cap of 65,000 H-1B visas, with an additional 20,000 visas reserved for employees with a U.S. master's or doctorate degree. Because demand for H-1Bs far outpaces the supply of available visas, the immigration authorities (USCIS) conduct a random selection process or lottery.

The USCIS has made a couple significant changes to the H-1B program focused on strengthening the integrity of and reducing the potential for fraud.

Changes in Selection Process

Starting this year, USCIS will adopt an individual/beneficiary-centric H-1B selection process. USCIS will select H-1B cap recipients based on an individual’s unique name and passport number, irrespective of how many employers file registrations on that individual’s behalf. In previous H-1B lotteries, individuals with multiple employers had a statistical advantage. The new H-1B cap selection process seeks to curtail that statistical advantage. The change may also assist USCIS in identifying and revoking registrations and subsequent H-1B petitions with invalid attestations.

Organizational Accounts and Increased USCIS Filing Fees

USCIS announced that on February 28 it will automatically convert existing myUSCIS accounts to the new organizational accounts. The updated accounts and expanded online services are aimed at making the H-1B process more convenient and efficient for users.

USCIS also 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.

For more information, please contact the Parker Poe Immigration Team or your regular Parker Poe contact. You can also subscribe to our latest alerts and insights here.