Immigration Alert: USCIS Announces BIG Changes to the H-1B Program in 2024!!!

If you are in participating in the H-1B visa program as an employer or beneficiary, you may be interested to learn all about the recent changes being made to strengthen the program and improve the H-1B registration selection process. Recently, the Department of Homeland Security published a final rule in the Federal Register, which will go into effect on March 4, 2024, just in time for this year’s H-1B cap season to kick off.

Learn all about these changes in this video, including filing fee increases and new fraud prevention measures being implemented to ensure H-1B beneficiaries have an equal chance of being selected in this year’s lottery.


FY 2025 H-1B Registration Period Begins at Noon ET March 6, 2024

The initial registration period for the FY 2025 H-1B cap season will open at noon Eastern on March 6, 2024, and run through noon Eastern on March 22, 2024. During the registration period, prospective petitioners and their representatives, if applicable, must use a USCIS online account to register each beneficiary electronically for the selection process and pay the associated registration fee for each beneficiary ($10 per registration and $215 per registration starting in fiscal year 2026).

Final Rule Brings New Changes to the H-1B Cap Electronic Registration Process

In anticipation of the H-1B cap season, on January 30, 2024, the United States Citizenship, and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the publication of the final rule, “Improving the H-1B Registration Selection Process and Program Integrity.”

The purpose of the final rule is to strengthen the integrity of the program and reduce the potential for fraud in the H-1B electronic registration process, to prevent beneficiaries or their employers from gaming the electronic registration process to their advantage.

What are some of the new changes to the H-1B selection process?

Effective March 4, 2024, the final rule will change the way that electronic registrations are processed to a beneficiary centric selection process to reduce the potential for fraud and ensure an equal chance of being selected.

Each unique beneficiary who has a registration submitted on their behalf will be entered into the selection process once, regardless of how many electronic registrations are submitted on his or her behalf.

The final rule clarifies that if a beneficiary is selected, each registrant that submitted a registration on that beneficiary’s behalf will be notified of the beneficiary’s selection and will be eligible to file a petition for that beneficiary during the applicable petition filing period. This applies where different employers have submitted an electronic registration on behalf of a beneficiary. (Example: where Company A wants to sponsor John Doe; and Company B also wants to sponsor John Doe. Company A and B file separate electronic registration for John during the registration period).

This change was made in response to the surge in beneficiaries with multiple registrations in prior fiscal years. For example, for fiscal year 2024, USCIS received a total of 780,884 registrations, of which 408,891 registrations were submitted for beneficiaries with multiple eligible registrations. Beneficiaries who had multiple registrations had an unfair advantage due to a higher chance of selection.

Valid Passport or Travel Document Required

To safeguard the integrity of the program, starting with the FY 2025 H-1B initial registration USCIS will require H-1B 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.

This measure will prevent a beneficiary from being registered under more than one passport or travel document.

H-1B Filing Fee Increases Effective April 1, 2024

As set forth in a separate final rule, USCIS will increase the H-1B petition filing fee for Form I-129 from $460 to $780 effective April 1, 2024.

The final rule will also increase the H-1B cap electronic registration fee for cap-subject H-1B petitions to $215 per registration, from $10 under the current fee schedule.

The new registration fee will not affect FY 2025 cap registrations, for which the fee will remain $10. The higher registration fee will be implemented starting with the FY 2026 cap season in March 2025.

Premium Processing Filing Fee Increase Effective February 26, 2024

Additionally, USCIS rolled out a final rule that will increase the filing fee for Form I-907, Requests for Premium Processing Service, from $2,500 to $2,805 for I-129 H-1B petitions, and other classifications, effective February 26, 2024.

If USCIS receives a Form I-907 postmarked on or after February 26, 2024, with the incorrect filing fee, USCIS will reject the Form I-907 and return the filing fee. For filings sent by commercial courier (such as UPS, FedEx, and DHL), the postmark date is the date reflected on the courier receipt.

Additionally, USCIS will extend the premium processing adjudication period from 15 calendar days to business days, which will prolong premium processing adjudications by one week or more.

New Edition of Form I-129

Additionally, USCIS will be publishing a new edition of Form I-129 for H petitions and other classifications which will soon be published on the USCIS website (edition date 04/01/24). Starting April 1, 2024, only the 04/01/24 edition of Form I-129 will be accepted.

Organizational Accounts and Online Filing for Forms I-129 and I-907

On February 28, 2024, USCIS will launch new organizational accounts in the USCIS online account webpage to 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, online. Non-cap H-1B petitions may be filed online on that date.

Online Filing of H-1B Cap Petitions and I-907 Starting April 1, 2024

Starting April 1, 2024, USCIS will begin accepting online filing of H-1B cap-subject petitions and associated Forms I-907 for petitioners whose registrations have been selected.

Petitioners will continue to have the option of filing a paper Form I-129 H-1B petition and any associated Form I-907 if they prefer. However, during the initial launch of organizational accounts, users will not be able to link paper-filed Forms I-129 and I-907 to their online accounts.

For more information about these new changes, please click here.

Contact Us. We hope you found this information helpful. If you would like to schedule a consultation, please text 619-569-1768 or call 619-819-9204.

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