The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has implemented substantial enhancements to the H-1B program, addressing integrity concerns through a new final rule. This rule aims to counter fraud in the H-1B registration process, ensuring an equitable chance of selection for each beneficiary irrespective of the number of registrations submitted on their behalf. The H-1B Registration Final Rule introduces a beneficiary-centric selection method, offers flexibility in start dates for specific petitions, and strengthens integrity measures during registration.
Under this updated approach, registrations prioritize unique beneficiaries, mitigating fraud risks and ensuring fairness in the selection process. Starting from the FY 2025 registration period, USCIS mandates registrants to provide valid passport or travel document information for each beneficiary, aligning with the intended document for U.S. entry with an H-1B visa. Each beneficiary must only be registered under one passport or travel document, prohibiting a beneficiary from being registered under more than one passport or travel document.
USCIS is also streamlining start date requirements for certain petitions, allowing filings with requested start dates after October 1 of the relevant fiscal year. The final rule further empowers USCIS to deny or revoke H-1B petitions based on false attestations or invalid registrations. Furthermore, USCIS retains the authority to reject H-1B petition approval if the registration fee is declined, not reconciled, disputed, or deemed invalid.
The registration period for the FY 2025 H-1B cap will be from noon Eastern on March 6, 2024, to noon Eastern on March 22, 2024. During this period, prospective petitioners must use a USCIS online account to register beneficiaries and pay associated registration fees. The Fee Schedule final rule, effective after the initial registration period for the FY 2025 H-1B cap, maintains the registration fee at $10 during the March 2024 registration period.
The upcoming edition of Form I-129, featuring updates from the H-1B Registration final rule and Fee Schedule final rule, will be accessible for preview on uscis.gov (edition date 04/01/24). Starting April 1, 2024, only the 04/01/24 edition of Form I-129 will be accepted.
Additionally, USCIS is set to launch organizational accounts on February 28, 2024, facilitating collaboration within an organization and with legal representatives for the preparation of H-1B registrations, petitions, and related Form I-907. Simultaneously, the online filing option for Form I-129 and associated Form I-907 for non-cap H-1B petitions begins on February 28. From April 1, USCIS will start accepting online filings for H-1B Cap petitions and associated Forms I-907 for petitioners with selected registrations. While paper filing remains an option, the initial launch of organizational accounts does not support linking paper-filed Forms I-129 and I-907 to online accounts.
We appreciate your ongoing collaboration and trust in navigating these changes. Our committed team is available to lead you through the dynamic processes, ensuring a seamless and successful immigration journey for your organization and employees. We will continue to update our partners on the latest developments.
Written by Taleen Khleifat.