U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced today updates for the fiscal year (FY) 2025 H-1B cap season. This announcement includes provisions from the H-1B Registration final rule (Improving the H-1B Selection Process and Program Integrity), the dates for the initial H-1B registration period for the FY 2025 H-1B cap, and the online filing launch of Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, and Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, for H-1B petitioners.
H-1B Registration Final Rule
The Department of Homeland Security has posted a final rule amending its regulations relating to the H-1B registration selection process, finalizing some of the provisions contained in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) published in the Federal Register on Oct. 23, 2023. DHS intends to publish a separate final rule to address the remainder of the provisions contained in the NPRM.
The final rule includes the following provisions:
- A beneficiary-centric selection process for H-1B registrations, where USCIS will select by unique beneficiary rather than by registration. This new process is designed to reduce the potential for gaming the system and make it more likely that each beneficiary would have the same chance of being selected, regardless of how many registrations are submitted on their behalf.
- Start date flexibility for certain H-1B cap-subject petitions, permitting filing with requested start dates that are after Oct. 1 of the relevant fiscal year, consistent with current USCIS policy.
- Integrity measures that codify USCIS’ ability to deny or revoke H-1B petitions where the underlying registration contained a false attestation or was otherwise invalid, and adding a provision that USCIS may deny or revoke the approval of an H-1B petition if it determines that the fee associated with the registration is declined, not reconciled, disputed, or otherwise invalid after submission.
USCIS has also announced the Fee Schedule final rule. That rule will go into effect after the initial registration period for the FY 2025 H-1B cap. Therefore, the registration fee during the registration period starting in March 2024 will remain $10. A new edition of Form I-129 with the H-1B Registration final rule and Fee Schedule final rule changes will soon be available to preview on uscis.gov (edition date 04/01/24). On April 1, 2024, only the 04/01/24 edition of Form I-129 will be accepted.
FY 2025 H-1B Cap Initial Registration Period
USCIS has announced that the initial registration period for the FY 2025 H-1B cap will open at noon Eastern on March 6, 2024, and run through noon Eastern on March 22, 2024.
Starting with the FY 2025 initial registration period, USCIS will require registrants to provide valid passport information or valid travel document information. 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.
On Feb. 28, 2024, USCIS will launch the previously announced new organizational accounts in the USCIS online account that will 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.
Prospective petitioners submitting their own registrations (U.S. employers and U.S. agents, collectively known as “registrants”) and their legal representatives will need to use an “organizational” account (formerly known as a “registrant” account). Registrants will be able to create new accounts beginning at noon Eastern on Feb. 28, 2024. Those who have an existing registrant account can easily upgrade to an organizational account instead of creating a new account.
Representatives may add clients to their accounts at any time, but both representatives and registrants must wait until March 6 to enter beneficiary information and submit the registration with the $10 fee.
Also on February 28, USCIS will launch online filing of Form I-129 and associated Form I-907 for non-cap H-1B petitions. On April 1, USCIS will begin accepting online filing of Form I-129 for H-1B cap petitions and associated Forms I-907 for petitioners whose registrations have been selected, and who choose the online filing option.
If enough unique beneficiaries are registered by March 22, as projected to reach the H-1B numerical allocations, we will randomly select from among those unique beneficiaries and send selection notifications via users’ USCIS online accounts to the prospective petitioners who properly submitted registrations for those selected beneficiaries. If enough unique beneficiaries are not registered, all of the properly registered beneficiaries will be selected. We intend to notify account holders and upload selection notifications to their accounts by March 31.
USCIS will also transition the paper filing location for Forms I-129 for H-1B classification and associated Forms I-907 from service centers to the USCIS lockbox. We will announce the new filing addresses in March.
USCIS recently announced a final rule that will increase the filing fee for Form I-907, to adjust for inflation. The fee change will go into effect on Feb. 26, 2024. If USCIS receives a Form I-907 postmarked on or after Feb. 26, 2024, with the incorrect filing fee, we 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.
For more information, on the H-1B Registration process and other cap season updates, please visit:
- H-1B Electronic Registration Process | USCIS
- H-1B Specialty Occupations, DOD Cooperative Research and Development Project Workers, and Fashion Models | USCIS
- H-1B Cap Season | USCIS
- Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker | USCIS