On Jan. 30, 2024, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a final rule regarding the H-1B cap electronic registration process for fiscal year (FY) 2025. The announcement also included the initial registration period dates for the FY 2025 cap and the launch of an online filing option for H-1B petitioners. The new rule, effective March 4, 2024, is intended to “strengthen the integrity of and reduce the potential for fraud in the H-1B registration process.”
The final rule creates a beneficiary-specific H-1B cap registration selection process. Under this new process, H-1B cap registrations will be selected by beneficiary rather than by company registration, as was the case previously. This is designed to reduce the possibility of a beneficiary gaining an unfair advantage by having multiple employers submit H-1B cap registrations on their behalf. According to USCIS, the new process is aimed to ensure each beneficiary has the same chance of being selected, regardless of the number of registrations that are submitted by employers for the same beneficiary. Beginning with the FY 2025 H-1B cap registration period, employers will be required to provide valid passport information or valid travel document information for each beneficiary. The passport provided must be the one the beneficiary intends to use to enter the United States if issued an H-1B visa while abroad. Each beneficiary may only be registered under one passport or travel document. The H-1B final rule also codifies USCIS’ ability to deny or revoke H-1B petitions where the underlying registration contains a false attestation or is otherwise invalid.
Further, USCIS announced on Jan. 30, 2024, that the initial registration period for the FY 2025 H-1B cap will open at noon EST March 6, 2024, and will run through noon EST March 22, 2024. During this registration period, employers and their representatives must use a USCIS online account to register each beneficiary electronically for the selection process and pay the $10 registration fee for each beneficiary.
In addition, in the new rule, USCIS clarifies that requesting an H-1B cap employment start date after Oct. 1 of the relevant fiscal year is permissible.
USCIS also issued a fee schedule final rule to adjust certain immigration and naturalization benefit request fees for the first time since 2016. This rule with go into effect after this year’s H-1B cap registration period.