H-1B

H-1B Cap Registration FY 2025 Begins March 6, 2024

Published On
March 12, 2024
Read Time
4 Minutes
Author
OnBlick Inc

Attention employers seeking H-1B visas for FY 2025! The cap registration window is now open! From noon Eastern on March 6th until noon Eastern on March 22nd, 2024, employers and their immigration consultants can submit electronic registrations for their H-1B cap-subject employees to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  

This blog post provides a comprehensive overview of the new system and requirements for FY 2025, ensuring a smooth and successful registration process.  

New Beneficiary-Centric Selection Process

The H-1B cap selection process has undergone a significant change for FY 2025, moving from a "registration-centric" to a “beneficiary-centric” approach. This means:

Equal Chance for All: Each unique beneficiary will be entered into the lottery once, regardless of the number of registrations submitted by different employers. This levels the playing field, ensuring both individuals with one job offer and those with multiple have the same opportunity for selection.

Multiple Registrations Still Allowed: While employers can still submit multiple registrations for a single beneficiary, only one registration will be selected if the individual is chosen. This reduces the incentive for “gaming” the system and promotes fairness.

Selection Advantages for Beneficiaries: If selected, any employer who submitted a registration can file the H-1B petition on the beneficiary’s behalf. This empowers individuals to potentially negotiate better job offers among multiple interested employers.

Streamlined Adjudication: USCIS will adjudicate each selected registration even when filed by multiple employers, ensuring efficiency in the petition process.

This new system benefits both beneficiaries and the overall integrity of the H-1B program. It ensures fairness, discourages fraud, and empowers prospective H-1B workers to secure better opportunities.

Passport Requirement

The new beneficiary-centric system introduces a crucial requirement for foreign nationals: providing valid passport or travel document information during registration.  

Here are the key points to remember:

Submission Time Validity: The passport must be valid at the time the registration is submitted to USCIS.

Consistent Use Across Registrations: The same valid document must be used for all FY 2025 registrations submitted for the individual. Failure to do so can invalidate all registrations.

Matching Documents Throughout the Process: The passport used for registration should be the same one used to support the foreign national’s H-1B petition filing, H-1B visa application, and entry/reentry to the US, if the foreign national is selected in the cap lottery.

This requirement ensures clarity and consistency throughout the H-1B application process, minimizing the risk of delays or denials due to document discrepancies.

Note: If the passport expires between registration and petition filing, the employer must include data from the new, valid passport in the I-129 petition.

Organizational Accounts

On February 28, 2024, USCIS launched the previously announced new organizational accounts allowing collaboration.

These accounts enable:

Collaboration: HR, legal representatives, and other authorized personnel within an organization can now work together on H-1B registrations, petitions, and premium processing requests (Form I-907).

Efficiency: Existing H-1B registrant accounts are automatically upgraded. New account creation started on February 28th.

Phased Implementation:

March 6th: Beneficiary information and registration submissions with the $10 fee become available.

April 1st: Online filing opens for H-1B cap-subject petitions.

Note: The fee increases go into effect after the initial FY 2025 H-1B cap registration period. The registration fee during the registration period starting in March 2024 will remain $10.

Key Points

Account Administrators: Employers designate an "Administrator" to create and manage "Company Groups" within the account, allowing collaboration on registrations. The Administrator must be someone who has the authority to sign, pay for and submit registrations on behalf of the company.

Permissions: Once the Company Group is created, the Administrator can invite co-workers to be additional Administrators or Members who (lack certain permissions but) are able to create, edit and delete drafts of H-1B registrations. Administrators can also invite their legal representatives to prepare H-1B registrations on behalf of the company.

Review and Approval: When legal counsel finishes a registration, the Administrator receives notification for review, approval, and e-signing before submission. This is the time to determine whether any changes need to be made to the company’s registrations.  

The new system facilitates efficient collaboration between in-house teams and legal representatives, simplifying the H-1B registration and petition process.

Note: Potential technical glitches during the initial launch are possible. Early completion and submission are recommended to avoid last-minute issues.

After the Registration Period Closes

Lottery and Selection

Following the March 22nd registration deadline, USCIS conducts two lotteries:

First Lottery: Selects beneficiaries for the 65,000 H-1B cap (all registered candidates).

Second Lottery: Selects beneficiaries for the 20,000 H-1B master's cap exemption (only unselected master's degree holders).

USCIS aims to notify employers and immigration counsel of the lottery results by March 31st.

Note: Subsequent lotteries are possible if the number of H-1B petitions received for unique beneficiaries from the initial lotteries is insufficient to meet the FY 2025 quota.

Petition Filing

For selected beneficiaries, USCIS notifies all employers who registered them.

Any notified employer can file an H-1B petition for the selected beneficiary.

Cap petition filing for selectees begins April 1st, 2024.

The petition filing window closes no earlier than June 30th, 2024 (Refer to USCIS website for exact dates).

Note: All FY 2025 H-1B cap petitions for beneficiaries selected in the initial lottery must be submitted during the designated filing period.  

Major Changes for FY 2025 H-1B Petitions

USCIS published the revised Fee Schedule final rule, which will go into effect on April 1, 2024. All H-1B petitions postmarked on or after April 1, 2024, will be required to pay the following new fees:

Form I-129

$780 for employers with 26 or more Full-Time Employees (FTEs)

$460 for small employers (25 or fewer FTEs) and nonprofit entities

Asylum Program Fee – This is a new fee that will be assessed on all Form I-129 and I-140 petitions to help cover the costs of asylum adjudications.  

$600 for employers with 26 or more Full-Time Employees (FTEs)

$300 for small employers (25 FTEs or less)

$0 for nonprofit organizations  

Embrace online filing: Starting in March, USCIS introduces online filing for non-cap H-1B petitions. Cap petitions can be filed online starting April 1st.

Prepare for higher fees: As mentioned earlier, increased filing fees apply to H-1B cap petitions. Remember, the specific fee depends on your company size.

Expect longer premium processing: Premium processing, which expedites petition adjudication, will now take 15 business days instead of 15 calendar days.

Changes to Paper Filings

Important deadline: Be aware that starting April 1st, 2024, USCIS service centers will no longer accept paper-filed H-1B or H-1B1 (HSC) petitions.

Switch to lockbox filing: All paper-filed H-1B petitions (including those with Form I-907 for premium processing) must be submitted to a designated USCIS lockbox starting April 1st. USCIS will announce the new filing addresses in late March.

Important Form Updates

Effective April 1, 2024, new editions of several USCIS forms are mandatory for specific petition types. These forms reflect the revised fee schedule and ensure accurate processing.

Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker

Form I-129 CW, Petition for a CNMI-Only Nonimmigrant Transitional Worker

Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers

Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative

Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition, and its supplements

Action Required

Download and use the 04/01/24 editions of these forms after April 1st.

Refer to the USCIS Fee Schedule G-1055 for the appropriate filing fees associated with each form.

USCIS will reject submissions using older versions of these forms.  

Note: Regularly check the USCIS website for updates on forms and fees.

OnBlick is dedicated to keeping you informed about the latest H-1B developments and USCIS updates. We will promptly share any changes as they become available.

To discover how OnBlick streamlines your H-1B case management, click here.

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