USCIS Announces FY 2025 H-1B Cap Registration Period and Enhanced Online Filing Options
In a recent announcement, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) unveiled key updates for the fiscal year (FY) 2025 H-1B cap registration process. The changes aim to strengthen integrity, reduce fraud potential, and streamline application procedures, including the introduction of an online filing option for Forms I-129 and I-907.
USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou expressed the agency’s commitment to improving integrity and combating fraud. The enhancements are designed to make H-1B selections more equitable for both petitioners and beneficiaries, paving the way for a fully electronic H-1B process from registration to the final decision.
H-1B Registration Final Rule: A Beneficiary-Centric Approach
The final rule introduces a beneficiary-centric selection process, shifting from the previous employer-centric approach. This change aims to minimize fraud risks and ensure equal opportunities for beneficiaries, regardless of the number of registrations submitted on their behalf. Starting with the FY 2025 initial registration period, registrants must provide valid passport or travel document information for each beneficiary.
The final rule also grants flexibility for certain petitions subject to the H-1B cap regarding the requested employment start date. USCIS will now allow filing with start dates after October 1 of the relevant fiscal year. Additionally, the rule codifies USCIS’ authority to deny or revoke H-1B petitions if the registration contains false information or if associated fees are invalid.
FY 2025 H-1B Cap Initial Registration Period
The initial registration period for the FY 2025 H-1B cap opens on March 6, 2024, and runs through March 22, 2024. Prospective petitioners must use a USCIS online account to register each beneficiary electronically and pay the associated registration fee.
Online Filing for Forms I-129 and I-907
USCIS will launch new organizational accounts in the USCIS online system on February 28, 2024, enabling collaboration on H-1B registrations, petitions, and associated Form I-907. Online filing for Form I-129 and associated Form I-907 for non-cap H-1B petitions will also commence on the same date. Starting April 1, 2024, USCIS will accept online filing for H-1B cap petitions and associated Forms I-907 for selected registrations.
Petitioners retain the option to file a paper Form I-129 and associated Form I-907, but during the initial launch of organizational accounts, linking paper-filed forms to online accounts will not be available.
Fee Schedule Final Rule and Important Dates
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. USCIS advises that a new edition of Form I-129 will be available for use on April 1, 2024.
USCIS has also recently announced a fee increase for Form I-907, effective February 26, 2024. If a Form I-907 with an incorrect filing fee is received on or after this date, USCIS will reject the application and return the filing fee.
These updates mark a significant step towards a more efficient, secure, and equitable H-1B registration and filing process for employers and beneficiaries alike.