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Spotlight on the US

US Immigration: H-1B Cap Registration under new Beneficiary-centric System

USCIS opened the FY2025 H-1B cap registration period on 6 March 2024 and it closes this Friday 22 March 2024 at noon EST.  During the 16-day period, employers and counsel register foreign national applicants’ details in a lottery system with the goal of securing an H-1B slot for the applicant.

 

Step 1: Registration

Employers, also known as Petitioners or Registrants in this process generally select and identify applicants requiring H-1B visas as early as possible in the year, as gathering the required details and documents for each individual may take substantial time. Notably, under the new registration program effective this year, to reduce the potential for fraud within the H-1B registration process, foreign national applicants must

(1) have a valid passport/travel document at the time of registration submission,

(2) must use the same valid passport/travel document in all of their FY2025 registrations (if they have multiple), and;

(3) must use the same valid passport/travel document, if selected in the lottery, in their petition filing, visa application, and entry into the US (with exceptions).

Immigration firms receive registrant details from employers, including the applicant’s passport or travel document and educational details. These details are then used to draft each registration for employer review. Employers, or specifically the “Administrator” (company’s designated signatory), must create an organizational account on the USCIS portal and are required to review, approve, and e-sign off on the registrations for submission. The submissions may be done in bulk for each employer. The submission fee per applicant is currently $10, set to rise to $215 next year.

 

Step 2: Selection

After the registration period closes, two lotteries are run. The first lottery includes all registrants competing for 65,000 spots and the second lottery contains only U.S. Master’s degree graduate applicants who did not get selected in the first lottery, for a chance at an extra 20,000 spots reserved for them. USCIS aims to fill the 85,000 spots through these initial lotteries, but if less submissions than selections are completed, additional lotteries may run to fill the quota.

 

Step 3: Submission

Lottery results should be disseminated by USCIS to the employers by March 31, 2024, after which H-1B petitions for selected applicants may be submitted between April 1, 2024 through June 30, 2024 (exacts dates to be confirmed on selection notices).

The H-1B lottery is now geared towards being beneficiary-centric, meaning that each beneficiary should have the same chance of being selected, regardless of how many registrations are submitted for them by different employers. As expected with new systems, technical glitches remain an issue so timely registration and submission is recommended by USCIS. As advised previously, USCIS filing fees are set to rise April 1, 2024, so the new fees are applicable to all H-1B filings.

 

Please see our previous post for information on the fees: Spotlight on the U.S.: USCIS Fee Increases, Effective April 1, 2024.

For additional information on the new H-1B registration process, as well as previous registration versus selection numbers: H-1B Electronic Registration Process | USCIS. For further information on the H-1B cap season and lottery system: H-1B Cap Season | USCIS. To understand more about the changes to the new H-1B Cap system focused on being beneficiary-centric: USCIS Announces Strengthened Integrity Measures for H-1B Program | USCIS.

Should you have any questions relating to this update please contact Aryanah Eghbal ([email protected]) and Mairin Hoban ([email protected]).

 

Article by: Aryanah Eghbal, US Attorney

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