By Nathan Grow
On February 2, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a final rule titled Improving the H-1B Registration Selection Process and Program Integrity. The final rule, which will become effective March 4, 2024 focuses on enhancing integrity, reducing fraud, and ensuring fairness in beneficiary selection in this year’s H-1B lottery registration process.
Beneficiary-Centric Selection Process: USCIS is introducing a beneficiary-centric selection process for H-1B registrations. Instead of selecting from all registrations, USCIS will select registrations by unique beneficiary. This ensures that each beneficiary has an equal chance of being selected, regardless of the number of registrations submitted on their behalf.
Flexibility in Start Dates: Previously, USCIS mandated that the start date for H-1B petitions for selected individuals must be October 1. Under the final rule, the start date can now be after October 1.
Integrity Measures: The final rule calls for additional measures to reinforce the overall registration system, emphasizing fairness for both petitioners and beneficiaries. USCIS will have the authority to deny or revoke H-1B petitions if the underlying registration contains false attestations or is otherwise invalid.
Registration Fee: A separate final rule published on January 31, 2024 calls for an increase in the registration fee from $10 to $215. That increase will be effective for next year’s H-1B lottery. For this year, the registration fee will still be $10 per beneficiary.
Form I-129 Update: A new edition of Form I-129, reflecting adjustments in the H-1B Registration final rule and Fee Schedule final rule, will be available on the USCIS website from April 1, 2024. Only the 04/01/24 edition of Form I-129 will be accepted starting April 1, 2024.
Registration Period: The FY 2025 H-1B cap registration period is from March 6, 2024, to March 22, 2024, with online registration and fee payment.