Published on February 9, 2024
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that the initial registration period will start at 9:00 AM Pacific Time on March 6, 2024, and end at 9:00 AM Pacific Time on March 22, 2024. We recommend that employers start the H-1B registration process early, as the process has changed this year in response to the duplicate registrations impacting the integrity of the H-1B lottery system last year.
- The initial H-1B registration period will start at 9:00 AM Pacific Time on March 6, 2024, and end at 9:00 AM Pacific Time on March 22, 2024.
- Employers and attorney representatives will be required to use a new enhanced myUSCIS organizational account to allow for better collaboration within organizations and with legal representatives. The new myUSCIS accounts will go live at 9:00 AM Pacific Time on February 28, 2024.
- USCIS will use a “beneficiary-centric” system instead of a “registration-centric” system in the selection process.
- While H-1B registration fees will remain the same ($10 per registration), the filing fees for the H-1B petitions filed on behalf of selected H-1B beneficiaries will increase from $2,460 to $3,380 for employers with more than 25 employees, and from $1,710 to $2,010 for employers with 25 or fewer employees.
- USCIS will take 15 business days instead of calendar days to process H-1B cap-subject petitions filed with premium processing.
What is the H-1B Lottery?
As background, there is an annual limit of 85,000 new H-1B visas per year, with 20,000 H-1B visas available to individuals who have a U.S. master’s degree, and the remaining 65,000 H-1B visas available to individuals with a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent work experience). USCIS conducts an H-1B lottery each year and, since 2020, USCIS has been using an electronic registration process, which requires employers to pre-register for the H-1B lottery and submit H-1B cap registrations during the month of March. The odds of selection greatly depend on the number of H-1B registrations that are submitted. Last year, selection rates were low due to the significant number of duplicate registration submissions.
What changes have been made to the myUSCIS account?
USCIS will launch the new myUSCIS organizational accounts at 9:00 AM Pacific Time on February 28, 2024 for employers and legal representatives to use for the upcoming H-1B registration period. The enhanced accounts will permit multiple people within an organization and their legal representatives to create organizational accounts to prepare and collaborate on H-1B registrations, as well as H-1B petition filings. MyUSCIS accounts created by employers and legal representatives from prior H-1B registration periods will be automatically upgraded on February 28th. In addition to H-1B registrations, employers and legal representatives will be able to electronically file H-1B petitions using the new myUSCIS organizational accounts.
What changes have been made to the H-1B selection process?
USCIS has implemented a new beneficiary-centric system, and instead of selecting an eligible H-1B registration, USCIS will select eligible beneficiaries using their valid passport number or valid travel document. USCIS will notify employers and their representatives by March 31, 2024 of selected beneficiaries. If a beneficiary is selected, each potential employer that filed an H-1B registration on their behalf may file a H-1B cap-subject petition during the 90-day filing period, which will begin on April 1, 2024 and end on June 30, 2024.
Will the H-1B registration fees change this year?
Although the H-1B registration fee will remain $10 per registration, if a beneficiary is selected in the H-1B lottery, the beneficiary’s employer(s) will be required to pay higher filing fees for the H-1B cap petition. Filing fees for an employer with more than 25 employees include a $780 filing fee, $500 anti-fraud fee, an ACWIA Training Fee of $1,500, and a $600 Asylum Program Fee. Employers with 25 or fewer employees include a $460 filing fee, $500 anti-fraud fee, an ACWIA Training Fee of $750, and a $300 Asylum Program Fee. Filing fees for a nonprofit employer include a $460 filing fee, $500 anti-fraud fee, and a ACWIA Training Fee of $750 (or $1,500 depending on the size of the nonprofit organization). Nonprofit organizations are not required to pay the Asylum Program Fee. If premium processing is available for H-1B cap petitions this year, employers may request premium processing for an additional $2,805 fee. H-1B petitions filed with a request for premium processing will be adjudicated in 15 business days instead of calendar days starting April 1, 2024.
Starting next year, H-1B registration fees will increase to $215 per registration.
Please contact the immigration attorneys at Ryan Swanson if your company is considering sponsoring any individuals for H-1B status under the annual quota this year. We recommend that employers initiate any H-1B cap-subject petitions right away, well in advance of the anticipated March 2024 registration period to ensure timely submission of the registration.