Type: Law Bulletins
Date: 02/15/2024

Immigration Alert for Employers: USCIS Announces FY2025 H-1B Registration Period and Significant Changes to the H-1B Lottery

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that the annual H-1B cap lottery registration period will start at noon Eastern on March 6, 2024, and run through noon Eastern on March 22, 2024. Taft’s Immigration practice group encourages U.S. employers to identify current and future employees who will need H-1B visa status later in 2024 and beyond so that they may be registered during the lottery registration period.

USCIS also recently published a final rule amending the H-1B regulations to “implement the proposed beneficiary centric selection process for H-1B registrations, provide start date flexibility for certain H-1B cap-subject petitions, and implement additional integrity measures related to H-1B registration.” The changes take effect March 4, 2024, and will, therefore, be in effect during the upcoming FY2025 H-1B registration period. The changes are summarized as follows:

  • Beneficiary centric selection process – each unique individual being sponsored for the lottery will be entered into the H-1B lottery only once, regardless of how many H-1B registrations are submitted on each beneficiary’s behalf. Each employer who submits an H-1B registration on a beneficiary’s behalf will be notified if the beneficiary is selected in the lottery and will be eligible to file an H-1B petition on the beneficiary’s behalf. This marks a major change from the prior method of conducting the H-1B lottery, wherein beneficiaries received one H-1B lottery entry per registration. The final rule indicates that USCIS “anticipates that changing to a beneficiary centric selection process for H–1B registrations will reduce the potential for gaming the process to increase chances for selection and help ensure that each beneficiary has the same chance of being selected, regardless of how many registrations are submitted on their behalf.”
  • H-1B petition start date flexibility – the regulations are amended to permit H-1B cap-subject petitions to request a start date on or after Oct. 1 of the relevant fiscal year. This change codifies the current USCIS policy, which came about after legal challenges to USCIS’ practice of rejecting cap-subject H-1B petitions for FY2021 that requested a start date later than Oct. 1, 2020.
  • H-1B registration – new requirement to provide valid passport or travel document – H-1B registrations must include the beneficiary’s valid passport or travel document information, which must be the same passport or travel document the beneficiary intends to use to enter the U.S. in H-1B status. Additionally, beneficiaries are prohibited from being registered under more than one passport or travel document.
  • USCIS’ ability to deny or revoke H-1B petitions – the amended regulations codify USCIS’ ability to deny or revoke H-1B petitions where (1) there is an inconsistency between the beneficiary’s identifying information provided in the H-1B registration and the information provided in the H-1B petition, (2) the underlying H-1B registration contained a false attestation or was otherwise invalid, (3) the H-1B registration fee was invalid, or (4) the H-1B cap-subject petition was not based on a valid registration.

Employers seeking H-1B status for current or potential employees should contact the Taft Immigration team as soon as possible to avoid missing the H-1B registration period and to navigate these recent changes to the H-1B regulations.

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