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The H-1B Initial Registration Period Has Closed – What to Expect Next

On Monday, March 25 at Noon EDT, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) closed the initial H-1B registration period. The agency stated that it will soon randomly select enough unique beneficiaries of properly submitted registrations to reach the FY 2025 H-1B numerical allocations for advanced degree exemptions (masters cap) and the standard bachelor’s degree submissions. The H-1B petition filing period for those cases selected in the H-1B random lottery will run from April 1, 2024 to June 30, 2024. Those petitions approved for H-1B visa designation will have start dates of October 1, 2024. Students with valid optional practical training endorsement and valid employment authorization cards with validity expiring after April 1, 2024 and who are selected in the H-1B random lottery may remain in the United States, continue their employment pursuant to the special H-1B ‘cap-gap’ rules, and will have their status changed to H-1B effective October 1, 2024.

New Forms and Fees Effective April 1, 2024
New forms for many submissions to USCIS will become effective on April 1, as will the new fees that USCIS will introduce. Significant increases in the fee structure for many filings may be found here.

On February 26, 2024, USCIS also announced an increase in its premium processing fees to adjust for inflation and they may be found here.

USCIS has stated that it expects to see an additional $1.14 billion in revenue, significantly burdening U.S. employers with the cost. However, while USCIS has a monopoly on its services, giving very little option to U.S. employers other than to pay for foreign talent, U.S. companies are known widely to pay for such talent to remain competitive in the marketplace. Once the fee increase does take effect, it will be interesting to note if petitions submissions increase or not. With the significant increase in some fees, it is expected that there will be better service from the agency, which itself has been overwhelmed with backlogs and known to slip in its adjudications.

Read More: Tarterkrinsky

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