Latest USCIS Announcements for H-1B Visa Applicants

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The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced several significant updates affecting H-1B visa petitions for the fiscal year 2025. These changes, which include the closing of the initial registration period, alterations to the Form I-129 filing locations, and the introduction of new fees and form editions, mark important shifts in the H-1B visa application process. Please continue reading and reach out to a New York immigration lawyer from our firm to learn about the most recent announcements concerning H-1B applicants.

What Has Changed with the H-1B Visa Registration and Filing Process?

The initial registration window for the H-1B visa for FY 2025 has officially closed as of March 25, 2024. USCIS will soon conduct a random selection of submitted registrations to fulfill the numerical allocations for the H-1B cap, including those registrations under the advanced degree exemption, commonly known as the master’s cap. This process is crucial for determining which applicants will proceed to the next stage of filing an H-1B cap-subject petition.

Where Should H-1B Visa Petitions Now Be Filed?

One notable update is the change in the filing location for H-1B and H-1B1 Form I-129 petitions. Starting April 1, 2024, petitioners are required to submit their paper-based petitions to designated USCIS lockbox locations, moving away from the previous practice of filing at USCIS service centers. This change underscores the need for careful attention to the correct filing addresses, as petitions sent to the wrong location will be rejected without a grace period for correction.

Are There New Fees and Form Editions to Be Aware Of?

The USCIS has implemented new fees for most immigration applications and petitions, effective from April 1, 2024. These adjustments necessitate the use of an updated version of Form I-129 (edition dated 04/01/24) for submissions postmarked on or after this date. The adjustment in fees and the transition to a new form edition are critical for ensuring that petitions are not rejected due to outdated submissions.

How Does the Introduction of Online Filing Impact Applicants?

In a move towards enhancing efficiency and accessibility, USCIS has introduced the option of online filing for H-1B petitions, including those for the H-1B cap, alongside the traditional paper-based submissions. This development is complemented by the launch of new online organizational accounts, facilitating collaboration among team members and legal representatives in preparing H-1B registrations and petitions.

As the USCIS continues to update its processes and requirements, staying abreast of these changes is paramount for applicants and their representatives. The journey through H-1B visa application and beyond is intricate, and adherence to the latest regulations and procedures can make a significant difference in the success of your immigration endeavors.