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Winter 2024 FYH and Other Immigration Updates

Winter 2024 FYH and Other Immigration Updates

February 26, 2024

FYH 2025 Season: The Same, But Not

Every year USCIS tweaks the FYH lottery process. New this year are USCIS Organizational Accounts. To participate in the Fiscal Year H-1B (FYH) lottery, all employers will need a USCIS Organizational Account and a MyUSCIS account. We are working with clients to set up these accounts (publicly available no later than February 28, per USCIS).

Once USCIS launches the organizational accounts, please wait for an invitation and further instructions from WSM to proceed. WSM will only be able to create and link the accounts, as well as prepare and submit registrations on clients’ behalf, if we are the ones to initiate both linking the accounts and drafting the registrations.

Weaver Schlenger is excited about USCIS’ intent to use technology to streamline the FY Lottery process. On the other hand, in our experience, government rollouts of new technologies, including electronic filing systems and notifications, have been rocky and unpredictable. We are proceeding with cautious optimism as we get all our clients set up.

The FYH Registration period will run from 3/6/24 to 3/22/24 this year. If you have not already provided us with the required information to register your employees for the lottery, please do so ASAP.  The USCIS filing fee to register remains $10 for this year (and is set to go up to $215 next year). Lottery results should be announced shortly after 3/22 and as in past years, those selected in the lottery will have 90 days beginning 4/1 to file the H-1B petition. We don’t know if there will be a second round of lottery selections.

More Changes to FYH Lottery: Changing How Selections are Counted

In response to last year’s 140%+ increase in registrations for individuals with multiple registrations, the USCIS issued a final rule that changes how H-1B selections will be counted. This year, a beneficiary (ie, employee) will only be counted once, regardless of how many employers register them. In the past, one beneficiary could have multiple employer entities enter them in the lottery and could be counted once for each entry; selection meant only the employer who filed the selected registration could file the H-1B petition. Going forward each beneficiary (based on their passport or travel document number) will be entered into the lottery only once; selection means all employers who submitted registrations may file an H-1B petition for that beneficiary starting April 1 and the beneficiary would be permitted to work under any approved H-1B petition.  

As a result, we anticipate improved selection rates for individuals, with perhaps a degree of uncertainty around whether selection will result in H-1B employment with a specific employer in October.

For more information on FYHs, please see our FAQs.

Premium Processing Fees Raised as of 2/26 and Other USCIS filing fees to go up 4/1

The USCIS has increased the fee for premium processing to $2,805 (up from $2,500) for H-1Bs and other nonimmigrant visas using the Form I-129 (O-1s, L-1s, etc.) and for I-140s. The new premium processing fee is effective 2/26. In addition, starting 4/1, Premium Processing will be calculated based on business days instead of calendar days. So, for example, Premium Processing on an I-129 will increase from 15 calendar days to 15 business days…In other words, slower service at a higher cost.

Other fees on most petition types will go up starting 4/1/2024 so will impact this year’s FYH filings.

  • I-129 for H-1: the fee increases from $460 to $780
  • I-129 for L-1: the fee increases from $$460 to $1,385
  • I-129 for O-1: the fee increases from $460 to $1,055
  • I-129 for E-3, H-3, P, Q, R and TN: the fee increases from $460 to $1,015
  • I-539: the fee increases from $370 to $470
  • I-140: the fee increases from $700 to $715
  • NEW Asylum Program Fee* is $600

*The $600 Asylum Program fee is new, to be paid by employers with more than 25 employees who file either a Form I-129, Form I–129CW, or Form I-140. Businesses with 25 or fewer employees will pay a $300 Asylum Program Fee instead of the $600 fee, and nonprofits will pay no Asylum Program Fee. The fee will apply to each petition filed.

The H-1B Education/Training Fee remains $1,500 (for employers with more than 25 fulltime US employees; $750 for those with 25 and fewer US employees) and the Anti-Fraud Fee will stay at $500. The additional fees for “H-1B/L-1 Dependent” employers (where the employer employs 50 or more employees in the US and more than half hold H-1B or L-1 status) are also not impacted at this time.

Lots of Potential, Not so Much Delivered Yet: Domestic Visa Revalidation

To much anticipation, the Department of State launched their stateside visa revalidation pilot program on 1/29. Unfortunately, only a very limited number of individuals can take advantage of being able to apply for a visa revalidation (ie, a new visa in the same classification) while remaining in the U.S. They include: applicants whose most recent H-1B visa was issued by U.S. Mission Canada with an issuance date of January 1, 2020 through April 1, 2023, and applicants whose most recent H-1B was issued  by U.S. Mission India with an issuance date of February 1, 2021, through September 30, 2021. The pilot program is set to expire April 1, 2024 or when all 20,000 application slots are filled, whichever comes first. More details about this pilot program is found on our website. We hope the pilot is successful and the program can be expanded. We will be sure to update you.

Please let us know if you have any questions about FYH 2025 Season or other information found in this Update.

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