01 Apr 2024

United States

USCIS Completes Initial H-1B Cap Registration Selection Process for FY 2025

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that, as expected, it received sufficient electronic H-1B cap registrations during the initial registration period to reach the FY 2025 H-1B numerical allocations of 65,000 (for holders of a bachelor’s degree or a foreign equivalent) and 20,000 (for holders of advanced degrees from United States universities).

USCIS conducted two random lotteries to select enough registrations to satisfy both allocations and has, since last Tuesday, been notifying petitioners whose registrations have been selected that they may file H-1B cap-subject petitions for the beneficiaries named in the selected registrations. If a selection notification has not been received by now, it is highly likely that the registration was not selected in the lotteries.

USCIS has not indicated how many registrations it received this year, but anecdotal evidence suggests that the volume of filings has been significantly lower than last year, and the percentage of registrations selected is correspondingly higher.  USCIS should provide statistics on the volume of filings this year in the coming weeks.

The USCIS’ announcement indicates that registrants’ online accounts will now show one of the following statuses for each registration filed:

  • Submitted: The registration has been submitted and is eligible for selection. If the initial selection process has been completed, this registration remains eligible, unless subsequently invalidated, for selection in any subsequent selections for the fiscal year for which it was submitted.
  • Selected: Selected to file an H-1B cap-subject petition.
  • Not Selected: Not eligible to file an H-1B cap-subject petition based on this registration.
  • Denied – duplicate registration: Multiple registrations were submitted by or on behalf of the same registrant for the same beneficiary. If denied as a duplicate registration, all registrations submitted by or on behalf of the same registrant for this beneficiary for the fiscal year are invalid.
  • Invalidated –failed payment: A registration was submitted but the payment method was declined, not reconciled, or otherwise invalid.
  • Deleted: The submitted registration has been deleted and is no longer eligible for selection.
  • Processing submission: USCIS is processing the submission. It may take up to 72 hours for all the case information to show on the case details page. While it is processing, the case may not be accessed.

If an H-1B cap registration was selected in a lottery, a petitioner may file an H-1B petition on behalf of the named beneficiary with the appropriate filing location starting on April 1, 2024. The window for filing such a petition will be at least 90 days. The petition should include Form I-129, evidence of the specialty occupation nature of the position offered, evidence of the beneficiary’s qualifications for the position, a certified Labor Condition Application, and the applicable filing fees. The petition should also include a printed copy of the online registration selection notice. All H-1B petitions must be sent to USCIS either by mail in hard copy format or online through an Organizational Account. USCIS also notes that petitioners must also submit evidence of the beneficiary’s valid passport or travel document used at the time of registration to identify the beneficiary under this year’s beneficiary-centric selection system.

Petitioners filing H-1B petitions should be careful to file these in the correct location. Starting April 1, 2024, hard copy H-1B Form I-129 petitions are no longer filed directly with a USCIS Service Center. All paper-based H-1B and H-1B1 (HSC) Form I-129 petitions are now filed at USCIS lockbox locations. This includes cap, non-cap, and cap-exempt H-1B filings. USCIS notes that it will reject H-1B petitions received at a USCIS Service Center on or after April 1, 2024, with no grace period provided. The appropriate lockbox address can be found on the USCIS  Form I-129 Direct Filing Addresses website page.

Petitioners filing H-1B petitions should also make sure that they are enclosing the correct fee and using the correct version of Form I-129. USCIS has increased a number of filing fees effective April 1, 2024, and notes that petitions postmarked on or after April 1, 2024, must include these new fees. In addition, USCIS now requires the use of a new April 1, 2024, version of Form I-129. In this regard, the agency notes the following:

  • It will accept the 05/31/23 edition of this form if it is postmarked before April 1, 2024;
  • It will not accept the 05/31/23 edition of this form if it is postmarked on or after April 1, 2024; and
  • It will only accept the 04/01/24 edition of this form if it is postmarked on or after April 1, 2024.

USCIS notes that it will use the postmark date of a filing to determine which form version and fees are correct but will use the received date for purposes of any regulatory or statutory filing deadlines.

Petitioners seeking H-1B status for a beneficiary who has not yet received the degree or other academic credential required to qualify for the position offered or for the U.S. advanced degree cap should be mindful that the H-1B petition should not be filed until this degree or credential is issued.

USCIS will hold all non-selected H-1B cap registrations in case it determines that it has not received enough H-1B petitions to satisfy one or more of the H-1B numerical allocations. If it makes this determination, a new lottery or lotteries will be held among the non-selected registrations.

USCIS also notes that the volume of H-1B petition filings in April will probably result in a delay in the issuance of I-797 Notice of Action receipts for H-1B cap-subject petitions filed. Petitioners are advised not to file second H-1B petitions if there is a delay in their receipt of an I-797 Notice of Action, since the submission of a second petition will result in the denial or revocation of both petitions for duplicate submissions. If more than 30 days have passed since the delivery of an H-1B petition at a USCIS Service Center, the petitioner should contact the USCIS Contact Center.


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