What’s New with H-1B Visas?

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Understanding H-1B Visas

The H-1B visa program allows U.S. employers to hire foreign workers in specialty occupations that require specialized knowledge and a bachelor’s degree or higher. This H-1B visa is one of the most sought-after visas for skilled professionals looking to work in the U.S.

Recent Updates to H-1B Visas

Electronic Filing

As of April 1, 2024, USCIS has expanded its online filing capabilities. H-1B petitions, including those with premium processing requests (Form I-907), can now be filed electronically. This transition to online filing aims to streamline the application process and improve efficiency.

Paper Filings

While USCIS encourages electronic filing, it still accepts paper-filed Form I-129 petitions at designated lockbox facilities. Starting April 1, 2024, H-1B and H-1B1 petitions must be filed at these lockbox facilities rather than at service centers. This change centralizes the paper filing process and is intended to expedite processing times.

Increased Fees

Effective April 1, 2024, the fee for Form I-129, used to file H-1B petitions, has increased from $460 to $780. This fee adjustment aims to support USCIS operational costs and improve service delivery.

New Organizational Accounts

On February 28, 2024, USCIS introduced new organizational accounts. These accounts allow multiple users within a company and their legal representatives to collaborate on H-1B registrations, petitions, and premium processing requests. Initially, users cannot link paper-filed Forms I-129 and I-907 to their online accounts, but this feature is expected to be integrated in the future.

Portability of H-1B Petitions

H-1B visa holders can transfer their petition to a new employer if required. This way, they can start new employment while their petitions are pending, offering more flexibility and continuity of employment.

Key Highlights of the Final Rule

Beneficiary-Centric Selection Process

The final rule implements a beneficiary-centric selection process for H-1B registrations. Each unique beneficiary will be entered into the selection process only once, regardless of the number of registrations submitted on their behalf. This limits foreign nationals to a single entry in the lottery system, preventing multiple entries for the same individual.

Mandatory Passport Information

Starting with the FY 2025 registration period, H-1B registrants must provide valid passport information for each beneficiary to ensure only a single entry per individual in the lottery system.

Flexible Start Date

DHS will now allow more flexibility regarding the start date for H-1B cap-subject petitions. Petitioners can request any start date within the applicable fiscal year, not exceeding six months beyond the petition’s filing date.

Key Points for Employers and Applicants

  • Transition to electronic filing if you still haven’t. Ensure that your registration and petitions are submitted electronically to avoid rejections.
  • Keep track of the increased filing fees and budget accordingly for H-1B petitions.
  • Utilize the new USCIS organizational accounts to streamline your company’s H-1B petition process.
  • Keep updated on potential policy changes, such as the extension of the grace period for laid-off H-1B workers from 60 to 180 days.


These updates show USCIS’s commitment to modernizing and simplifying the H-1B visa process, making it more efficient and user-friendly. Employers and visa applicants should stay up-to-date on these changes and consider consulting immigration experts to effectively navigate the complexities of the H-1B program.

For the latest information and detailed guidance, always refer to official USCIS announcements and or keep track of Imagility’s blog.

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