US Visa: New Rules for H-1B Registration and Petition Filing – Investing Abroad News

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has taken several steps to improve the H-1B registration process and reduce the possibility of fraud. Some of the measures were implemented earlier, while many other important rules related to immigration and H-1B went live from April 1, 2024. The new visa fee schedule will impact the cost of numerous non-immigrant visa categories, including the most popular among Indians. : H-1B, L-1 and EB-5 visas.

Cost of H-1B registration

H-1B registration fees and Form I-129 petition filing fees will increase significantly in early April. Petitioners use Form I-129 to apply on behalf of a nonimmigrant worker to come to the United States temporarily to provide services or to obtain training as H-1B, H-2A, H-2B , H-3, L- 1, O-1, O-2, P-1, P-1S, P-2, P-2S, P-3, P-3S, Q-1 or R-1 non- immigrant worker.

The $10 registration process fee for the H-1B will increase to $215, an increase of 2,050%, and the fee to file a petition for Form I-129 is now $780. The filing fee for Form I- 129 H-1B are in addition to the H-1B registration fee. There will be no grace period for filing the new version of Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, as it must be updated with the new benefit calculation. The increased rates will take effect on April 1, 2024.

Beneficiary-oriented registrations

Beginning in fiscal year 2025 for the initial registration period, USCIS will require registrants to present a valid passport or travel document document information for each beneficiary. The passport or travel document presented must be the passport or travel document that the beneficiary intends to use to enter the United States if he is granted an H-1B visa. Each beneficiary must be registered under one passport or travel document. The beneficiary-oriented method selects registrations based on unique beneficiaries.

File Form I-129 petitions starting April 1

Effective April 1, 2024, USCIS service centers will no longer accept Form I-129 petitions requesting H-1B or H-1B1 (HSC) classification. USCIS will deny H-1B or H-1B1 (HSC) petitions received at a USCIS service center on or after April 1, 2024.

Effective April 1, 2024, all paper-filed Form I-129 petitions requesting H-1B1 (HSC) or H-1B classification, including those with a concurrent Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, and those with Form I-539 and/or Form I-765 filed simultaneously, must be filed at a USCIS lockbox facility.

USCIS will accept prior editions of most forms during a grace period from April 1, 2024 through June 3, 2024. During this grace period, USCIS will accept both prior and new editions of certain forms, submitted with the appropriate fee.

However, there is no grace period for the following new forms, as they will need to be revised with a new reimbursement calculation.

Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker;
Form I-129 CW, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Transitional Worker Working Only for CNMI;
Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Foreign Workers;
Form I-600A, Application for Prior Consideration of an Orphan Petition (and Supplements 1, 2, and 3); And
Form I-600, Request to Classify Orphan Child as Immediate Family Member.

Filing H-2B petitions

H-2B petitions postmarked on or after April 1, 2024 must include the new fees and be filed in the 01/24/24 edition of the form or USCIS will not accept them. The H-2B program allows U.S. companies or agents to employ foreigners for temporary, non-agricultural occupations if they meet certain legal requirements. Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, must be filed by a U.S. employer or agent on behalf of the prospective employee.