H-1B 2025 Lottery Round One Cap Reached

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced the completion of the initial registration selection process for the H-1B visa program for fiscal year (FY) 2025. This announcement brings clarity to thousands of prospective petitioners and beneficiaries eagerly awaiting updates on their H-1B visa status.

Despite the challenges encountered-the technical delays leading to the registration date being pushed and the glitches in the notification delivery system-the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has successfully completed the initial registration selection process, reaching the fiscal year (FY) 2025 H-1B numerical allocations, including the advanced degree exemption (master’s cap).

This announcement brings with it some important changes that you must familiarize yourself with if you plan to continue with the H-1B Visa process.

Registrants’ Statuses

Registrants who participated in the electronic registration process can now view the status of their submissions. The statuses include:

  • Submitted: Registrations that have been successfully submitted and are eligible for selection. These registrations remain in the pool for subsequent selections if not initially chosen.
  • Selected: Registrations chosen for filing an H-1B cap petition.
  • Not Selected: Registrations not chosen for filing a petition.
  • Denied – Duplicate Registration: Multiple registrations submitted for the same beneficiary are considered invalid.
  • Invalidated – Failed Payment: Registrations with payment issues are invalidated.
  • Deleted: Registrations that have been deleted and are no longer eligible for selection.
  • Processing Submission: USCIS is processing the submission, and it may take up to 72 hours for all case information to display.

Moving Forward

For those who eagerly awaited the results of the lottery, there may be a mix of emotions upon receiving notification of their status. Some may be celebrating being selected to file an H-1B cap petition, others may feel disappointed if not chosen. It’s essential to reassure individuals that not being selected in this round does not necessarily mean the end of their H-1B visa journey. There is still hope for future opportunities, as the USCIS may conduct a second round of H-1B visa selections. This year, the USCIS has emphasized its commitment to expediting visa processing, increasing the likelihood of a second round of selections.

Filing Period for FY 2025 H-1B Cap Petitions

Petitioners can begin filing H-1B cap-subject petitions for FY 2025, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption, starting April 1, 2024. Only petitioners with registrations for selected beneficiaries are permitted to file these petitions.

Submission Requirements

Petitioners must file their H-1B cap-subject petitions properly and within the designated filing period, as indicated in the selection notice. The filing period will be at least 90 days. Along with the petition, petitioners must include a copy of the applicable selection notice and evidence of the beneficiary’s valid passport or travel document used during registration.

New Fees and Form Edition

Effective April 1, 2024, USCIS has adjusted the fees for most immigration applications and petitions. Petitions postmarked on or after this date must include the new fees, as outlined in the final rule published on Jan. 31, 2024. Additionally, a new edition of Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker (04/01/24 edition), is required, with no grace period provided for using the previous edition.

Online Filing and Organizational Accounts

USCIS has introduced new online organizational accounts, allowing collaboration on and preparation of H-1B registrations, petitions, and associated forms. Online filing for non-cap H-1B petitions began on March 25, 2024, with online filing for H-1B cap petitions commencing on April 1, 2024. Paper filings remain an option, although during the initial launch of organizational accounts, linking paper-filed forms to online accounts will not be possible.

H-1B Form I-129 Filing Location Change to Lockbox

Effective April 1, 2024, paper-based H-1B and H-1B1 Form I-129 petitions are filed at USCIS lockbox locations, rather than directly at service centers. Petitions received at service centers after this date will be rejected, with no grace period provided. Specific mailing addresses are available for cases subject to the H-1B cap.

Discontinuation of Pre-paid Mailers

As of March 25, 2024, prepaid mailers are no longer utilized for any communication or final notices regarding H-1B or H-1B1 petitions. Notifications will be sent electronically, with paper notices following by mail.

Receipt Notice Delays

During peak filing periods, delays in issuing Form I-797, Notice of Action, may occur despite timely and proper filing. Petitioners experiencing delays should not submit duplicate petitions. If more than 30 days have passed since confirmation of delivery without receipt of the Form I-797, petitioners may contact the USCIS Contact Center for assistance.

For more information and guidance, please visit the USCIS website.

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