USCIS Announces Updates for FY 2025 H-1B Cap Season

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has recently made significant announcements regarding the H-1B Form I-129 filing process and updates for the FY 2025 H-1B cap season. These changes aim to streamline procedures and improve efficiency in the immigration application process. Let’s explore the details of these important updates.

H-1B Initial Registration Period Closure

The initial registration period for the FY 2025 H-1B cap season officially closed at noon Eastern on March 25, 2024. USCIS will soon conduct a random selection process to choose enough beneficiaries from the submitted registrations to fulfill the FY 2025 H-1B numerical allocations, including the master’s cap. Once selected, prospective petitioners will be notified of their eligibility to file an H-1B cap-subject petition for the selected beneficiaries.

Transition to Lockbox for Form I-129 Filing Locations

Starting April 1, 2024, USCIS will no longer accept paper-based H-1B and H-1B1 (HSC) Form I-129 petitions at USCIS service centers. Instead, all paper-based filings must be submitted to USCIS lockbox locations. This change applies to both cap and non-cap H-1B filings. It’s essential to note that any petitions received at USCIS service centers on or after April 1, 2024, will be rejected without a grace period. These changes aim to streamline the application process and provide clarity to prospective petitioners. Let’s explore the details of these updates.

Important Reminders for Petitioners

With the implementation of these changes, USCIS emphasizes the importance of using the correct edition of Form I-129 and adhering to the new fee structure. Effective April 1, 2024, petitions must include the new fees outlined in the final rule published by USCIS on January 31, 2024. Additionally, a new edition of Form I-129, dated 04/01/24, must be used for filings postmarked on or after April 1, 2024.

Online Filing and Organizational Accounts

USCIS has introduced online organizational accounts, allowing multiple individuals within an organization and their legal representatives to collaborate on and prepare H-1B registrations, petitions, and associated forms. Online filing for non-cap H-1B petitions commenced on March 25, with cap petitions and associated forms being accepted online starting April 1. While petitioners still have the option of filing paper forms, USCIS encourages the use of online filing for efficiency and convenience.

Discontinuation of Pre-paid Mailers

Effective March 25, 2024, USCIS ceased the use of prepaid mailers for any communication or final notices related to H-1B or H-1B1 (HSC) petitions. With the transition to lockbox and online filing, prepaid mailers are no longer viable. USCIS now relies on automated processes for printing and mailing H-1B petition approval notices, with notifications sent via email or text message to MyUSCIS account holders.

In conclusion, the recent announcements by USCIS regarding changes to the H-1B Form I-129 filing location and updates for the FY 2025 H-1B cap season signify significant shifts in the immigration application process. By transitioning to lockbox for paper-based filings, implementing online filing options, and updating fee structures and form editions, USCIS aims to enhance efficiency and accessibility while ensuring compliance with immigration regulations. Prospective petitioners are encouraged to stay informed and adhere to the latest guidelines to facilitate a smooth filing process.

Stay tuned with our Path2USA blogs for more updates and announcements from USCIS as they continue to evolve immigration procedures and policies.