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Immigration Newsletter - March 2024

USCIS Provides Initial Instructions for FY 2025 H-1B Cap Season

Initial instructions for the FY 2025 H-1B season include information on the open registration period, filing locations, online filing, and fee increases:

  • The initial registration period for the FY 2025 H-1B cap will open at noon (EST) on March 6, 2024, and run through noon (EST) on March 22, 2024. USCIS will now require registrants to provide valid passport information or valid travel document information;
  • The registration process will be beneficiary-centric, with USCIS making selections by unique beneficiary rather than registration. The new process is intended to make it more likely that each beneficiary will have the same chance of being selected, regardless of how many registrations are submitted on their behalf;
  • The registration fee of $10 will remain in effect for the FY 2025 registration period from March 6, 2024 to March 22, 2024;
  • The I-129 fee for H-1Bs will increase from $460 to $780 (this is not the only fee associated with an H-1B filing); and
  • For FY 2025, there will be start date flexibility for certain H-1B cap-subject petitions, permitting filing with start dates that are after October 1 of the relevant fiscal year, consistent with current USCIS policy.

Contact us with questions about the H-1B lottery.

Increased USCIS Filing Fees Go into Effect on April 1, 2024

The new USCIS filing fee schedule has created new types of fees that may be applicable based on the size of the company, the classification type, and how the application is filed. The following are the more important changes relevant to employment-based immigration:

  • To encourage online filing, USCIS has instituted a $50 discount on forms filed online. Because not all forms can be filed online, the discount is available only for the following forms: Form I-90, Form I-130, Form I-539, Form I-765, Form N-336, Form N-400, Form N-565, Form N-600, Form N-600K, Form G-1041, and Form G-1041A.
  • Adjustment of status fees no longer include fees for Forms I-131 and I-765, as they did for year. Rather, the new fee schedule now requires payment of all three fees separately. However, there is a 50 percent discount for Forms I-765 that are filed based on an adjustment of status application.
  • USCIS has changed the processing times for premium processing from calendar days to business days. As a reminder, the fees for premium processing increased on February 26, 2024. Click here to find out more information.
  • Rather than a consistent charge for all nonimmigrant categories that use the Form I-129, the cost will now be dependent on the requested classification, as well as the size and type of employer. By way of example, the fee for a Form I-129 seeking an H-1B classification will now be $780 (up from $460). However, if an H-1B classification is sought by a small employer or nonprofit, the fee will be only $460.
  • USCIS has instituted a new Asylum Program Fee designed to help fund the asylum process through employment-based petition fees. It establishes an additional $600 fee for most Forms I-129, I-129CW, and Form I-140 (nonprofits are exempt from the Asylum Program Fee and small employers pay a lower fee).
  • We have attached a helpful flyer that explains the fee changes. Click here to access it.

Contact us with questions about the new USCIS filing fees.

US Supreme Court to Hear Case Involving Consular Nonreviewability

Consular nonreviewability refers to the doctrine in US immigration law where the visa decisions made by consular officers (Foreign Service Officers working for the US United States Department of State) cannot be appealed in the US judicial system. The US Supreme Court recently agreed to hear DOS v. Munoz, a case where a consular officer’s refusal to grant a visa to a US citizen’s noncitizen spouse arguably impinges upon the citizen’s constitutional rights.

Contact us with questions about consular processing of visas.

USCIS Releases FY 2023 Data on Meeting its Goals

Data recently released by USCIS shows that it received 10.9 million files in FY 2023 (a more typical level is 9 million filings), completed 10 million immigration filings, and reduced the agency’s overall backlog (by 15%) for the first time in decades. Looking specifically at employment-based immigration, USCIS pointed out that it, along with the Department of State (DOS), issued more than 192,000 immigrant visas, far above the pre-pandemic number. Moreover, no available visas went unused.

Contact us with questions about USCIS backlogs.

How to Avoid Getting Locked Out of myUSCIS Accounts

While myUSCIS has many benefits, users have reported being locked out of their accounts. To assist, USCIS has posted a helpful tip sheet with suggestions on how individuals can access information and avoid getting locked out of their accounts. Click here to access the sheet.

Client Flyer: Understanding Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record

Individuals applying for a green card in the US must submit Form I-693, a medical exam and vaccination record completed by a doctor listed on the USCIS website. The form is necessary to establish that the applicant is eligible to enter the US based on health reasons. Conversely, certain medical issues, such as “communicable diseases of public health significance,” may render an applicant ineligible for lawful permanent residence. We have attached a helpful flyer that explains the Form I-693 requirement. Click here to access it.

Please contact us with questions about the medical exam.

Recent Visa Bulletins and Possible Downgrade of EB-2 Petitions to EB-3 Petitions

Beginning with the January 2024 Visa Bulletin, the third-preference, employment-based immigrant visa category (EB-3) for individuals born in the People’s Republic of China (China) has a more recent cut-off date than the second-preference, employment-based category (EB-2). Under these circumstances, it is possible to request a “downgrade” to the EB-3 category. This would enable the applicants in the EB-2 category to use their priority date in the EB-3 category, thereby shortening their wait.

Please contact us with questions about downgrading a petition. 

  • Victoria A. Donoghue

    Victoria Donoghue has an extensive background in immigration law, advising clients on the full range of issues related to employment-based immigrant and nonimmigrant visas. Her experience includes handling complex Requests for ...

  • Abigail J. Walsh

    Abigail Walsh has over 20 years’ experience in a wide range of immigration matters. She represents multinational and domestic corporations, their employees and private individuals in business immigration matters before U.S ...


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