Immigration Updates from USCIS


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Quick Look

  • USCIS increased the filing fees for certain immigration and naturalization benefit requests.
  • Fiscal Year 2025 H-1B cap lottery opens on Wednesday March 6, 2024 at noon ET and ends on Friday March 22, 2024 at noon ET.
  • USCIS will implement a new “beneficiary-centric” system in an effort to ensure that all workers have the same chance of selection during the H-1B cap lottery process.


In the last month, we saw some important immigration-related updates come from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). These developments are summarized below.

USCIS Increased Filing Fees

On January 30, 2024, the USCIS announced a final rule to adjust certain immigration and naturalization benefit request fees for the first time since 2016. The final rule goes into effect on April 1, 2024.

The rule contains a significant change concerning varying filing fees based on visa type. For example, the H-1B visa base filing fee increased from $460 to $780; whereas L-1 intracompany transferee visas increased from $460 to $1,385. Of note, the new fee structure will provide special fee discounts for qualifying small employers and non-profit entities. Under the rule, a small employer is defined as those having 25 or fewer full-time employees. A full list of the increased fees can be found here.

Fiscal Year 2025 H-1B Lottery Dates

The USCIS announced the dates for the fiscal year 2025 H-1B cap lottery, which opens on Wednesday March 6, 2024 at noon ET and ends on Friday March 22, 2024 at noon ET. This annual lottery is meant to select new H-1B candidates who will be eligible to file an H-1B petition. If approved, these individuals will be eligible to begin H-1B employment on October 1, 2024. Generally, this lottery is completed through a USCIS random computer-generated selection process, selecting enough electronic registrations to meet the annual H-1B quota.  This includes an annual regular quota for the H-1B category of 65,000 workers, and an additional annual “master’s” quota of 20,000 workers who have obtained their master’s degree or higher from an accredited U.S. university.

New Beneficiary Selection Process

On February 2, 2024, the USCIS also announced a new rule intending to make the H-1B process more fair for all applicants by minimizing the effects of multiple registrations unfairly increasing certain applicants’ chances for selection. Effective March 4, 2024, USCIS implemented a new “beneficiary-centric” system in an effort to ensure that all workers have the same chance of selection. The new system implements measures to require a beneficiary’s valid passport or travel document information at the time of registration. It also prohibits a beneficiary from being registered under more than one passport or travel document. This will make the selection process beneficiary-specific, rather than allowing for multiple registrations on behalf of the same worker.

The new rule allows for USCIS to exercise discretion in valid instances of a “legal name change due to marriage, change in gender identity, or a change in passport number or expiration date due to renewal or replacement of a stolen passport in between the time of registration and filing the petitions.” In these situations, the H-1B petition filed on behalf of the beneficiary must contain evidence of the valid change or circumstances.

Action Items

  1. Review USCIS’s updated filing fees here.
  2. Review USCIS’s new rule governing the H-1B cap lottery process here.
  3. Consult with legal counsel on questions related to specific immigration and/or visa related situations.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser. © 2024 ManagEase