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Navigating the New H-1B Visa Registration Process

The Chicago H-1B visa lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer PC. reviewed the DHS’s final regulations regarding the H-1B registration process.  Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has introduced a series of significant changes to the H-1B visa registration process, aiming to streamline the procedure and ensure a fair chance for all applicants. With the new system commencing on March 6, 2024 and ends on March 22, 2024, it is crucial for employers to understand these updates and prepare accordingly.

Beneficiary-Centric Process

The Department of Homeland Security published final regulations outlining how USCIS will select H-1B registrations.  The USCIS introduced a beneficiary-centric approach, which marks a significant shift from the previous method of selection. Under the new rule, USCIS will select H-1B registrations based on each unique beneficiary, meaning that every individual entered the selection process will have an equal opportunity to be chosen, regardless of the number of registrations filed on their behalf. This method aims to eliminate the possibility of gaming the system to increase selection chances, thereby maintaining the integrity and fairness of the process.

Under the new H-1B visa registration process, all employers who submit registrations on behalf of a beneficiary will be notified if that beneficiary is selected in the lottery. Once a beneficiary is selected in the H-1B visa lottery, USCIS will inform every employer who submitted a registration for that specific beneficiary. This notification process allows all participating employers to be aware of their candidate’s selection status. Subsequently, each notified employer will have the opportunity to file an H-1B petition on behalf of the selected beneficiary during the applicable petition filing period.

This approach will be beneficiary-centric in nature, aiming to streamline communication and reduce uncertainty for employers.  For that reason, the registrants must enter either a valid passport information or valid travel document information in the registration.

Understanding the Electronic Registration Requirement

In an effort to make the H-1B visa application process more efficient, USCIS now mandates that all petitioners must register electronically through the official USCIS website. This requirement applies to both the H-1B regular cap and the H-1B advanced degree exemption. It is the first step in filing an H-1B cap-subject petition for a beneficiary, ensuring that the petitioner is eligible to proceed with the application for the selected fiscal year.

The Importance of Individual Registrations

A critical aspect of the updated process is the limitation on registrations per beneficiary. Each prospective petitioner is required to submit a separate electronic registration for every beneficiary and is restricted to one registration per beneficiary per fiscal year.

Registration Period and Selection Process

The initial registration period is set to last a minimum of 14 calendar days, providing a sufficient window for all interested petitioners to submit their registrations. USCIS commits to announcing the start and end dates of this period well in advance, ensuring transparency and allowing employers to prepare accordingly.  Here are the important dates:

  • March 6: H-1B registration period opens at noon Eastern.
  • March 22: H-1B registration period closes at noon Eastern.
  • March 31: Date by which USCIS intends to notify selected registrants.
  • April 1: The earliest date that FY 2025 H-1B cap-subject petitions based on the registrations selected during the initial FY 2025 selection period may be filed.

A change in the selection process is the focus on unique beneficiaries. This means that each beneficiary will be counted only once in the selection process, regardless of the number of registrations submitted on their behalf. This adjustment aims to democratize the selection process, giving each beneficiary an equal chance of being selected.

Required Information for Registration

To complete the registration, petitioners must include the beneficiary’s valid passport information or a valid travel document. This ensures that the beneficiary can be accurately identified and is eligible to enter the United States if selected. It is important to note that each beneficiary must be registered under a single passport or travel document, reinforcing the uniqueness of each registration.

The following information must be entered as part of the registration process

  1. Beneficiary’s Legal Name: Ensure the registration includes the full legal name of the beneficiary.
  2. Date of Birth: Provide the complete date of birth of the beneficiary.
  3. Country of Birth: Include the country where the beneficiary was born.
  4. Valid Passport or Travel Document Information:
  • Passport number or travel document number.
  • Country of issuance. Enter the country that issued the passport and not the country in which a consulate is geographically located.  For example, if a German citizen has their German passport issued or renewed at the German Consulate in the United States, please write “Germany.”
  • Expiration date.
  1. Certification under Penalty of Perjury:
  • The registrant must certify that the information contained in the registration is complete, true, and correct.
  • The registration must reflect a legitimate job offer, and the registrant intends to file an H-1B petition on behalf of the beneficiary.

Post-Selection Procedures

Upon selection, USCIS will notify each registrant employer, allowing the petitioner to proceed with filing an H-1B cap-subject petition for the beneficiary. This notification is crucial as it enables the employer to prepare the necessary documentation and fulfill the subsequent steps of the application process within the designated filing period.

Registration Fee and Compliance

The non-refundable registration fee is currently $10.00. Employers must ensure that the fee is paid and properly processed at the time of registration to avoid any complications that could lead to the denial or revocation of the H-1B petition.

Integrity of Information

One of the key issues centers on the accuracy of information submitted during the registration process. The DHS regulations emphasize that submitting false or incorrect information, including any false attestations, could lead to the denial or revocation of petition approval. This highlights the crucial need for accuracy, but it also raises concerns about the potential for genuine mistakes to result in severe consequences. Furthermore, the problem of frivolous registrations remains a concern. Despite the beneficiary-centric selection approach’s aim to reduce such registrations, the regulations recognize that there is an ongoing challenges posed by fraud and misuse, including registrations submitted without genuine job offers or by fraudulent companies.

The handling of multiple registrations for the same beneficiary by different employers adds another layer of complexity. While intended to give every unique beneficiary an equal chance of being selected, managing these registrations fairly poses operational challenges.  Moreover, it creates waste as more than one employer files a petition to USCIS with the same registration.

Changes of Information

Changes in identifying information present another challenge. Situations like legal name changes due to marriage may cause information to be challenged.  USCIS regulations include a level of discretion in handling these changes. However, this discretion could introduce ambiguity and uncertainty, complicating the process for petitioners and beneficiaries.

The revamped H-1B visa registration process represents a significant shift to combat fraudulent registrations.  By adhering to the new requirements and understanding the registration procedure, employers can navigate this transition smoothly and secure their chances of successfully sponsoring beneficiaries for the H-1B visa. With careful preparation and compliance, the updated system promises a more streamlined and equitable approach to the highly competitive H-1B visa allocation.H-1B registration.

If you would like to submit a registration for a potential H-1B beneficiary, you can contact the Chicago Immigration law office of Zneimer & Zneimer for assistance.  We have reviewed the regulations and are assisting petitioners with registrations.  If you need help, contact us immediately as the registration period closes on March 22, 2024.

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