Department of Homeland Security

H-1B Cap Lottery Timelines Released by USCIS

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) has recently announced important dates for the upcoming H-1B visa lottery. The lottery registration period for fiscal year (“FY”) 2025 will run from 11:00 am CST on March 6, 2024, through 11:00 am CST on March 22, 2024, and petitioners and their representatives must utilize the electronic registration process to submit beneficiary registrations. FY 2025 marks the fifth year that the H-1B electronic registration process has been implemented to streamline the H-1B lottery system and the first year that USCIS anticipates rolling out its “organizational accounts” that allow collaboration between legal representatives and organizations for H-1B beneficiary registration and online filing of the H-1B cap petition. Petitioners may also opt to prepare paper filings in accordance with typical USCIS guidelines. Each registration must be prepared and submitted through “myUSCIS” and the H-1B lottery registration fee remains $10.

Once the registration closes on March 22nd, if there are more registrations than there are available visas (i.e., 65,000 regular H-1Bs and an additional 20,000 allocated to foreign nationals with U.S. graduate degrees), USCIS will use an electronic lottery system to select registrations. Account holders will be notified via their myUSCIS accounts if their registration was selected in the lottery. Consult your immigration counsel now to plan upcoming H-1B petition submissions and discuss related timelines.

USCIS Continues to Adjust Fees for Immigration Petition and Application Filings

In addition to the premium processing fee increases taking effect on February 26, 2024, USCIS has just announced a final rule implementing further fee adjustments that will be taking effect on April 1, 2024. Affected petitions and applications postmarked on or after April 1, 2024, must include the new fees or USCIS will reject the filings. USCIS’s new fee schedule will allow the government entity to recover a greater share of its operation costs and support more timely application processing. Further, USCIS will now allow the submission of an online filing for some petitions and applications for a small fee reduction (approximately $50) as part of their attempt to modernize the U.S. immigration system. Continue to monitor immigration Insights for the latest developments related to USCIS policy changes and news.

Department of State

Pilot Program for U.S. Visa Renewals Begins

As part of its pilot program, the U.S. Department of State (“DOS”) has begun to accept domestic H-1B visa renewal (i.e., “stateside processing”) applications for qualified H-1B visa holders who meet specific criteria and apply online between January 29 – April 1, 2024. Stateside processing was previously a routine practice until its elimination in 2004 due to the passage of the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act, which required that U.S. visas issued after October 26, 2004, include biometric identifiers. As the DOS still does not possess the capacity to collect these biometric identifiers, participation in the program is limited to individuals who have previously submitted fingerprints and meet the below-listed criteria. Eligible applicants include individuals:

  • Seeking to renew their H-1B visas;
  • Renewing visas issued by (i) U.S. Consular Offices in Canada, with an issuance date between January 1, 2020 – April 1, 2023; or (ii) U.S. Consular Offices in India, with an issuance date between February 1, 2021 – September 30, 2021;
  • Not subject to a nonimmigrant visa issuance fee (i.e., a reciprocity fee);
  • Eligible for a waiver of the in-person interview requirement;
  • Previously “ten printed” by the DOS in connection with a prior visa application;
  • Whose prior visa does not include a “clearance received” annotation;
  • Who do not have a visa ineligibility requiring a waiver prior to visa issuance;
  • Recently admitted and currently maintaining H-1B status in the U.S.;
  • Whose period of authorized admission in H-1B status has not expired; and
  • Who intend to reenter the U.S. in H-1B status after a temporary period abroad.

H-1B beneficiaries interested in domestic renewal of their visas should contact immigration counsel as soon as possible to assess their eligibility to participate in the pilot program due to limited application slots.


The Immigration Practice Group at Munsch Hardt recently assisted a globally recognized software development company with an immigrant petition for its prominent international executive. Munsch Hardt’s Immigration Team has extensive experience assisting with the full lifecycle of immigration proceedings from temporary nonimmigrant status through the establishment of permanent residence in the U.S.