Fiscal Year 2024 H-1B Registration Updates
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) has announced its H-1B cap updates for fiscal year 2024 (“FY 2024”), as it received 780,884 registrations for the year, a 61% increase in registrations from FY 2023. This is the result of over 400,000 eligible registrations for the same individuals, which significantly exceeded eligible registrations for individuals with only one registration (350,103). While it is unlawful for a single U.S. employer to submit multiple cap registrations for the same person, multiple companies may submit a cap registration for one individual and this likely contributed to the registration increase for this fiscal year. This year’s selection rate is approximately 14%, a drastic decrease from the past fiscal years (i.e., approximately 26% in FY 2023, 42% in FY 2022, and 45% in FY 2021). USCIS will continue to inspect the selected registrations for potential signs of fraud and abuse and if necessary, a second lottery may be conducted if USCIS rejects enough registrations. Please continue to monitor Immigration Insights for H-1B cap season updates and contact immigration counsel to strategize H-1B alternatives for cap non-selections.
Suspension of Biometrics Submission for Certain I-539 Applicants through September 2023
USCIS has extended its suspension of the biometrics submission requirements for certain applicants filing Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status through September 30, 2023. The suspension, which has been in place since May 17, 2021, applies to I-539 applicants requesting an extension of stay or change of status to H-4, L-2, or E status. As such, these applicants are currently not required to pay an $85 biometrics fee when filing their I-539 application and are also not required to appear at an Application Support Center (“ASC”) to submit their biometrics (i.e., fingerprints and photograph). As USCIS continues to implement new processes and requirements to streamline the immigration process and reduce backlogs, the biometrics exemption may become permanent.
CBP Implements “Simplified Arrival” Program for all U.S. Arrivals
In April 2022, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) implemented its “Simplified Arrival” pilot program, eliminating ink stamps in passports upon entry into the U.S. Further, since March 2022, all Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Records for land entries are now fully electronic, with paper I-94s no longer being issued. As the pilot program becomes permanent, foreign citizens traveling should review their I-94 electronic record following each entry into the U.S. to ensure that their nonimmigrant status is accurately reflected in their electronic record to evidence their maintenance of status. Contact immigration counsel for assistance with correcting I-94 records directly with CBP.
DID YOU KNOW?
Munsch Hardt’s Immigration Team assists its corporate clients with outbound immigration matters involving obtaining certain types of visas for U.S. citizens and residents traveling to other countries. Most recently, our team has successfully prosecuted visa applications to assist a transportation conglomerate’s employees with urgently-needed travel to Europe.