US visa news: The H-1B procedure will begin on March 6; here are ten key factors to know.

USCIS has introduced new guidelines to improve the integrity of the H-1B registration process and eliminate fraud. The H-1B program provides temporary US visas to corporations that want to hire highly talented foreign specialists in sectors where there aren’t enough eligible American workers.

A US federal agency announced that the H-1B visa application submission process for fiscal year 2025 would begin on March 6. This revelation corresponds with the announcement of a significant revision of the annual lottery for this specialized employment visa.

What is the H-1B visa?

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US employers to hire foreign workers in specialized occupations requiring theoretical or technical knowledge. Every year, technology companies rely on it to hire tens of thousands of personnel from nations such as India and China.

Here are some things to know:

1. According to the USCIS, the initial registration period for the fiscal 2025 H-1B cap will begin at noon Eastern on March 6 and go until March 22. During this time, prospective petitioners and their advocates, if any, must use a USCIS online account and pay the registration cost for each beneficiary.

2. Beginning February 28, companies will be able to open an account that may be used to begin and complete the registration procedure.

3. Beginning with the fiscal year 2025 first registration period on October 1, 2024, USCIS will require registrants to furnish valid passport or travel document information for each beneficiary.

4. The passport or travel document presented must be the one the beneficiary plans to use to enter the United States if granted an H-1B visa. USCIS stated that each beneficiary must be enrolled under just one passport or travel document.

5. The new system provides a beneficiary-centric selection procedure for employer registrations.

6. Unlike in the past, where multiple applications by one individual frequently resulted in system abuse and fraud, H-1B visa applications would now be counted and accepted on an individual basis. Even if the same person files many applications for different organizations, they are counted as one application based on their credentials, such as passport numbers.

7. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a set of new rules targeted at improving the integrity and limiting the possibility of fraud in the H-1B registration process.

8. This includes decreasing the possibility of manipulating the registration system and guaranteeing that each recipient has an equal chance of being chosen, regardless of how many registrations are submitted on their behalf, according to the federal agency.

9. USCIS says that this final rule has parts that will make the employer registration process more beneficiary-centered, give petitioners more start date flexibility for some cases that are subject to the congressionally mandated H-1B cap, and make the registration process more honest.

10. The H-1B final rule further formalizes USCIS’s jurisdiction to reject or cancel H-1B petitions in circumstances where the underlying registration was invalid or contained a fraudulent attestation. Furthermore, the new law allows USCIS to withhold or revoke the approval of an H-1B petition if it discovers that the registration fee was rejected, not reconciled, challenged, or otherwise illegal after the pet ition was filed.

The pilot program for H-1B visa renewal will be open from January 29 to April 1, accepting about 4,000 applications per week. H-1B visa holders will be able to renew their visas in the United States before a temporary journey overseas under the trial scheme, which is voluntary.

The US has developed a pilot initiative that will help Indian technology experts. Washington has created a procedure to renew the highly sought-after H-1B international work permits domestically. 

This marks the first time in over two decades that a restricted number of H-1B nonimmigrants will be able to renew their visas from within the United States.

H-1B Visa Renewal

The H-1B overseas work visa renewal program allows current H-1B visa holders to renew their visas in the United States before a temporary journey abroad. A declaration in this regard was made during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s historic state visit in June last year.

H-1B Visa Renewal: Application Limit

The State Department stated that the pilot program is voluntary and will accept approximately 4,000 applications per week, with 2,000 for applicants whose previous H-1B visas were issued by its diplomatic missions in Canada and another 2,000 for applicants whose prior H-1B visas were issued by US embassies and consulates in India.

H-1B Visa Renewal: Application Process

H-1B visa applicants would be able to apply only through the portal. Applications will be processed in the order in which they are received until the weekly maximum is met.

“Applicants who are unable to apply on a specific application day may reapply on any of the remaining application dates throughout the entrance term.” The application period will end when all application slots have been filled or on April 1, 2024, whichever comes first,” it stated.

H-1B Visa Renewal: Application Process and Duration

The projected processing period is six to eight weeks from the date the State Department receives the applicant’s passport and other relevant papers.

According to the State Department, all applications will be processed in the order they are received.

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