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Business News/ News / Trends/  H1B visa: Confused about US work visa rule changes? Fee hike to lottery application, 5 things to know

H1B visa: Confused about US work visa rule changes? Fee hike to lottery application, 5 things to know

USCIS has implemented changes to the H-1B visa programme to enhance integrity and reduce fraud.

H-1B visa programme undergoes significant tweaks to strengthen integrity and reduce fraud (Photo: PTI)Premium
H-1B visa programme undergoes significant tweaks to strengthen integrity and reduce fraud (Photo: PTI)

The H-1B visa programme or US work visa programme is witnessing significant tweaks and the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) cites that the changes are aimed at strengthening the integrity of the programme and reducing the potential for fraud during the registration process. Now if you are confused about the rules, here is a complete guide for you. 

H1B fees hike 

From April 1, a candidate has to pay $110 in visa fees, which is a significant rise from $10. The visa fee has been hiked for the first time since 2016. Apart from this, registration fees for H-1B visas have been hiked from $10 to $215. 

Lottery application process changes

The FY 2025 H-1B cap introduces a lottery system where registrations are chosen based on individual beneficiaries, not employers. This ensures equal opportunities for each beneficiary and reduces the chances of fraud by eliminating the submission of multiple registrations for the same person. 

H-1B process to be fully electronic

The application for H1B process is likely to become fully electronic very soon. Speaking on the same, USCIS Director Ur M Jaddou told ANI it will enhance the H-1B programme and make it more equitable and transparent. 

He said, “The improvements in these areas should make H-1B selections more equitable for petitioners and beneficiaries and will allow for the H-1B process to be fully electronic from registration until final decision."

Domestic renewal of H1B visa

The United States began its pilot programme for domestic renewal of certain categories of work visas in 2023.

Earlier this year, U.S. State Department officials announced a limited rollout of the H-1B domestic visa renewal pilot, allowing a restricted 20,000 participants to renew their visas. Under this program, applicants are required to mail their visas to the State Department and are prohibited from traveling outside the U.S.

However, though H1B employees can renew their visas without leaving the country, their spouses can't.

USCIS announces final rule to strengthen H1B visa

“Starting with the FY 2025 initial registration period, USCIS will require registrants to provide valid passport information or valid travel document information for each beneficiary. The passport or travel document provided must be the one the beneficiary, if or when abroad, intends to use to enter the United States if issued an H-1B visa," USCIS said about the 

However, it further clarified that some petitions subject to the congressionally mandated H-1B cap can now be filed with employment start dates after October 1 of the relevant fiscal year, thus aligning with the existing policy, as reported by Visaguide. 

The final rule also codifies the ability of the USCIS to deny or revoke petitions where the underlying registration contained a false attestation or was otherwise invalid.



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Sanchari Ghosh
Sanchari Ghosh is a Chief Content Producer with LiveMint. She covers news, human interest, epidemiology and personal finance stories
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Published: 03 Feb 2024, 07:32 PM IST
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