Quick Questions & Answers on H1-B Cap Season 2024

Get answers to all essential questions which may come across in the H1B cap season 2024

H1-B 2024 Cap Season-Complete Guide

Per the USCIS press notification released on 28 Jan 2023, the registration process will start on 1 Mar 2023 at noon EST and run through 17 Mar 2023 at noon EST. During this period, prospective petitioners and representatives can complete and submit their registration using the H1B website myaccount.uscis.gov.

Like any fiscal year, 2024 will be no different. The number of new H1-B visas that USCIS will issue for 2024 will be 85000, out of which 65000 for people with bachelor’s degrees, and the rest is for foreign nationals with Master’s degrees or a doctorate from any U.S. institution of higher learning.

The answer to the question “no.” There is a limit of 85000 on new H1-B visas, which the USCIS will issue for the fiscal year 2024, but there is no limit on the number of beneficiaries with specific nationalities.

When we talk about H1-B visas, then is an underlying definition of “specialty occupation.” Any profession or job description which fits into the definition of “specialty occupation” will be eligible under an H1-B visa. For the fiscal year 2024, the recommendation for employers/ petitioners is to check for the new SOC code 2018 to clarify whether a job role in their company is eligible for an H1-B visa in the fiscal year 2024.

Any U.S. employer looking to hire foreign professionals for the fiscal year 2024 ( which starts from 1 Oct 2024) using the H1-B visa route can file registration for H1-B cap season 2024 which begins from 1 Mar 2023. In this case, the employer is called the petitioner or the sponsoring company, and the prospective employee is called the beneficiary. 

An employer can directly register using the registrant account on the USCIS website, or any immigration attorney or legal representative can do that on the employer’s behalf for the H1-B cap season 2024.

Any petitioner or representative should have the following documents and information ready for H1-B registration for the 2024 cap season.

  1. The official name of the sponsoring company.
  2. The correct address of the sponsoring company, which USCIS can verify at a later date.
  3. The official name of the beneficiary employee, here the official term refers to one that the passport shows.
  4. Gender & date of birth of H1-B beneficiary employee.
  5. H1-B beneficiary employee’s passport number.
  6. Eligibility of U.S Masters H1-B quota ( if applicable)

There is no appeal process for the petitioner if they register a beneficiary multiple times, which the USCIS can consider a duplicate. Because of this, it is vital to do a thorough check before making the final submission. During the 2023 season, the USCIS enabled the registration website with a feature that allows a petitioner to check things n the draft mode before making the final submission to avoid duplicity mistakes.

The change of official address is a common phenomenon leading to a situation when the address of the petitioner or the sponsoring employer differs in registration and the I-129 form. If this happens with you during the H1-B cap season 2024, USCIS recommends including a statement with the petition with supporting documents explaining the reason behind the difference. One must remember that the USCIS objective is always to understand that the prospective employer is the same as that in the registration, so ensure the supporting documents act as valid proof.

The start date refers to the date from which the beneficiary employee would start working with the sponsoring employer once the issuance process of the H1-B visa is complete. Since the H1-B cap season 2024 is meant for the follow-up calendar year, the start date should be 1st Oct 2024 or later ( six months or less from the receipt date of the petition)

There is no effect if the relationship between the petitioner and the immigration attorney ends before the petition filing during the 2024 cap season. The petitioner will always have access to the details through their registrant account on the USCIS website but will not be able to add a new attorney or legal representative further to handle the future proceeds.

We all know that authorized signatories in any organization keep changing in a real business scenario, so if we go by the USCIS guidelines, the authorized signatory can differ in both registration and petition during the H1-B cap season 2024. Everything remains valid if the person signing any document in the H1-B cap season process is a designated signatory.

We have seen many acquisitions daily, a common phenomenon in the business world. A registration picked up in the lottery remains valid even if the sponsoring company got acquired during the H1-B cap season 2023. The challenge for the acquiring company is that they need to show valid documents supporting the transaction, which reflects them as the suitable successor of interest.

There are a lot of scenarios for which the USCIS can ask for RFE in the H1-B cap season 2024, and which can be very specific because of certain information furnished by the sponsoring employer during registration or while filing for the I-129 petition. Still, there are some basics that every H1-B employer should keep in mind to avoid RFEs in the H1-B cap season 2024:

  1. The important thing is to make a judgment if the job in question qualifies under the H1-B guidelines. A common RFE that any sponsoring employer may receive during the H1-B cap season 2024 when they cannot establish that the job in question is a “Speciality occupation.”We all know position eligible under an H1-B visa qualifies under the definition of “Specialty occupation” when the person or the beneficiary needs specialized knowledge with a bachelor’s or master’s degree to execute the functions under the job.
  2. Another common RFE that USCIS might send to a sponsoring employer during the H1-B cap season when they cannot establish work availability. Any employer should not file a petition based on the prospective availability of work. Depending on the industry they are in, the sponsoring employer should be able to provide documents like work orders, existing client details, contracts, etc., to establish that they have a job for the beneficiary for whom they are filing the H1-B petition.

An employer can make the judgment based on a few things:

  1. They can refer to the DOL publication called the Occupation Outlook Handbook. The handbook can give an idea of a job position, and the minimum educational qualification required. One must remember that USCIS doesn’t consider degrees like Bachelor in Arts, BBA, and similar degrees as specific qualifications for an H1-B visa.
  2. The job description of a job title is fundamental. The employer needs to establish that the functions under the job fundamentally require specialized knowledge and skills and a minimum bachelor’s degree for an employee to execute them.
  3. Looking at industry standards is another way to establish that the job position qualifies for a “specialty occupation.” The employer can refer to job portals to understand whether a job requires specialized skills and a bachelor’s degree in the industry to which they belong. The employer can show USCIS that they had previously hired people under a similar job position under the H1-B visa category.
  4. The employer should be able to establish a link between the degree and the functions in a job position.
  5. Making a judgment based on SOC codes is another way. The SOC codes give a detailed description of a job title. For H1-B cap season 2024, one needs to refer to the new SOC code 2018
  • File the petition way in advance. The dates for filing a petition start from 1 April 2023 for the H1-B cap season 2024, and one gets a 90-day period to submit the petition. Filing the petition at the earliest will ensure that the person can refile their case if there is a USCIS rejection.
  • Always look for the latest version of the I-129 form for filing the petition during H1-B cap season 2024.
  • Make sure the petitioner attaches a copy of the H1-B registration selection notice with the confirmation number with their petition during the H1-B cap season 2024
  • The petitioner has to ensure that any information they provide with the I-129 petition matches that of the registration. If there is a difference, one needs to flag it to communicate to the USCIS that the information in the petition form is correct with supporting documents.
  • The petitioner should make sure that the fee calculation for the H1-B petition is correct and that the amount written on the cheque is right.
  • It is also essential for the petitioner to attach the LCA with the I-129 for H1-B cap season 2024, and the information in the LCA corresponds with all that is in the petition.
  • The petitioner needs to file their petition with the correct service center. One can find the information about the service center on their registration selection notice.

In the case of multiple H1-B petitions for the same beneficiary by numerous petitioners, there is a high chance of rejection. The USCIS would consider it a fraud if they find a relationship between the petitioners leading to the revocation of the H1-B petition after it is approved.

Once registration gets picked in the H1-B lottery 2024, USCIS will communicate the same with the registration selection notice with a registration number, and the filing process will start after the date. The USCIS will allow you to file an H1-B petition for 2024 between 1 April 2023 and 30 June 2023. 

The petitioner filing for an H1-B petition for the cap season 2024 should fill out the I-129 form, attach the same with necessary documents to support the information in the petition along with the LCA, and send the total docket to the service center mentioned in the registration selection notice.