January 2024 was a very active month for US Immigration. GLF provided updates via Google, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram on numerous US Immigration matters including:

  1. USCIS announces increase In Premium Processing Fees & Change In Premium Processing Timeframe.
  2. H-1B Lottery starts March 06, 2024 and the Process will be “Beneficiary-Centric”
  3. USCIS announces strategic improvements for H-1B CAP Season 2025
  4. USCIS provided updated guidance for late filings of Extensions and Change of Status

We at GLF post regular updates on our Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram handles. Additionally, we also periodically send out GLF Newsletters when the subject matter is extensive and relevant for a detailed analysis. Presented below is a consolidated summary of updates posted on GLF’s various social media handles for January 2024.


USCIS has announced a final rule to implement an inflation adjustment to premium processing fees effective February 26, 2024.

  • Form I-129, H-2B or R-1 Non-immigrant visas, there will be a fee increase from current $1,500 to $1,685 and for all the other Non-immigrant employment visas, the fee will be increased from the current $2,500 to $2,805.
  • For Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, the fee will increase from the current $2,500 to $2,805.
  • For Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Non-immigrant Status, the fee increase is from the current $1,750 to $1,965.
  • For Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization (EADs), the fee increase is from the current $1,500 to $1,685.

Any Form I-907 postmarked on or after February 26, 2024, sent with the wrong filing fee will be rejected by USCIS, and the fee will be returned.

In another important development, USCIS has announced that effective April 1, 2024, the premium processing timeframe for Form I-129 (H-1B/E-3/TN) will change from 15 calendar days to 15 business days; for Form I-539 and Form I-765 (e.g. F-1 OPT) it will change from 30 calendar days to 30 business days; and for EB-1C and EB2 NIW it will change from 45 calendar days to 45 business days..


USCIS’s Final Rule Amending H-1B Regulations will be published on February 2, 2024 and it takes effect 30 days after. H-1B Lottery starts on March 6, 2024 (12 noon Eastern) and ends March 22, 2024 (12 noon Eastern). A GLF, we are glad that the selection process is “Beneficiary Centric” – this should reduce fraud, thereby increasing chances of selection for all.

Here are some important details:

  1. Accounts can be setup at portal beginning 12 noon Eastern on February 28, 2024
  2. The H-1B Registration Fee is $10
  3. “Beneficiary-centric” selection process for registrations will be implemented – selection will be made based on unique Beneficiary irrespective of the number of registrations for that Beneficiary
  4. USCIS will separately notify each Registrant that their Registration on behalf of a Beneficiary has been selected, and that the Petitioner(s) may file a petition(s) for that Beneficiary
  5. Registrants must mandatorily provide valid passport information and the same passport must be used by the Beneficiary for travel to the US on H-1B Visa
  6. Each Beneficiary must only be Registered under one passport or travel document
  7. For FY 2025 Filings, start date flexibility is offered, so H-1B Employers can specify start date beyond October1, 2024


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is gearing up for significant enhancements to the H-1B cap season for 2025. USCIS will introduce organizational accounts for non-cap filings, and the fiscal year (FY) 2025 H-1B cap season enabling collaboration among organizations and legal representatives on H-1B registrations, Form I-129, and Form I-907.

The launch of organizational accounts in February 2024 will mark a major step toward a fully electronic H-1B lifecycle. Additionally, USCIS plans to transition the filing location for Forms I-129 and I-907 from service centres to the USCIS lockbox.


USCIS had issued updated policy guidance, that excuses certain late filed extensions of stay and change of status requests by non-immigrants. This guidance supersedes prior guidance and applies to filings on or after January 24, 2024.

Non-immigrants in the US are issued an I-94 at the port of entry on arrival that establishes their lawful period of stay in US. Prior to the expiration of that stay, however, they are often allowed to file for an extension of status (by filing I-129 for H-1B or L-1 extension) or change of status to another visa. Such requests must be filed before the current stay (I-94) expires. However, there may be circumstances where the request may not be filed timely.

USCIS through this updated guidance has announced that it may in its discretion excuse ate filings, if:

  1. If the delay was due to “extraordinary circumstances” beyond the control of the person
  2. Such “extraordinary circumstances” may include but are not limited to: strike, lockout, labor dispute, or lapse in government funding supporting those adjudications.

We can anticipate scenarios, for example where there is a government shutdown due to gridlock in Congress over budget and there is as such a delay in PERM approval from DOL or USCIS does not timely adjudicate an I-140 filing, leading to late filing of H-1B extension. In such cases, USCIS will not penalize the applicant.


At GLF, we will continue to follow further developments in the above discussed and other matters, while we provide updates through our Newsletter as and when they become available. GLF receives numerous emails and phone calls every day seeking comments on various proposed bills and media reports that are often inaccurate. It is our job to separate fact from fiction and advise clients on important and relevant updates. The best way to receive accurate information is through GLF Newsletters.

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