U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is expanding its electronic filing access to encompass all H-1B filings. This includes H-1B “cap” or “lottery” registrations and “non-cap” petitions through the rollout of organizational accounts that are expected to be available online in February 2024, with online filing following shortly.
Electronic H-1B cap registration for selection in the annual H-1B lottery has been available since 2020 (for the FY 2021 season), and electronic filing is possible for other immigration processes, including naturalization, family sponsorship, and change or extension of some types of status.
However, the I-129 petition form, which is used to gain or extend many types of work-authorized status, including H-1Bs, has not been available online. After the electronic H-1B cap registration selection, the H-1B petition had to be physically mailed. Upon implementation of electronic H-1B petitions, the entire process – including the I-907 premium processing submission – can be done electronically.
Electronic filing will continue to be optional, as it is for other online filing processes.
While not included in the announcement, the ability to file an I-129 online could open electronic filing for other categories, such as E, L-1, O-1, and R-1, in the future.
Another welcome change is the establishment of organizational accounts, which will allow more than one person at an employer entity online filing access. Until now, only one email address – which was not to be shared – could be associated with an account, making obtaining authorization to file, collaboration with legal counsel, and staffing changes challenging.
Additional information regarding the online filing process will be provided in stakeholder engagements on January 23 and 24, 2024, at which time we would expect the online resources to be accessible as well.
Electronic filing to date has had variable results. While it often results in faster processing, the interface can be frustrating, and online help is sadly inadequate. Your Dentons immigration team is here to assist and guide you through the process.