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Immigration Update: H-1B Season and Redesigned Green Cards and EADs

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Keep Up to Date with the Latest Immigration News

We’re only a few weeks into the new year, but a lot has already happened in immigration—and it’s only going to get busier as we get closer to H-1B filing season.  

H-1B Registration Period Announced  

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced the H-1B cap registration period for the fiscal year 2024—it will open at noon Eastern on March 1, 2023, and run through noon Eastern on March 1, 2023. This is a critical moment for employers looking to secure one of these highly sought-after visas. Just 65,000 H-1B visas are issued annually with an additional 20,000 made available to foreign nationals possessing a U.S. master’s degree or higher. 
It’s been roughly a decade since the number of H-1B applicants hasn’t exceeded the number of available visas and a lottery (known as the H-1B lottery) was used to select recipients. In 2023, USCIS received 483,927 H1-B registrations, the highest number in the history of the program. It’s anticipated that applicants will outnumber visas this year as well, and a lottery will once again be needed. This makes it essential that employers file their H-1B petitions within the registration period—the earlier the better to avoid any last-minute issues.  
Employers and authorized representatives are required to file H-1B cap petitions electronically through USCIS’s online system, There is a $10 registration fee for each petition filed on behalf of a beneficiary and due to the likely large number of registrations, the daily credit card transaction limit will temporarily increase from $24,999.99 to $39,999.99. 
H-1B season moves quickly, but with proper planning and a sound strategy, employers can ensure it also moves smoothly. Now is the time for employers to begin identifying prospective H-1B candidates, such as students working in Optional Practical Training (OPT) or Curricular Practical Training (CPT) programs who will require an H-1B visa to continue employment in the U.S. once their OPT or CPT expires, or candidates with H-1B status for a cap-exempt employer seeking to transition to opportunities with cap-subject employers. 

USCIS Announces Newly Designed Permanent Resident Cards and EADs

On January 30th, USCIS began issuing redesigned Permanent Resident Cards (also known as Green Cards) and Employment Authorization Documents (EADs). USCIS redesigns the cards every three to five years to mitigate the threat of counterfeiting and fraud—the current cards were introduced in May 2017.
The newly released cards incorporate a host of features designed to increase security and resist tampering, including:
  • Detailed artwork
  • Tactile printing better integrated with artwork
  • Enhanced optically variable ink 
  • Holographic images on the front and back of cards
  • A layer-reveal feature with a partial window on the back photo box
  • Data fields relocated from prior card versions 
The launch of new cards doesn’t invalidate current cards—they remain valid until their expiration date unless otherwise noted. In fact, some Green Cards and EADs may still feature the existing format, as USCIS uses up its remaining cardstock. Some older Green Cards do not have an expiration date, and while these generally remain valid, USCIS is encouraging holders of these older cards to apply for a new replacement card to prevent fraud or tampering if the card is ever lost or stolen. 

GoffWilson Immigration Law 

GoffWilson solely practices immigration law and is a valuable partner to both businesses and individuals. Contact GoffWilson today to learn how we can help your business form a strategy for H-1B season and provide assistance with the preparation and submission of this important visa, or if you simply have a question about what the release of new Green Cards and EADs means for you. 
At GoffWilson, immigration isn’t just what we do, it’s our passion.
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