What is the announcement that will allow a company to file its H-1B petitions electronically?
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) recently announced that it is adding a feature to its website called an “organizational account.” These accounts will allow multiple people involved in the filing of a petition, including employers and their legal representation, to access and contribute to the same petition. These accounts will be available beginning in February of 2024 with the exact date to be announced in the coming weeks.
What steps can be taken now to prepare for the launch of these “organizational accounts”?
Before the organizational account feature is launched, companies should decide who will manage the account. Based on information currently available, it appears as though only one individual will have an “organizer” account to manage the group. Once that individual creates the group, they will be able to invite others who will need access to the group, such as attorneys, paralegals, HR, etc. USCIS recommends that the organizer be someone who can sign, pay, and submit petitions on behalf of the employer.
Individuals who are designated by their company as the organizer may already have accounts on the USCIS webpage. If this is the case, that individual can log into their existing account and upgrade it to an “organizer” account by following the on-screen instructions, which will be available after the organizational account feature has launched. Individuals who will be members of the account will receive an email invite from the organizer, which will have instructions on how to upgrade to a “member” account.
Is there a way I, my company, or my legal representative can learn more about this process?
USCIS already hosted two national engagements on January 23 and January 24 to discuss this launch, but they will also host several smaller “Tech Talks” over the course of the month of February. Attendees will be able to ask questions about the organizational account feature, including how they can be used for the H-1B CAP registration and the electronic filing of H-1B CAP and CAP-exempt petitions. USCIS is encouraging everyone involved in the H-1B process to attend these events. To learn more about these events, including how to join, please review the information here for the date you are interested in attending. You can sign up for email notifications and reminders here.
Can H-1B petitions still be filed by mail?
H-1B petitions can still be filed by mail after the electronic filing system is launched. However, the process of paper filings will change. Instead of paper petitions being mailed directly to a service center based on the employer’s location, they will need to be sent to an assigned lockbox. The assignments for the lockbox locations have not been released yet.
Utilizing the lockbox system for H-1B petitions will further the government’s goal of improving efficiency and minimizing costs associated with processing petitions. The lockbox locations are able to distribute incoming petitions based on a variety of factors, including the applicant’s home state, each service center’s processing times, etc.
Zulkie Partners has previously written on President Biden’s initiative to modernize and improve the H-1B process. You can read about the other pending updates here.
Zulkie Partners will continue to monitor and provide updates on the organizational account feature and electronic H-1B filing process. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions related to your H-1B CAP registration or about filing your next H-1B petition electronically.