United States Customs and Immigration Services formally announced in this month’s Federal Register the implementation of the previously announced H-1B online registration process for H-1B cap-subject petitions. USCIS will require H-1B cap-subject petitioners to register electronically with USCIS, and pay an H-1B registration fee before being eligible to properly register for an H-1B cap subject petition for the FY 2021 H-1B visa lottery starting on March 1st, 2020. Petitioners will have until March 20th to register electronically before the initial registration period will close. 

USCIS has announced that it will “not consider an H-1B cap-subject petition to be properly filed unless it is based on a valid registration selection for the applicable fiscal year.”

Employers will need to create accounts in the USCIS filing system in order to electronically register for the H-1B cap. USCIS has not yet announced when employers will be able to begin creating accounts on the USCIS website, though we expect there to be time prior to the registration period to set up the account in advance. DLG will provide updates as they become available. 

After this initial registration period closes, USCIS will begin to conduct the selection process. Petitioners with selected registrations will be contacted electronically no later than March 31st that they are then eligible to file an H-1B cap subject petition for the selected registrations during a filing period of at least 90 days.

The FY 2021 H-1B visa filing season begins April 1st, 2020. Every year 65,00 new H-1B visas, as well as 20,000 new H-1B visas for employees with advanced degrees from American universities and colleges, are issued to professionals seeking employer-based visa status. 

USCIS has stated that this new rule will streamline visa processing by reducing paperwork and data exchange, and will provide an overall cost savings to petitioning employers.⁣ Employers selected through this H-1B random selection process through electronic registrations will be able to file H-1B cap-subject petitions on behalf of their prospective employee. This differs from previous years, whereas USCIS would select eligible petitions through the random selection process.

USCIS will conduct this random selection of the electronic registrations logged during the initial registration period, and employers who are issued a registration number will be permitted to move forward with a full petition. 

It is also important to note that, like current policy, employers are prohibited from submitting additional registrations for a singular foreign national. With that said, multiple registrations can be submitted by different employers so long as each registration represents a real job offer for the potential employee. 

We’re closely monitoring all H-1B visa lottery news and will provide updates, instructions, and more as they become available. 

D’Alessio Law Group offers comprehensive H-1B registration and filing services for professionals interested in pursuing new opportunities in the United States, and for employers hoping to hire and retain top international talent. If you, your employer, or company are interested in pursuing the H-1B visa lottery, book a consultation with our experts in order to get the ball rolling on the registration process, and to begin preparing your case.

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