Featured Issue: H-1B Registration Tool

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Key Dates

  • February 24: Prospective petitioners may begin creating H-1B registrant accounts. Representatives may create an account at any time.
  • March 1: H-1B registration period opens at noon ET.
  • March 20: H-1B registration period closes at noon ET.
  • March 31: Date by which USCIS intends to notify selected registrants.
  • April 1: The earliest date that FY 2021 H-1B cap-subject petitions may be filed.

On December 6, 2019, USCIS announced that it is implementing an electronic registration requirement for petitioners seeking to submit H-1B cap-subject petitions. Employers seeking to file FY2021 H-1B cap-subject petitions, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption, must first electronically register and pay an associated $10 fee for each electronic registration they submit to USCIS.

According to USCIS, under this new process, employers seeking H-1B workers subject to the cap, or their authorized representatives, will complete a registration process that will require only basic information about their company and each requested worker. USCIS announced that the initial registration period will start on March 1, 2020. Employers and their representatives will be able to set up required registration accounts prior to March 1. USCIS intends to close the initial registration period on March 20, 2020, and will announce the actual end date of the initial registration period on its website. USCIS will then run a random selection process on those electronic registrations. Only those with selected registrations will be eligible to file H-1B cap-subject petitions.

Per USCIS:

We will open an initial registration period from March 1 through March 20, 2020, for the FY 2021 H-1B numerical allocations.

  • During this timeframe, H-1B cap-subject petitioners, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption, seeking to file a FY 2021 H-1B cap petition will be required to first register electronically with USCIS and pay the associated $10 H-1B registration fee for each submission.
  • Prospective petitioners or their authorized representatives must electronically submit a separate registration naming each alien for whom they seek to file an H-1B cap-subject petition. Duplicate registrations are prohibited.
  • As described in the H-1B registration final rule, if more than a sufficient number of registrations are received, we will randomly select the number of registrations projected as needed to reach the FY 2021 H-1B numerical allocations after the initial registration period closes and notify registrants with selected registrations no later than March 31, 2020.
  • Prospective petitioners with selected registrations will be eligible to file a FY 2021 cap-subject petition only for the alien named in the registration and within the filing period indicated on the eligibility notice.

We will not consider a cap-subject H-1B petition to be properly filed unless it is based on a valid, selected registration for the same beneficiary and the appropriate fiscal year, unless the registration requirement is suspended. Additionally, although petitioners can register multiple aliens during a single online submission, a petitioner may only submit one registration per beneficiary in any fiscal year. If a petitioner submits more than one registration per beneficiary in the same fiscal year, all registrations filed by that petitioner relating to that beneficiary for that fiscal year will be considered invalid.

On February 5, 2020, USCIS released the following information about registration selection notifications:

USCIS intends to notify registrants and their representatives with selected registrations via their USCIS online accounts no later than March 31, 2020.

A registrant’s USCIS online account will show one of the four following statuses for each registration:

  • Submitted: A registration status may continue to show “Submitted” after the initial selection process has been completed. "Submitted" registrations will remain in consideration for selection until the end of the fiscal year, at which point all registration statuses will be Selected, Not Selected or Denied.
  • Selected: Selected to file an FY 2021 H-1B cap-subject petition.
  • Not Selected: Not selected for this fiscal year.
    • Please note that a registration will not reflect a status of Not Selected until the conclusion of the fiscal year. In the event that USCIS determines that it needs to increase the number of registrations projected to meet the H-1B regular cap or the advanced degree exemption allocation, USCIS will select from registrations held in reserve to meet the H-1B regular cap or advanced degree exemption allocation.
  • Denied: The same registrant or representative submitted more than one registration on the beneficiary’s behalf for the same fiscal year. All registrations the registrant or representative submitted on behalf of the same beneficiary for the same fiscal year are invalid.

H-1B cap-subject beneficiaries, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption, must have a “Selected” registration notification in order for a registrant or representative to properly file an H-1B cap-subject petition for FY 2021. Registrants and representatives will not be notified until the end of the fiscal year if they are not selected. The status of registrations not selected as part of any initial random selection process and not denied will remain as “Submitted.”

USCIS will post step-by-step instructions on how to complete the registration process, along with key dates and timelines, on its website as the initial registration period nears. Watch this page for updates.

USCIS has confirmed that the H-1B lottery registration will be through the myUSCIS portal. Create a myUSCIS account with this step-by-step how to by AILA’s Practice & Professionalism Center. (It addresses what two-factor authentication options are and which to choose, too.) USCIS also released a video with instructions on how to create a myUSCIS account:

Background

On January 31, 2019, USCIS issued a final rule making significant changes to the H-1B visa lottery process. The rule added an electronic registration requirement for petitioners seeking to submit H-1B cap-subject petitions and reversed the order by which USCIS selects petitions under the H-1B cap and the advanced degree exemptions. The final rule became effective on April 1, 2019, though DHS suspended the electronic registration requirement for the FY2020 cap season.

In early September, USCIS published a proposed rule that would require petitioners seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions to pay a $10 fee for each electronic registration they submit to USCIS for the H-1B cap selection process. In late September, in response to a sign-on letter sent by AILA and 14 other organizations, USCIS indicated that it intends to implement the registration process for the FY2021 cap season, subject to continued testing of the system.

AILA Resources on H-1B Registration

AILA Resources on Setting Up an H-1B Registration Account

Government Resources

AILA Comments and Communications with USCIS

Media Reports

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 19102407.