April 2, 2020
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced that H-1B cap-subject petitions for fiscal year 2021, including those petitions eligible for the advanced degree exemption, may now be filed with USCIS if based on a valid selected registration. A petitioner is only eligible to file a FY 2021 H-1B cap-subject petition if they electronically registered the beneficiary in the H-1B registration process and USCIS selected the registration submitted for the beneficiary through the random selection process.
This is the first-year electronic registration was implemented. In past years, a complete H-1B petition had to be submitted before the lottery was run, meaning that employers ended up preparing and submitting many thousands of H-1B petitions which were never even reviewed. The H-1B electronic registration process was well-received by users. Nearly 275,000 unique registrations were submitted during the initial registration period.
As of this announcement a H-1B cap-subject petition may be filed within the period indicated on the relevant registration selection notice. The period for filing the H-1B cap-subject petition will be at least 90 days. Online filing is not available for H-1B petitions, so petitioners seeking to file H-1B petitions must do so by paper. Petitioners must include a printed copy of the applicable registration selection notice with the FY 2021 H-1B cap-subject petition.
Petitioners filing H-1B cap-subject petitions, including those petitions eligible for the advanced degree exemption, must still establish eligibility for petition approval at the time the petition is filed and through adjudication, based on existing statutory and regulatory requirements. Selection in the registration process does not relieve the petitioner from submitting evidence or otherwise establishing eligibility, as registration only pertains to eligibility to file the H-1B cap-subject petition.
Further, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, USCIS has suspended Premium Processing for petitions indefinitely. Please contact us with any further questions regarding your petitions and we will be happy to help.