H-1B ALERT: USCIS Will Implement Electronic Registration Process for Next Year’s H-1B Cap

December 9, 2019

On December 6, 2019, USCIS announced a significant change to the cap-subject H-1B petition submission process, to begin with the very next H-1B lottery in March/April 2020 (for the Fiscal Year 2021 cap).

Employers who seek to submit a cap-subject H-1B petition will first complete an online registration process, requiring them (or their authorized attorney) to submit basic information about their company and each worker for whom they wish to submit an H-1B petition. That registration process will run from March 1, 2020 through March 20, 2020. Assuming that the annual cap on H-1B petitions is reached during that period, a lottery will be conducted based on those registrations. Only those registrations selected via lottery will then be permitted to submit cap-subject H-1B petitions.

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.

USCIS Deputy Director Mark Koumans described the reasoning for the change:

“By streamlining the H-1B cap selection process with a new electronic registration system, USCIS is creating cost savings and efficiencies for petitioners and the agency, as only those selected will now be required to submit a full petition. The agency completed a successful pilot testing phase, which included sessions with industry representatives, and implementation of the registration system will further the goal of modernizing USCIS from a paper-based to an online-filing agency.”

According to a press release, “USCIS will post step-by-step instructions informing registrants how to complete the registration process on its website along with key dates and timelines as the initial registration period nears.” We will be sure to provide an update as soon as more information becomes available. To learn more about filing hiring foreign nationals or obtaining work authorization for yourself, contact Landau, Hess, Simon, Choi and Doebley to schedule a consultation with an attorney.


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