Last Friday, March 20th at 12:00 noon US Eastern Time, USCIS closed the initial registration period for the Fiscal Year 2021 (FY2021) H-1B cap lottery. In order to be considered in the initial selection process for the H-1B cap lottery, prospective H-1B petitioners had to successfully register their prospective H-1B employees by the Friday deadline.
If as expected USCIS received more electronic lottery registrations than the numerical limitation of 65,000 and the master’s cap exemption of 20,000, the agency will randomly select a projected number of lottery winners to reach the FY2021 H-1B cap. Thereafter, USCIS will notify winners by sending “selection notifications” to users’ online accounts.
USCIS has stated that it intends to notify lottery winners selected in the initial registration period no later than March 31, 2020. A lottery winning petitioner will then be eligible to file one H-1B petition for the beneficiary named in the selected registration.
Employers who win the H-1B cap lottery will no doubt be dealing with innumerable issues related to COVID-19. It is, however, important to keep in mind that there will be a limited time period for filing an H-1B petition. USCIS will indicate the specific filing period on the selection notice. The filing period will be at least 90 days, but during this 90-day period in addition to preparing the necessary documents, additional steps may also require completion such as obtaining translations and/or degree equivalency evaluations.
This year more than ever, it will be critical that employers work closely with their attorneys to timely file cap-subject H-1B petitions.
Please contact Catherine Wadhwani if you have questions regarding H-1B cap season or related topics, or any member of the firm’s immigration practice group. Ms. Wadhwani may be reached at 412-391-1334 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ms. Wadhwani is a Partner and Co-Chair of the Immigration Practice Group at Fox Rothschild LLP. For nearly 25 years, her practice has focused on business immigration law and compliance, primarily in the health care, general corporate and academic sectors. Ms. Wadhwani’s practice covers the United States and U.S. Consulates worldwide. Ms. Wadhwani is based in the firm’s Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, office. She can be reached at email@example.com or 412-391-1334.