From the Public Engagement Division of USCIS: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced on 12/6/19 the requirement for employers seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption, to first electronically register and pay the associated $10 H-1B registration fee before filing a petition for the fiscal year 2021 H-1B cap.
USCIS will open an initial registration period from March 1 through March 20, 2020.
- During this initial registration period, 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.
• If a sufficient number of registrations are received, we will randomly select the number of registrations projected as needed to reach the H-1B numerical allocations after the initial registration period closes and no later than March 31, 2020.
• Prospective petitioners with selected registrations will be eligible to file a cap-subject petition only for the alien named in the registration.
Once the H-1B registration system has been implemented, and when registration is required, the agency will not consider a cap-subject petition properly filed unless it is based on a valid registration selection for the same beneficiary, and the appropriate fiscal year. Additionally, although petitioners can register multiple aliens during a single online submission, duplicate registrations for the same beneficiary in the same fiscal year will be discarded.
During the past few months, USCIS conducted usability testing for the H-1B registration system. We incorporated feedback from those sessions into redesigns of the system. After completing the current development phase, USCIS will conduct further outreach and training prior to the initial implementation of the registration system to allow the public the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the electronic registration process. USCIS will provide guidance on how to use the registration system and prepare registrations before opening the registration system for the initial registration period.
DHS intends to publish a notice in the Federal Register in the coming weeks to formally announce implementation of the H-1B registration process.
Please see here for the formal published announcement on USCIS’ website.
Please contact your attorney at Fox Rothschild sooner rather than later if you plan to file an H-1B during next year’s cap season. As this registration process is entirely new, we recommend planning well in advance to maximize opportunities for success. Given that there is only a 20 calendar day window for registrations, a brand new system and procedure, it remains to be seen how the technology will withstand the anticipated onslaught of applicants.