USCIS has implemented a new online registration process for H-1B applicants, pursuant to a Final Rule dated January 31, 2019.

In the past, H-1B applicants had to submit their cap-subject petitions to USCIS, via regular mail, and wait for USCIS to randomly select eligible petitions. This application process mandated that every potential H-1B applicant submit a full petition (Form I-129).

Pursuant to this new Final Rule, the process for each applicant has been bifurcated into two main parts:  Registration, and Petition application submission.

Under the new system of registration, and then filing, USCIS is attempting to streamline to H-1B process. Below is a synopsis of the new system:

  1. Employers wishing to submit a registration for an employee, will register online between March 1 – March 20, by inputting information regarding the employee/employees at https://myaccount.uscis.gov/users/sign_up. An account must first be established. A $10 fee is charged to register each H-1B employee.
  2. USCIS intends to notify registrants selected by March 31.
  3. USCIS will begin accepting H-1B petitions, on April 1.
  4. If the petition is approved, the H-1B visa will be issued, and the Beneficiary’s start date will be October 1, 2020.

It is important to note that while USCIS has amended the application procedures for H1-B visas, the caps have not changed; the H-1B regular visa cap is still 65,000 workers, and the H-1B Master’s visa cap is still 20,000 workers (however, how those visas are chosen has changed, as more fully described below*).

Registering your Employee(s): March 1-March 20

  1. Create an account with USCIS at: https://myaccount.uscis.gov/users/sign_up.
  2. Submit employee’s information, or information for multiple employees.
    1. Note: Multiple registrations for a single employee will be denied in full, but an employer can register up to 250 employees in one batch of submissions. If you have more than 250 employees to register, simply create and register additional batches of employees.
  3. Pay $10 per each employee registered.

Registration Status Updates from USCIS: One benefit of registering your employee(s) online is that you can check the status of their registration at any time. When reviewing each employee’s status, you will see one of four possible updates:

  1. Submitted: The employee’s registration has been submitted successfully to USCIS, and is still under consideration. No decision has been made yet as to whether select or deny this particular registration.
  2. Selected: The employee’s registration has been chosen, and the sponsoring employer may file a Form I-129 petition, after April 1, 2020.
  3. Not Selected: The employee’s registration has not been chosen under this particular lottery draw – note that you will not see this update until October 1, when the previous lottery draw has expired.
  4. Denied: You will see this status update only if you have erroneously submitted more than one registration for the same employee.

*Master’s Cap New Order

In the past, the master’s lottery was performed first, and then USCIS would place all of the unselected master’s degree candidates into the regular pool where they would have a second chance to be chosen prior to reaching the cap. Now, in a complete reversal of that prior system, master’s degree candidates will be included in the regular draw, which will occur first, and then all of the unselected master’s degree candidates will be separated out into another pool and from that pool, the second draw will occur.

 

As always, you should contact an experienced immigration attorney to discuss these matters in greater detail. To register your employee(s) prior to the March 20 deadline, call 571-766-6860, or e-mail us at info.khannalaw.com, so that we can set up an initial consultation and obtain the necessary registration information from your business.