U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that it would debut its electronic registration system in time for the next H-1B lottery. After completing a successful pilot testing phase, USCIS will require all employers seeking to file H-1B cap-subject visa petitions for the fiscal year 2021 to first register electronically and pay a $10 registration fee. According to USCIS, the move will streamline the process substantially in cutting down on the flow of paperwork and data between USCIS and the employers. USCIS also lauds the move as a step toward modernizing and transforming USCIS from a paper-based process to an online filing system.
Traditionally, employers seeking H-1B workers subject to the cap filed their full petitions and accompanying documents with USCIS to participate in the lottery process. In contrast, the electronic registration system will require employers only to submit basic information about their business and each requested worker. USCIS then will use these electronic registrations to conduct the lottery process. Only the employers with registrations chosen in the lottery will qualify to submit H-1B cap-subject visa petitions to USCIS. Therefore, employers not selected in the lottery no longer will have to go through the time-consuming and costly process of preparing and mailing a full petition to USCIS.
The initial registration period for the 2021 H-1B cap selection process will occur from March 1 to March 20, 2020. As it grows closer to the open registration period, USCIS will post additional instructions, dates, and timelines for participants. USCIS also may extend or reopen the registration period if it does not initially receive the number of registrations needed to reach the allowable number of visa petitions. Whether an employer registers during the initial registration period, a subsequent period, or a period before another H-1B lottery in the future, the employer will have to pay the required $10 fee.
The Peek & Toland immigration lawyers are here to represent your interests and advise you of the best course of action in your individual or business immigration matter. We will be taking appointments to discuss your options and how to reserve your place on our client list in the coming weeks. If you are interested in the H-1B process, it’s important to make a reservation early with an immigration attorney so you have counsel should you receive a lottery slot. Set up an appointment to talk to us today and discover how we can assist you with your immigration case.