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What you need to know about the H-1B registration process for fiscal year 2021.

January 16, 2020
On January 9, 2020, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) published a notice in the Federal Register formally announcing a new electronic H-1B registration process, which will precede the H-1B lottery for fiscal year 2021. Under the new system, employers must create an online account with USCIS and register each beneficiary they wish to sponsor. The registration period will run from March 1 to March 20, 2020. Immediately afterwards, USCIS will run a random lottery to select the individuals who will be permitted to file a full H-1B petition. USCIS intends to notify the selected applicants no later than March 31, 2020.

As we await further guidance from USCIS, below is a summary of what we know now about the new process.

  1. When should I begin the registration process?
    We recommend that you reach out to an attorney at Kauff McGuire & Margolis as soon as possible to discuss your plan for this H-1B season. USCIS has indicated that it will allow employers to set up their accounts in the new system even before the registry opens on March 1, 2020. Furthermore, it is not recommended to delay the registration process since this is the first year of a new system and we may encounter technological difficulties.
     
  2. Is there a fee?
    USCIS requires a $10 non-refundable fee for each registration.
     
  3. What information will be required from employers at the registration stage?
    The registration process will likely require only basic information from the employer such as the company’s legal name, employer identification number (EIN), primary US address, and the name and contact information of the authorized signatory. The beneficiary will likely have to provide biographical information including their name, gender, date and country of birth, country of citizenship, passport number, and whether or not they have a master’s degree from a U.S. institution.
     
  4. Will a Labor Condition Application (LCA) be required along with the electronic registration?
    No. An LCA is required for filing the H-1B petition, but not for the preliminary registration stage. However, there may be strategic reasons to prepare an LCA earlier in certain cases.
     
  5. Can I add more beneficiaries after submitting an initial registration?
    Yes. As long as the registration period is open, an employer can continue to add beneficiaries for entry into the H-1B lottery.
     
  6. If I am selected to file a petition, how long will I have to do so?
    Petitioners will be able to file starting on April 1, 2020. USCIS has not provided an end date for the filing period, but has said petitioners will have at least 90 days from the date of selection to submit a complete petition. 
     
  7. When will I hear if my petition has been approved?
    USCIS will adjudicate petitions in the order they are received. Everyone who is selected in the registration process will have their petition adjudicated.
     
  8. Is premium processing available this year?
    USCIS has not announced a decision on whether premium processing will be available for H-1B petitions this year. We will update you as soon as the announcement is made.
     
We will continue to update you on new developments.