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USCIS Announces Electronic Registration for H-1B Petitions to be Implemented for FY 2021

December 9, 2019

On Friday, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the successful completion of the electronic registration process pilot. The registration process will be put into practice for the next H-1B cap lottery, Spring 2020.

USCIS proposed the preregistration system as a way to “dramatically streamline processing by reducing paperwork and data exchange,” stating that it will “provide an overall cost savings to petitioning employers.”

In this new process, from March 1 – March 20, 2020, employers or their representatives must first register with basic information about the company and the worker for each worker, as well as pay a $10 registration fee. If registrations exceed the cap limit, then USCIS will run an H-1B random selection process. Only the randomly selected registrations will be allowed to file H-1B petitions.

In 2019, for the 2020 H-1B cap filing, 201,011 petitions were received for the 65,000 available visas. The official filing season opened on April 1, 2019, and was officially closed on April 5, 2019.

As part of introducing this new process, USCIS will provide procedural instructions, timelines, and key dates. In its announcement, USCIS stated, “the agency may determine it is necessary to continue accepting registrations, or open an additional registration period, if it does not receive enough registrations and subsequent petitions projected to reach the numerical allocations.”

Read earlier immigration insights about the H-1B cap registration process from an interview with Hiba M. Anver, Managing Director/Attorney, in Bloomberg Law.