There’s a new H-1B cap registration process this year, and it’s starting soon. We’re staying alert to changes. And we’re sharing with you key dates, tips, insights, and tools to help improve your chances of success and make the process run as smoothly as possible.
If you have employees who need a cap-subject H-1B visa to work or if you’re a foreign student who needs a cap-subject H-1B visa to work, now’s the time to assess budgets, obtain management approval, and take action. By being proactive, engaged, and educated, you’ll significantly increase your chances of getting one of the coveted H-1B visas and minimize the stress of the process.
Below are answers to key questions we have received about the changes and the new process. Please note that the process is still undergoing changes and has not been fully defined.
The more you know to help you prepare ahead of time, the better your chances of getting an FY 2021 H-1B cap visa. This year more than ever, you must allocate lead time to assess the specialized position, the wage level, the candidate’s qualifications, and more.
When is H-1B registration this year?
Key dates for this process were just released by USCIS. They are:
- February 18: Representatives may begin creating myUSCIS H-1B registration account
- February 24: Employers may begin creating myUSCIS H-1B registration account
- March 1: Registration opens
- March 20: Registration closes (but USCIS has the authority to close registration sooner!)
- April 1: Filing begins for selected petitions
What is involved in the new H-1B registration process?
- Every sponsoring employer must have an online account, which is expected to be through myUSCIS.
- Employers must set up and become familiar with this online account in a very short period of time.
- Employers and their representative attorneys must work in close partnership and with strong communication to accomplish what is needed under the timeline provided.
- Employers and attorneys must set up registration accounts, submit G-28s, and prepare and file the registration forms in what could be less than 10 days.
- There is a $10 registration fee for each potential beneficiary.
On February 6, USCIS will host a webinar to further detail this process. Make sure you register for the webinar.
What can I do now to prepare?
- Create your myUSCIS account
- Familiarize yourself with the myUSCIS site
- Designate an authorized signatory
- Facilitate the LCA process by pre-verifying your FEIN number (only necessary if you have not filed an LCA recently)
- Check the expiration on your passport and renew if needed
- Make sure you have quality translated copies of all your educational credentials, including transcripts and certificates
For All Involved
- Establish the eligibility of each position and every potential beneficiary
- Develop a strategy for those on OPT and STEM and remain flexible
What tips do you have for navigating the myUSCIS website?
As of the time of this writing, the steps shown here are what we expect USCIS will require to participate in the new H-1B registration process. We recommend that you register an account and become familiar with the site as soon as possible.
Although the myUSCIS portal currently lists “H-1B Registration” on the list of forms that are available to file online, at the time of this writing, the portal does not yet permit H-1B registrations to be prepared or submitted. USCIS has announced that representatives may begin creating myUSCIS H-1B registration account on February 18, and employers may begin creating myUSCIS H-1B registration account on February 24.
What information will be required for the electronic registration process?
Based on screenshots and information regarding the electronic H-1B registration process that USCIS has already released, it appears that the following information will be required for the registration process:
- Legal name of the prospective petitioning company or organization
- Doing Business As (DBA) names of the prospective petitioning company or organization, if applicable
- Employer identification number (EIN) of the prospective petitioning company or organization
- Primary US office address of the prospective petitioning company or organization
- Legal name, title, and contact information (daytime phone number and email address) of the authorized signatory
- Beneficiary’s legal name
- Beneficiary’s gender
- Beneficiary’s date of birth
- Beneficiary’s country of birth
- Beneficiary’s country of citizenship
- Beneficiary’s passport number
- Whether the petitioner is requesting consideration under the INA 214(g)(5)(C) advanced degree exemption because the beneficiary has earned (or will earn prior to the filing of the petition) a U.S. master’s or higher degree
Can we draft the registration earlier than the submission date for review?
Based on the just-released timeline, this should be possible, and we encourage it.
Employers and their authorized attorneys should set up their registration accounts in advance of the beginning of the registration period opening and prepare registrations.
How is two-factor authentication for the authorized representatives (G-28) expected to work?
This is another new process that requires designated immigration attorneys representatives to prepare and submit registrations and the Form G-28 (immigration legal representation document) via the myUSCIS portal. After this is done, USCIS will issue a passcode to the representative attorney to give to the sponsoring employer.
The employer uses this passcode in their myUSCIS account to approve the attorney as representative. Thereafter, the attorney can continue the immigration registration for the sponsoring employer.
Will a Labor Condition Application (LCA) be required as part of the electronic registration process?
A certified LCA must be included with the H-1B petition filing, but it is not required to be completed prior to the electronic registration process.
However, we’re strategizing with our clients to determine whether or not to file LCAs for their H-1B cap-subject beneficiaries in advance of the registration process, so we can more quickly file the H-1B petition upon selection rather than doing so after the beneficiary’s registration is selected.
How will the selection process occur?
Once the filing period ends on March 20th or before, USCIS will conduct an electronic lottery.
USCIS intends to notify registrants and/or their attorneys of the selection/lottery results no later than March 31, likely via email and/or notification in the myUSCIS account.
Those with a US master’s degree have a slightly higher chance of selection under the current lottery process.