If you would like to work in the US as a foreign national, H1B Visa is one such option for someone with specialized skills. USCIS as part of streamlining the overall H1B visa process, including the H1B Visa lottery published H1B pre-registration rule in December 2018 seeking public comments. Later, they published the final rule with H1B registration process in Jan 2019. It became effective from H1B Visa 2021 Season that started in March 2020.
In this article, we will cover all details of the H1B registration process, background, fee, process to follow in online system, and how it will work and latest news updates.
Background – H1B Registration Process
USCIS published H1B Registration rule in federal register to help streamline the overall H1B lottery process, reduce cost, improve operations and also increase chances for applicants with US masters. Before H1B registration rule, employers would submit full H1B application with fee and supporting documentation with USCIS in first 5 days from April 1st. As this was a cumbersome process that involved a lot of effort and cost for everyone, USCIS published H1B Registration rule to reduce the overhead for employers and themselves. The new process is much simpler and less cost and effort for everyone.
What is the H1B Registration Rule ?
As per the H1B registration final rule by DHS, employers to file H1B petition with USCIS, first need to submit H1B applicant’s basic information online using the H1B Registration Tool that USCIS has designed. USCIS would use that basic info submitted online to conduct H1B lottery as needed.
USCIS would inform the employers of selected applicants in the H1B lottery using online notification. Employers can only file H1B petition for those selected in lottery conducted during the registration process. For selected applicants, employers would submit complete H1B petition with H1B LCA, filing fee, and supporting documentation by attaching the copy of the H1B registration Selection Notice.
Order of H1B Lottery in Registration Process
Starting H1B FY 2020 season, USCIS changed the order in which the H1B petitions are selected in the lottery. The change in lottery order was also published as part of the H1B registration final rule and now used in the registration .
In the H1B registration process, if there are more registrations submitted than the required 85,000 H1B cap quota, lottery is conducted. The order of lottery is as follows
- First H1B lottery is conducted to select applicants to fill the regular cap quota of 65,000 petitions.
- After that, all the unselected US Masters applicants from the pool are taken separately and then a second lottery is run to fill the US masters quota cap of 20,000 petitions.
- Below is a chart that explains the lottery process order with registration system.
H1B Lottery based on Wage Levels
DHS published a final rule in January 2021 stating that they would conduct the H1B Lottery based on H1B Wage Levels. It is not yet confirmed, if they would apply this rule for FY 2022 season or not. You can read more details at H1B Lottery to be based on LCA Wage Levels Rule Info
H1B Registration Fee
Employers need to pay $10 USD per registration. There is no limit on the number of applicants they can register. No duplicates are allowed by the same employer or related entities. They need to pay the total amount at the end of registration submission process.
Now that we know what is the H1B registration rule, fee and the motivation for change, let’s look at the end to end process of H1B filing with H1B Registration system in place.
What is H1B Registration Process ?
- Step 1 – Register H1B Applicants : Employers interested in sponsoring H1B for individuals they intend to hire, will need to first electronically register the individuals details with USCIS during the specified registration period as given by USCIS. They need to pay required fee of $10 USD per registration.
- Step 2 – Review, Submit H1B Registrations : Employers will get at least 14 days to electronically register the individuals online. For FY 2021 season employers are given 20 days starting from March 1st to March 20th, 2020. They can edit, delete and modify the candidate details until the registration period closes.
- Step 3 – H1B Lottery : USCIS will conduct computer generated random selection aka Lottery to select regular quota filing registrants, then the masters quota are separated and lottery is run to select the US masters quota filing registrants.
- Step 4 – Notify Selected H1B Applicants : USCIS will notify electronically the selected applicants details to the employer/sponsors to file H1B petitions within 90 days. The 90 days period starts from April 1st. The unselected registrations are kept on reserve to do another round of H1B lottery selection as needed.
- Step 5 – File Complete H1B Petition : For all the selected registrations, employers need to file complete H1B petition using the standard process like before using LCA, Fees and all the information supporting the H1B job offer for the selected applicant.
- Step 6 – USCIS Processing, Adjudication : USCIS will adjudicate the petition as per their standard process and inform employers regarding their petition. Below diagram show the same info.
Now that we know the entire process end to end, let us look at the specifics tied to the H1B registration online system on how it will work, including the details to be filled.
H1B Registration Online System
The H1B Registration Online System is a tool that is used by USCIS to carry our the new H1B Registration process activities like accepting registrations, running lottery, informing selected registrations, etc. There are various aspects of the H1B Registration Online System or tool. Let’s look at the each of the aspects such as information required to be filled in the tool, high level process, and actual screen flows.
Firstly, before we use the system, we need to know what all information need to be filled.
Info required in H1B Registration System
To use the tool as a H1B Sponsoring Employer ( called as H1B Registrant in the tool), below is the information that is required from the H1B sponsoring company side:
- Legal Name of the company
- Doing Business As details
- Employer identification Number / SSN or ITIN
- Primary US Address office of the company
Also, below is the information that is required from each of the H1B Applicant or Beneficiary that the company plan to sponsor H1B for:
- Legal Name of the H1B applicant – First, Middle and Family Name
- Gender of the applicant
- Option to select, if the applicant is eligible for US Masters H1B Quota
- Date of Birth
- Country of Birth
- Country of Citizenship
- Passport Number ( There is option to check, if there is no passport number too )
Let’s look at how the tool looks like and the flow of the same now.
H1B Registration Tool Flow – Screenshots :
As there are many screens and it is a lengthy process, we have captured all the screens of the H1B Registration Tool and put up a step by step guide with process flow. Read H1B Registration Tool – Flow, Screenshots for that information.
H1B Registration Selection Notification Statuses
There are four status that are given to a H1B Registration during the entire process of H1B registration. The employer would see one of these statuses for a registration entry during the lifecycle of the H1B registration process. Below are the details of the various H1B Registration entries statuses and what they mean.
- ‘Submitted’ Status : This is the status that you would see after you submit a H1B registration status. It will continue to be in this status until the registration is either selected, denied or finally declared as not selected.
- ‘Selected’ Status : This is the status that a H1B registration would get, if the registration was selected in H1B Lottery or considered to file for the H1B cap subject quota
- ‘Denied’ Status : This is the status of the H1B registration that was considered as duplicate and thus denied. This status is given, if more than one registration was submitted for an individual by the same company
- ‘Not Selected’ Status : This is the status of the H1B registration, when the submitted registration was not picked in lottery, either in the initial lottery or in subsequent lotteries. This status would only be shown when the H1B season is considered complete for the current fiscal year and USCIS is sure that they do not need any additional registrations.
Now that we know what is needed in the tool and how to use the tool, lets look at the summary of the complete steps with Online H1B Registration
Steps, Process with H1B Registration Tool
Below are the complete steps involved in the H1B Registration Process with the new H1B Registration Tool created by USCIS.
- Step 1: Employer or H1B Sponsor creates USCIS H1B Registrant Account
- Step 2: Employer fills out H1B sponsoring company related information and the authorized signatory information using the registrant account.
- Step 3: Employer fills out their company’s H1B applicants/ Beneficiaries in the H1B online registration system using the registrant account.
- Step 4 : Employer reviews the details for duplicates and submits the H1B registrations
- Step 5 : Employer is redirected to Payment system pay.gov for payment
- Step 6 : Employer get confirmation on the payment and can review the submitted registrations
- Step 7: Employer can delete any duplicate entries, if needed before March 20th.
- Step 8 :USCIS conducts H1B Visa Lottery as needed and informs the Employer on the selected registrations.
- Step 9 : Employer files the H1B petitions with complete info within 90 days from April 1st.
- Step 10 : USCIS may run the lottery as needed to meet the quota cap for fiscal year and if met, they will inform registrants the registrations that were not selected.
Below is the flow chart of the entire process from account sign-up to submitting H1B petitions using new H1B registration system.
H1B Registration Process dates are not yet announced for Fiscal Year 2022 that starts in March 2021. Below are the dates for FY 2021 Season for your reference. FY 2022 dates are likely to be around the same dates.
Previous H1B Registration Dates for FY 2021
- February 24th, 10 AM, EST, 2020 : Employers can create H1B registrant accounts
- March 1st, Noon EST, 2020 : Employer can start to submit H1B Registrations
- March 20th , Noon EST, 2020 : H1B Registration period ends.
- March 31st, 2020 : H1B Lottery/ Selection Results Deadline (can come before).
- April 1st, 2020 : USCIS accepts H1B petition with LCA, full info for FY 2021
- June 30th, 2020 : 90 Days deadline ends for filing of H1B petitions for FY 2021
Now, let’s look at the latest news updates related to the H1B Registration Process, Rule updates by USCIS.
Latest News, updates on H1B Registration Process, Rule
- Jan 2021 : As of January, there is no new changes or news related to the H1B Registration Process. No update yet, if Wage Levels would be used for H1B Lottery in FY 2022 season.
- Feb 7th, 2020 : USCIS Stakeholder call with updates on upcoming Registration process. Read Latest Update on H1B Registration Process, Info
- January 10th, 2020 : USCIS publishes federal register notice confirming the registration process for FY 2021 H1B season. Read H1B Registration 2021 – USCIS Notice, Period, Fee
- Dec 6th, 2019 ( Official) : USCIS confirmed in press release the launch of H1B Registration System for FY 2021 Season. Check H1B Registration System Dates, Info
- Nov 7, 2019 ( Official ) : USCIS published a news release indicating that the final rule for H1B Registration rule Fee is published in Federal register. As per the final rule, a fee of $10 will apply for all H1B Visa registrations filed with USCIS. This $10 fee would be effective from December 8th, 2019.
Additional Information – H1B Registration Process
- US Masters Degree Transcripts : H1B US Masters quota classification eligibility need not be proved during registration period by providing US degree transcripts. You can indicate that you qualify for Masters quota in the registration system for lottery purposes. The proof details of US Degree can be submitted during the actual H1B petition filing.
- Time to Fill in New Registration System : DHS estimates that the each unique account creation for petitioner or employer will take about 0.17 hours and each electronic registration for H1B application will take 0.5 hours to complete.Preventing Fraud in H1B Registration System :
- Employers need to sign under penalty of perjury that they intend to file H1B for the beneficiary they are entering in the registration system, if selected in lottery. This is to ensure the registration is for a bona fide job offer. If USCIS believes there are frivolous registrations and the system is abused, they will be subject to investigation and will be accountable for fraud. In general, if you are signing under ‘Penalty of Perjury’, it means that if you violate it, you can be fined, or imprisoned for up to 5 years, or both..
- One employer can only submit one registration for one H1B applicant or beneficiary. If more than one registration is filed for a beneficiary, then all of those registrations filed for those beneficiary will be considered invalid.
- Employers cannot substitute names that were in the original selected registrant during the filing. If so, such petitions will be denied or rejected.
- US Masters Students Advantages with H1B Registration System: USCIS says that individuals with US Masters degrees earn 19.6 percent more than individuals with bachelor’s degree. So, the reversal of lottery selection will ensure higher paid and most skilled ones are working in US on H1Bs. The change in lottery order will result in 16% ( about 5,340 more) more US Masters students to be selected for H1B petition filings. DHS believes that the new rule is merit based as the new lottery order will increased US masters students getting H1Bs.
- Multiple Genuine Offers from Different Employers : USCIS does not prohibit a H1B applicant or beneficiary to have multiple employers ( not related to each other) submit registrations for them, if they have genuine job offers from such different employers
- Reserve Registrations : USCIS will hold unselected registrations in reserve and conduct additional lottery selection as needed, if necessary.
- Cost Savings with H1B Registration System : The cost savings with the new registration rule is about $43.4 million to $63.7 million annually for petitioners and the US Govt.
- DHS Received 817 comments for during the 30 days comment period
You can check YouTube Video of H1B Registration Rule
Below are some FAQs, but we have a separate article with 28 Common FAQs for H1B Registration
Yes. USCIS published that they will charge $10 USD fee per H1B registration to support the new system.
No, you cannot submit H1B registration as applicant directly. You need a H1B sponsor or employer to submit H1B registration for you as sponsor.
No need to submit H1B petition related LCA details in the H1B registration system. It only needs to be submitted with the H1B petition during filing process for selected registrants. No need to submit wage offered, and other details related to conditions of employment during registration.
What do you think of the H1B Registration Rule ?
Reference : H1B Registration Process – USCIS