DHS and USCIS as part of streamlining the process of H1B Visa lottery published H1B Pre-registration rule for NPRM (Notice for Proposed Rulemaking) in December 2018. Subsequently, they published the final rule with changes based on comments. Below, we cover the details of H1B registration final rule for lottery, key points from final rule, how it will work, start dates and many FAQs.
H1B Registration Rule – What is it ? How does it work ?
Below are various aspects of the final H1B registration rule with additional details on the same.
What is the H1B Registration Rule ?
USCIS has published H1B Registration rule 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 for everyone, USCIS published H1B Registration rule to reduce the overhead for employers and themselves. In this H1B registration rule, all the employers would do is submit their applicant’s basic information online using a system and USCIS would use that info to conduct lottery and inform selected applicants to their employers. Only those selected applicants would need to submit the complete H1B petition with full fee and supporting documentation. This reduces the overhead for employers and USCIS. Below are complete details of the H1B registration rule in details
Order of H1B Lottery for H1B Registrations
USCIS is changing the order in which the H1B petitions are selected in lottery. In the new H1B registration rule, to select the registrants, first lottery is conducted to select the overall regular cap quota to fill 65,000 petitions and then lottery is run to select the US masters quota cap for 20,000 petitions.
H1B Registration Period Start Date, Duration, Actual Filing Period
- USCIS will announce the H1B registration period at least 30 calendar days before the start of the registration for employers to be prepared.
- The registration period will be given for at least 14 calendar days. USCIS will announce on their website the final registration date for that fiscal year. They may keep it open for longer as needed based on their projections of registrations.
- USCIS may re-open registration in certain cases, when they do not get required registrations as projected by them.
- Employers will get 90 days for filing the H1B petition with USCIS after the selected registrants are informed to them. ( this was 60 days in the draft)
- USCIS will time the 90 days duration to file H1B petitions in such a way that employers can file for H1B petitions on April 1st, to have the start date of October 1st.
- USCIS will not implement the staggered (separate dates ) petition filing system as it was in the proposed rule. It will be one date for everyone to file H1B petitions with USCIS.
- USCIS finalised that there will be a $10 fee for each registration filed by the employer with USCIS.
What Information Needs to be filled in Registration
- For each registration, below is the information that needs to filled out for basic info and to detect duplicate filings.
- Employer / Sponsor Info : Employer’s Name, Employer Identification Number, Mailing Address, Authorized representative’s name, title, contact info like phone, email.
- Beneficiary / Applicant’ General Info : Full name, Gender, Passport number, Date of Birth, Country of Citizenship and Country of Birth.
- Beneficiary / Applicant’ US Education Info : Info regarding applicant’s US Master’s or higher education.
- Immigration Attorney info : Details of accredited representative and as needed form G-28.
- Additional Info : Also, any additional information as required by the new electronic system.
- Attestation : H1B Sponsors / Petitioners are required to attest in the pre-registration system that all the contents of registrations are true and accurate and they plan to employ the beneficiary as submitted in registration.
- USCIS will not require petitioners to enter their corporate information for every beneficiary as it is redundant task. USCIS is seeking OMB approval for the new H1B registration tool information collected as proposed today. If they believe more info need to be collected, it will be informed.
- No need to submit a certified LCA in the H1B registration system. It needs to be submitted with the H1B petition during filing for selected registrants. No need to submit wage offered, and other details related to conditions of employment during registration.
- 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 attest that they intend to file H1B for the beneficiary they are entering in the registration system. This is to ensure the registration is for a bona fide job offer. But, there is no mandatory requirement for employers to file H1B Petition for selected registrants in the lottery conducted for H1B registrations. If USCIS believes there are frivolous registration and the system is abused, they will be subject to investigation and will be accountable for fraud.
- 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.
- Employers need to attest they are filing bona fide registrations and not frivolous ones, if USC IS determines fraud is done, they will be referred to federal law enforcement agencies.
- 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.
H1B Registration System Features, Plans :
- Employers/ petitioners will be able to login to the registration system and see registrations, selection notices and print the same.
- USCIS will send electronic notifications for the selected registrations that can go for H1B filings. USCIS will not separately notify with physical copies.
- USCIS will engage with stakeholders and give training on the new system and get feedback for the new system.
- Reserve Registrations : USCIS will hold unselected registrations in reserve and conduct additional lottery selection as needed, if necessary.
H1B Registration System Online Tool
USCIS is yet to release the final version of the registration system with final flow and what all information is required for applicants. But, they have released a preliminary version in late 2019 for user testing. It is likely that the online system would have the similar flow, with changes based on the feedback. You can check out the details, screenshots at H1B Registration Online Tool – Flow, Screens
Check below short video to understand the registration process details.
H1B Registration Requirement Rule Process :
- Step 1 : Employers interested in sponsoring H1B for individuals they intend to hire, will need to first electronically register the individuals with USCIS during the specified registration period as given by USCIS.
- Step 2 : Employers will get at least 14 days to electronically register the individuals with their company information. They can edit, delete and modify the candidate details until the registration period closes.
- Step 3 : 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 : USCIS Notifies electronically the selected registrants’ employer/sponsors to file H1B petitions within 90 days. They will time it to fall on April 1st. The unselected registrations are kept on reserve to do another selected as needed.
- Step 5 : Employers need to file H1B petition using the standard process like before using LCA, Fees and all the information supporting the H1B job offer for the selected registrant.
- Step 6 : USCIS will adjudicate the petition as per their standard process and inform employers regarding their petition. Below diagram show the same info.
H1B Registration Rule – History, FY 2020 info
Some key points related to H1B registration rule history, details of the same from FY 2020 season.
- DHS Received 817 comments for during the 30 days comment period
- H1B Visa 2020 Season :
- USCIS Did not implement H1B Registration System for FY 2020 season as they did not test the system and were not ready.
- Lottery Order Changed : USCIS changed the order of lottery for FY 2020 season that was done in April 2019. As per the new order for lottery, first 65,000 petitions were selected for regular cap quota from the entire pool of applications, then 20,000 master’s petitions are selected to meet the Advanced/ US master’s degree quota cap. USCIS believes that this change in order will increase the number of US Master’s degree applicants to be selected.
- Rule Effective Date : The H1B Registration Rule was effective from April 1st, 2019 ( 60 days from publication date – Jan 31st, 2019), but was not implemented for FY 2020 season due to lack of readiness.
- Proposed Dates for New System : USCIS anticipates that the new Registration System will be implemented starting with H1B FY 2021 cap season.
- Fee for H1B Registration System : There is $10 fee charged by for the H1B registrations in the new system. USCIS originally had no fee, but later they added an agenda item in Spring 2019 regulatory agenda to charge fee for H1B Registration and published final rule for $10 fee on Nov 7th, 2019.
- 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.
- 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.
H1B Registration Rule – FAQs
Yes. USCIS published that they will charge fee for the H1B Registrations to support the new system.
USCIS published a final rule and news release indicating that they will charge $10 USD for every H1B registration filed by employer.
USCIS confirmed that it will start new registration system from H1B Visa FY 2021 season with dates between March 1st through March 20th, 2020.
No, you cannot submit H1B registration as applicant directly. You need a H1B sponsor or employer to submit H1B registration for you as sponsor.
Latest News, updates on H1B Registration Rule :
- 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. They indicated that they are doing final testing of the system for H1B registrations and very likely use the same for upcoming H1B Visa 2021 season. See below.
- Sep 30, 2019 ( Official ): DHS updated AILA that they plan to implement H1B Registration rule for FY 2021 Cap Quota. They indicated that there are initial trials done and they plan to implement the same for FY 2021 Quota, subject to testing. So, it is pretty much clear that H1B registration rule will be fully effective from FY 2021 season and employers will need to go through the registration system for FY 2021. See below and Check out AILA H1B Registration Rule Update
- Sep 3, 2019 (Official ) : DHS today published their proposed rule for public comments regarding the H1B registration fee indicating that USCIS will charge $10 USD per each registration filed by the employers. See below screenshot. While it is a relatively negligible fee, compared to the Total H1B Filing Fee , USCIS still would like to follow proper 9 Steps of Federal Rulemaking Process and seek public comments. The NPRM date will be from Sep 4 to Oct 4, for a period of 30 days. You can read the actual proposed rule PDF document at Federal Register . It is set to be published in federal register tomorrow for comments.
- Aug 12, 2019 ( Official ) : OMB Completed their regulatory review of the rule to collect fee for H1B Registration. They are yet to publish it. We do not know how much the fee would be yet. If you see someone throwing numbers, it is speculative and not yet released. You can check current H1B Filing Fee. The actual ruling is at Reginfo.gov – H1B Registration Fee . See status below.
- May 23, 2019 ( Official ) : USCIS introduced a new agenda item in their Spring 2019 Regulatory Agenda called “Fee for Registration Requirement for Petitioners Seeking To File H-1B Petitions on Behalf of Cap Subject Aliens ”. Essentially, they would like to collect some fee for the H1B registration. As per initial guidance, it was supposed to be free. You can read Spring 2019 Regulatory Agenda – H1B Info
What do you think of the H1B Registration Rule ?
Reference : Official Document H1B Registration Rule