H1B Visa 2021 Season - Lottery - Start Date -Fee -FAQs info

H1B Visa 2021 – Registration, Lottery, Deadlines, Planning, Fee, FAQs

In H1B Visa by KumarUpdated : 323 Comments

If you have been unlucky in previous year’s H1B visa 2020 season and planning to file H1B visa for the current FY 2021 season, it is important for you to be up to date with the latest news and info. As we had new changes for FY 2021 with registration process, the H1B season for this year started earlier than previous years…In this page, we will look at many of the common FAQs related to H1B Fiscal Year(FY) 2021 season and continue to update as we have any news updates related to the same.

If this is your first time filing H1B, please read H1B Visa Basics – FAQs like Requirements, Quota, LCA, etc.

New H1B Registration System

USCIS launched New H1B Registration System for FY 2021 Season. Below are the dates that are relevant for the FY 2021 new registration system :

  • H1B Employer Account Registration : From Feb 24th, 2020.
  • H1B Registration Period : March 1st, 2020 through March 20th, 2020.
  • H1B Registration Selection Results : Latest by March 31st, 2020.

You can check the complete details at : USCIS Update on H1B Registration Process for FY 2021. The details shared are inline with most of the details shared in December 2019, you can read the previous update at H1B Registration Dates Confirmed by USCIS

H1B Registration System, Lottery Order

USCIS, with the new H1B registration system has introduced two fundamental changes: one is related to the H1B petition filing process and second is to the order of H1B Lottery in the process.

  • H1B Filing Process with Registrations : As per the new filing process, first USCIS would have a H1B registration period for employers to submit registrations using an online system with very minimum information related to their H1B application related to a candidate and their company. There is a $10 fee per H1B registration submitted by the employer.
  • H1B Registrations Lottery Order : After the registrations are closed, USCIS will run lottery on these registrations in a new order, different from previous years’ H1B lottery.  They will first select applicants to fill the regular quota cap and then the unselected master’s petitions are selected again to fill the master’s quota cap.  The change is intended to help the Masters quota petitions have higher chances. After the lottery is done, employers with selected applicants in lottery should submit the full H1B petition with USCIS.

New H1B Process Flow from FY 20201 : Below is the high-level process with H1B registration System.

H1B Visa Registration Process Flow Final Rule

For complete details like what details to submit for lottery, how they will select, etc. read H1B Registration Process, Lottery, Info

H1B Registration System Online Tool

USCIS released the final version of the H1B registration online system with final flow of screens and what all information is required for applicants on Feb 6th, 2020. It is pretty much same as the preliminary version that was released in late 2019 for user testing. For details on the tool, complete flow, screenshots read H1B Registration Online Tool – Flow, Screens .

Now that we know the registration system, let’s look at the dates.

H1B 2021 Season Start Dates ?

The dates for FY 2021 season are slightly different from previous years as we have new H1B Registration system for FY 2021 season. We have two dates : One for the registration period and second for the actual filing of the complete H1B package. Let’s look at what the dates now.

H1B Registration Period Dates

USCIS had H1B registration Period open from March 1st through March 20th, 2020. It was technically open for 3 weeks and was closed on March 20th. USCIS announced that they have closed the initial registration period on March 20th in their press release

H1B Registration Results, Sample Notice

USCIS announced initial set of H1B Registration results on March 28th and they indicated that initial set of results would be notified to all employers by March 31st. Employers or attorneys would need to login to the H1B registration Online system to view the results. If the applicant is picked in lottery or initial registration selection process, their status would be changed to “Selected”. They will be able to download a selection notice and that has to be used to submit the actual H1B petition. Check out Sample H1B Registration Selection Notice.

H1B Actual Petition Filing Dates

Historically, H1B season usually starts on April 1st. If April 1st falls on weekend, then they move it the closest Monday in April first week. The reason for having the start date of April 1st is that USCIS’s fiscal year starts from October 1st and H1B petitions cannot be filed 6 months before their start date, hence the April 1st date.

Now, for FY 2021 season, USCIS is following similar dates and the filing of H1B Petitions starts from April 1st and it will be open for 90 days until June 30th, 2020. So, technically employers are free to file their petitions anytime between April 1st and June 30th. In short, the H1B FY 2021 actual filing dates are from April 1st, 2020 to June 30, 2020.

H1B 2021 Quota Cap – Regular vs Masters

If you are new and hear the word H1B cap, don’t be confused. It is just the maximum number of available H1B slots for a category. There are two categories Regular and Masters. You can read more at What is H1B Cap ? Regular vs Masters quota ? There are no changes for H1B regular or masters cap for FY 2021 and they stay the same like previous years.  Below are the quota numbers :

  • H1B Regular Quota : 65,000 visas
  • H1B Master’s Quota : 20,000 visas. ( only US Masters eligible)

One small caveat, of the overall 85,000 visa cap, every year 6,800 visas are set aside for the citizens of Singapore and Chile as part of the Free Trade Agreement with them. There were few bills part of Comprehensive Immigration Reform that are not active in Senate that were proposed from Obama administration days to change the cap count to 110,000 and Masters to 25,000, including potential to make H1B cap extend up to 180,000. But nothing has moved and all are dormant. Nothing new has been proposed by the new Trump Administration regarding changing cap count. To get a glimpse of historical cap count changes, you may check H1B visa cap count history from 1990 to 2017

H1B Visa 2021 Lottery Predictions  

Looking at the extreme demand in the last few years, we can very likely assume that there will be H1B lottery. If you are new to this process, read What is H1B Lottery ? Process ? We had lottery for the past 7 consecutive years. Check History of H1B Visa Cap Reach Dates, Lottery.  Now, the question is how many petitions will be filed. Last year, with so much of upfront investment from employers, there were about 200K petitions filed. Now, with the low bar of just $10 per registration, there is not much burden for employers. They may be willing to file more registrations.  It could be USCIS trap as well to weed out the duplicate petitions….We have written a detail article on the same, read H1B Visa 2021 Lottery Predictions to get idea on the predictions and numbers.

 H1B Visa 2021 Lottery Results Dates

In previous years,  USCIS would take a very long time to return the H1B packages that were not selected in H1B Lottery. For FY 2020, it was August 29, 2019, when they were returned. So, some were waiting from April 1st through August 29th, 2019 for about 150 days to know their final lottery results with hope. This year, with H1B registration system, it will be different as USCIS will announce lottery results soon as the whole process is electronic as H1B Registrations are filed electronically.

USCIS announced H1B Registration Lottery Results for FY 2021 on March 28th and they informed that the results for the initial round of registration selections will be informed no later than March 31st. The remaining registrations that were not picked in first run of lottery will be in waitlist or pool for future lottery, if needed.

They have said that they will only make the H1B registrations results for everyone, who were not selected in registrations lottery as ‘Not Selected’, only at the end of the fiscal year. Now, the end of fiscal year is usually September 30th for USCIS, but it is not clear, in what context USCIS is referring to for end of fiscal year…if they mean, end of H1B fiscal year 2021 quota or end of USCIS fiscal year. Worst case, you may need to wait until September 30th to be very sure that you were not selected in H1B registration lottery.

What is H1B Visa 2021 Filing Fee ?

H1B visa petition filing involves two things, one is the fee your employer pays to USCIS, second is the fee that they may need to pay an Immigration attorney, if they do not have in-house immigration team. The overall fee can vary anywhere from $1,720 USD to  $7,910 USD + the Immigration Attorney Fee. As of today, below is the fee. USCIS has recently published Fee Increase Rule in Federal Register. If that goes into effect, the fee may further increase by another $100.  Below is a table of the summary of the H1B visa fee. For complete details on H1B fees, Read Summary of H1B Filing Fee – Who pays for What ? 

H1B Fee – Paid Towards Amount in USD
H1B Registration Fee $10
 Base filing fee $460
AICWA Fee $750  or $1,500
Fraud prevent & detection fee $500
Fee based on Public Law 114-113 ( if applicable) $4000
Premium processing fee (Optional) $1,440 ( from Dec 2, 2019)
Immigration Attorney Fee Varies from $500 to $3000

How to find H1B visa 2021 Sponsors? 

If the current company that you work at does not sponsor H1B, it can be difficult to find a good sponsor. Due to the cost involved and process overhead, many small companies stay away from filing H1B petitions.  With unknown factors like H1B Visa lottery, it gets even more challenging to convince an employer. In any case, depending on your situation, you would be in one of the three scenarios to find a sponsor. 

  • F1 Student in US, OPT holders: The best option for F1 students in school is to find an internship or co-op at an employer who can sponsor H1B visa and ask them to sponsor your H1B. You can continue to work on OPT once you graduate as well. If you are on OPT, make sure you work at an employer, who can sponsor H1B. If not, switch your employer to a H1B sponsor.  Find the list of H1B Sponsoring companies using the tool or  H1B Grader – Sponsors Database
  • International Professionals  : If you are outside of US, your best bet is to find an multi-national company ( MNC) and work through them to sponsor H1B visa. Many try the IT body shop route, but it is subject to lot of fraud and you need to be careful. Many rules related to H1B are enforced more with Trump Administration now and you need to be careful. Read comments on this H1B Companies Reviews article  to get an idea and  beware of such consulting companies to avoid fraud.
  • Important Note : We, as RedBu2US, DO NOT Provide any H1B sponsorship or guide anyone using professional services or fee. If anyone approaches you by saying our name, it is pure FRAUD…beware !

Read step by step guide for finding sponsors : Guide on How to Find H1B Visa Sponsors 2021

H1B 2021 Registration, Case Tracker

Did you submit or plan to submit H1B Registration for FY 2021 ?  In general, the registration process is new and also during H1B application processing, the wait can be long and frustrating to see your status not move….You would be curious to know others status…so, to have a general view on the statuses movement for entire community, we have put together a tracker along with good graphs for analysis. It is completely anonymous as we do not capture your case number or any personal information. It is community contributed data, the more you add, the better for everyone, including  You !

Track your H1B Registration, Case

Anonymously Track your H1B Registration, Case - Share and Get updated from Community.

Processing Times – Regular vs Premium

In general, you can file your H1B petition in regular or premium processing. If filed in premium, you will get your decision in 15 days and it costs you additional $1440 USD. To understand differences, read H1B Regular vs Premium Processing Timelines. As in previous years, for FY 2021 USCIS has suspended premium processing from April 1st for all petitions. Initially, they said that they will open up the premium processing in two phases, first for all US Masters petitions, filed as COS and then for others as you can read at H1B FY 2021 Premium Processing Timelines by USCIS. But, with the COVID-19 situation, USCIS has changed the plans for premium processing and they have cancelled premium processing indefinitely for everyone until the situation is in control. You can read latest USCIS Premium Processing Status

Latest News Updates for FY 2021 Season

Below is the list of latest news by date related to FY 2021 season. We will update here as we have new updates.

  • March 28th, 2020 : USCIS updated that the H1B Lottery for Registrations is completed and employers would see results in the online portal by March 31st, 2020. Read full details at H1B Registration Lottery Completed
  • March 16th, 2020 : USCIS confirmed that premium processing is not available from April 1st for FY 2021. For full details read H1B Premium Processing FY 2021 Updates
  • Feb 21st, 2020 : USCIS again confirmed the filing dates for registration and the submission dates for registration in a press release. It is same as before and nothing has changed. The above article covers the same dates and info. You can read USCIS press release
  • Feb 7th, 2020 : USCIS Stakeholder call with updates on upcoming Registration process. Read Latest Update on H1B Registration Process, Info
  • Jan 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 : USCIS Confirms the launch of H1B Registration System for FY 2021 Season. Check H1B Registration System Dates, Info
  • Nov 7th, 2019: USCIS finalizes to charge $10 Fee for H1B Registrations. Anticipated to be effective for FY 2021 season. Check USCIS press release

We will continue to update this article as we have more updates. You can bookmark this page.

What do you think of the upcoming H1B Season ? Your thoughts, predictions ?


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Comments ( 323 )

  1. curiosity_rover

    Kumar, I am a 3rd time lucky , FTE of a fortune 50 company. My condition is L1b to h1b status change.
    With a current circumstance its reasonable to choose in-country COS ? Also , Does L1b to h1b status change has a premium process opened in June?
    Last, In my 5 years CAP of L1b , I would have already lived 3 yrs 10 months by Oct, So will my H1b stamped for max 6years – 3.10 yrs?

    1. h1bapproved

      I was in the same situation. If your I140 is approved, you will get it for another 3 years. If not, you will get it for 2 years 2 months, starting Oct 1, 2020.

    2. administrator

      yes, COS is reasonable and better as many cannot travel now… We do not know, when they will open.
      Yes, you can only stay in US for the remaining period left in 6 years….So, plan for next steps of PERM, if you plan to work longer in US.

  2. H1Transfer

    Hi All,
    My H1 got expired last month without stamping and My employer is delaying the cap-exempt process .. Can I know until what year I am eligible to apply for cap-exempt ?

    1. administrator

      Well, if you did not had stamping, it is slightly grey area…there is no timeline as such, but extension should be filed only your employer to even have a chance…but as I said, it is grey area…talk to an attorney.

  3. Pk

    7th time lucky…genuine fte employee of faang and has been victim 6 previous times..
    Finally some luck and got motiifed on april 1st..thanks everyone for sharing useful info..

  4. Car2ol

    Hi! The attorney of my company said they already don´t have a result from the lottery for my application.
    Do you think it means I have not been selected?
    Just explaining, I had 2 applications from 2 different companies, the other company already told I was not selected. Do you think is possible I was selected for the other company, but don´t have the results yet because uscis is checking if my applications were duplicated?

    1. administrator

      yes, very likely not selected in first round. Well, if they were not related, maynot be considered as duplicate.

  5. Chahat

    Hi Team,
    I am filing my H1B extension. However, my employer filed my petition as H1B Amendment & extension both. This is due to the fact that my wages changed and title became from Sales Engineer-I to Sales Engineer-II. Does this change lead to amendment assuming nothing else changed (location, employer etc.)? Was my filing done correctly stating ‘amended petition’?
    Please guide.

  6. H P Mitra

    I am a Indian PP holder working in a European country. My H1-B registration has been selected for 2021. Can I get my visa stamping from my place of work or do I have to come back to India for stamping?

    1. administrator

      H P Mitra,
      Yes, you can get it stamped in your country. Most of the countries allow stamping for residents, even though you are not citizens of that country. Just double check with the US Consulate.

  7. Hanmant

    I read in NEWS that Trunm has been urged to suspend current H1B program. Can ADMIN shed some light on its implications.

    1. administrator

      No, that is not true and no official news on it. It is just speculations… It cannot be done as many companies are relying on H1B workers, including Doctors, so they cannot do anything as such…It requires congress approval for anything like that.

  8. Anon

    Hi Kumar — do you know if day 1 CPT is offered for first masters degree? Most results on google show posts related to second masters. can you please shed light on that. thanks!

    1. Anonymous

      Yes, you can do it , but it shouldn’t exceed 11 months 29 days. If you do so , you’ll not be eligible to get your initial OPT.

    2. Max

      Please do not abuse the system, if you would like to pursue masters do it considering it as your primary interest… and get CPT as per F1 visa regulations !! Quality of F1 students is degrading and it is affecting the genuine masters students !!

      1. lawrence

        You can be a quality student still. Seeking CPT or OPT for experience purposes is not a crime!! Plus it does not have anything to do with quality. In fact, internationals tend to do much better in education. So I don’t understand why you say it’s degrading.

  9. Mohammed ashrim

    Hello Kumar,

    Thanks for clarifying our requests/questions as always ..

    I need answer for the below question if you can help me out .

    After 7 years of struggle I have selected in lottery and I am staying in India .. I have dependent stamped visa with validity till 2022..So right now can we wait for the petition result and once it is approved then can we travel on dependent visa with out going for h1b stamping ? Or before the result of my petition i should travel ??

    What is procedure of COS mad where we should stay during the COS time ..

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