If you have been unlucky in the H1B visa 2020 season or planning to apply for H1B visa in the next fiscal year, it is important for you to be prepared ahead of time. As we may very likely have new registration system in place for the next fiscal year, the deadlines will vary and you need to prepared ahead of time. You may need to start earlier than previous years…In this article, we will look at many of the common FAQs related to H1B Fiscal Year(FY) 2021 season. We will continue to update this page.
If this is your first time filing H1B, please read H1B Visa Basics – FAQs like Requirements, Quota, LCA, etc.
New H1B Registration System
USCIS confirmed on December 6th, that they will have New H1B Registration System for FY 2021 Season. They confirmed that the pilot testing is complete and they are launching it for upcoming season. The planned dates are for March 1st through March 20th, 2020. Check complete details at H1B Registration Dates by USCIS
H1B Registration System, Lottery Order
USCIS, with the new H1B registration system will introduce two fundamental changes: one is related to the H1B petition filing process and second is to the order of H1B Lottery in the process.
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. After the registrations are closed, USCIS will run lottery on these registrations in a new order. 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. After the lottery is done, employer with selected applicants in lottery should submit the full petition with USCIS.
Below is the high-level process with H1B registration System. For complete details like what details to submit for lottery, how they will select, etc. read H1B Registration Rule – Process, How does it work, FAQs
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
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 confirmed in their press release on December 6th, 2019 that they will have initial H1B registration Period from March 1st through March 20th, 2020. It is technically for 3 weeks. If there is not enough petitions filed during the registration period, we could have another window to file second time..USCIS will inform, if there is a need for the second window. Looking at history, we do not anticipate second window as there is always more demand than the H1B cap quota.
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.
Technically, April 1st is the earliest date anyone can file, but not the last or final date for FY 2021 petitions. As per the final H1B registration Rule, employers get 90 days to file their H1B petition after the lottery results are announced. USCIS said they would announce results by March 31st, so they would very likely stick with the April 1st date and it will last for 90 days. So, the H1B Petition filing dates for FY 2021 would very likely be from April 1st, 2020 until June 30th, 2020. ( total 90 days from April 1st). Also, they mentioned that the registration selection notice will indicate the dates for filing the actual petition.
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….in any case, there would very likely be more H1B registrations than in the past…We will write an article closer to the registration period with some predictions…stay tuned. For now, read previous year H1B 2020 Lottery Predictions.
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 mentioned that the Lottery results for H1B registrations would be out no later than March 31st. So, technically it could be even before March 31st, but the worst case scenario is March 31st.
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
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. In the past few years, USCIS suspended the premium processing for general cap subject petitions to manage their load. At this point, we do not have any details, if the premium processing would be available or suspended for FY 2021 season yet. We will update here once any such updates. For more info read : H1B Regular vs Premium Processing Timelines
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.
- 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 ?