Below article has all details, FAQs, latest news updates related to H1B Visa Fiscal Year(FY) 2021 season that started in March 2020 with New H1B Registration Process. This article is continuously updated as news emerge.
If this is your first time filing H1B petition, read H1B Visa Basics – FAQs like Requirements, Quota, LCA, etc.
USCIS News : H1B FY 2021 Cap Reached, No More wait list
February 16th, 2021 : Finally USCIS issued a press release today stating that they have reached H1B cap for FY 2021 Season and lottery final decisions are updated in registration system. Below is the summary of update.
- USCIS held H1B registrations filed in March 2020 in wait list and did not given final “Not Selected” decision until Feb 15th, 2021. They gave final decision on Feb 16th, 2021 indicating that the cap is reached. There is no more wait listed registrations.
- Back in August 2020, they had second round of H1B lottery done in the wait listed petitions. Since August 2020, there were no additional rounds of lottery done to select H1B registrations to mee the FY 2021 cap.
- If you are still waiting for final decision, check with your employer, they would see “Not Selected” Status.
- USCIS also updated that continue to accept petitions for cap exempt petitions like H1B Extensions, Transfers, Amendments, concurrent filings.
- Below is the screenshot of the news and Official News Release link
- If you are planning for upcoming H1B season, read H1B Visa FY 2022 FAQs
H1B Second Round Lottery for FY 2021 ?
Update ( Confirmed ) – August 14th, 2020 : Today firstly, attorney Greg update on Twitter that there was second round lottery done by USCIS and additional applicants were picked. Many attorneys confirmed the same. Also, AILA has given official update indicating the process to check the H1B Second Round lottery details. Below is the update and AILA news screenshot only given to their members.
- The Second Round registration notices that were selected would say “August 2020 Selection of Reserve Registration”
- They will have filing period listed as “8/17/2020 – 11/16/2020”.
- User who are selected in second round can file H1B petitions starting from August 17th until November 16th, 2020.
- You need to include your second lottery selection notice and send it to the same location that is listed on the Selection notice. The start date of the petition has to be October 1st, 2020 as this is still for FY 2021 season.
- Many of our users also confirmed that they have got selected. So, this news is real and confirmed. If you are still waiting, you should check with your employer and ask them to verify.
- As of now, there is NO official announcement from USCIS on the second round lottery and how many were selected.
- Also, this second round H1B lottery is only for someone who already submitted their registration in March. It is not for anyone new. They should already be in queue.
- The Second round lottery selection includes both US Masters quota and regular quota.
H1b got selected in 2nd lottery,stay positive guys🤞🏻— Haneeef ‘s (@pmhaneeef) August 14, 2020
Update (Unofficial) – Aug 11, 2020: There was an update on Twitter by attorney Greg Siskind saying USCIS may run second round of lottery for existing H1B registrations that were filed in April. This update by him is probably based on some insider information through his contacts or through AILA.
But, as of today, there is NO official update either on USCIS website in their news alerts or any official communication sent by them to the stakeholders. Below is the tweet for your review. In the past, as per some other attorneys inputs, there are no decline in filings, but again, every law firm seem to have different volumes….So, do not get too excited by this news, take it with pinch of salt.
USCIS may reopen the H-1B lottery as early as this week thanks to an unexpected decline in filings.— (((Greg Siskind))) (@gsiskind) August 11, 2020
Many are speculating or asking, if there would be any second round lottery. The reason is, if many applicants did not file in FY 2021 season due to the COVID-19 situation. In reality, some of the applicants lost their jobs and some were not able to file, but for the most part based on information from many attorney, most of the H1B applicants selected in initial registration lottery were able to file the H1B petition.
The reason is, the job losses due to COVID-19 are very less in the Computer Science sector, where most of the H1Bs are filed. Also, usually USCIS would usually select about 12% to 15% more applications in lottery to factor in these kind of non-filings & denials. So, the chances of second lottery are low and as of July 20th, 2020, we do not have any official update from USCIS on the second round lottery.
If there will be a second round lottery, it will be very likely published on USCIS website or at least your employer would be notified electronically. So, always check with your employer. Do NOT go by any rumours. We will update the article as we hear any update.
Trump US Entry Ban Applies to H1B Visa 2021 Holders, Exceptions
President Trump signed an Executive Order on June 22, 2020 that bans entry of H1B Visa holders to US until December 31, 2021. If you are a new H1B Holder planning to enter US from your home country with stamping, it impacts you and you cannot enter US as per the Executive order, unless you qualify for National Interest Exceptions.
On August 12th, 2020, US State Department gave additional guidance indicating the National Interest Exceptions for the H1B holders. You need meet at least two of the five criteria they have listed for Critical Sectors and doing Critical work for them same sectors. You can check all details on the same at H1B Entry Ban Exceptions – Aug 2020
Also, this entry ban does not apply to any other visa holder who file H1B 2021 application as Change of Status (COS) with USCIS. Check complete details at original executive order at : Trump H1B Travel Ban Executive Order until Dec 31, 2020
New H1B Registration System
USCIS launched New H1B Registration System for FY 2021 Season. Below were the dates for the FY 2021 new registration system that was held in March 2020.
- 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.
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, End Dates
The dates for FY 2021 season were slightly different from previous years as we had new H1B Registration system for FY 2021 season. We had two dates : One for the registration period and second for the actual filing of the complete H1B package. Let’s look at those dates.
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 Petition Filing Dates fir FY 2021 Season
All the applicants selected in the H1B Registration Lottery Process in March, were given an option to file for FY 2021 season starting from April 1st until June 30th. All the applicants got exactly 90 days. The filing option for FY 2021 season is over. Technically, if you have missed to file during the time specified in the H1B Registration Selection Notice, then you cannot file the petition anymore.
In short, H1B visa FY 2021 petition filing dates are from April 1st, 2020 to June 30, 2020.
No H1B filing Deadlines changed with COVID-19
There were no changes to the filing deadlines for H1B petitions with COVID-19. June 30th, 2020 was the last date to file. If you have missed the deadline, you cannot file H1B Petition. You lost your chance for FY 2021 and need to apply for FY 2022 Season that starts next year.
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 were no changes for H1B regular or masters cap for FY 2021 and they stayed 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 was 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
Update : As predicted below, there was H1B Lottery for FY 2021 season and about 275,000 H1B Registrations were filed.
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.
- Initial H1B Lottery Results : This year for FY 2021 season, with H1B registration system, the whole process was electronic and they announced results much earlier. 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.
- Waitlisted H1B Registrations : USCIS said that they will waitlist the applications that were not selected in first round as “Submitted” until the end of fiscal year. They said that they will 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.
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|
Though USCIS has published Fee Increase Rule in Federal Register, it was not implemented for FY 2021. Also, it is not effective yet and still in rule making stages.
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 ! Add your case on H1B 2021 Tracker
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.
In short, if you file in Regular processing, there is no estimated SLA set for it. It can take anywhere from few weeks to few months. But, if you file in Premium processing, you get the result in 15 days.
As in previous years, for FY 2021 USCIS has suspended premium processing from April 1st for all petitions until early June. But, with the COVID-19 situation, USCIS cancelled premium processing indefinitely. Finally, they opened up premium processing starting from June 22nd, 2020. Now, premium processing is available for H1B 2021 season applications. Check more at : USCIS Premium Processing Opens in June 2020
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.
- Feb 16th 2021 ( Official ) : USCIS updated that they have reached the cap for FY 2021 season and no more wait list or lottery would be done. Read USCIS news
- August 14th, 2020 ( Confirmed) : Today, USCIS ran second round lottery for H1B visa 2021 season. It was run on the existing H1B registrations that were filed for FY 2021 back in March. Many attorneys confirmed the news and also AILA issued practice alert. Many of our users confirmed too. Check above section on H1B second lottery for more info and alert details.
- August 11, 2020 ( Unofficial) : There was a tweet by Attorney Greg Siskind saying that there will be second round of lottery. As of now, there is NO Official news by USCIS or any communication to stake holders. We need to wait and see.
- August 9, 2020 ( Unofficial ) : There are delays in getting H1B receipt notices. Some are taking over 30 days to get receipt notice. So nothing to panic, if you have not received the H1B receipt notice.
- June 22nd, 2020 : Trump signed an Executive Order that bans entry of H1B holders into US. If you are someone planning to get US visa and enter US, you cannot enter. Check more at Trump H1B US Entry Ban Details
- April 13th, 2020 : USCIS issued alert for stakeholders regarding delays with processing of data entry, receipt notices today. Check H1B 2021 Delays with Receipt Generation, Data Entry – May 1st
- 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
No, if you were selected in H1B Lottery in March 2020, your deadline was June 30th, 2021. You cannot file past that date.
No, you cannot transfer the registration. To be counted towards cap, you should have filed H1B petition by June 30th, 2020. If you missed to file, you need to go through lottery again next year.
No official update, if there would be second round lottery from USICS as of July 20th, 2020. We do not even know, if there will be second round as USICS always selects 12 to 15% more entries during lottery to factor in non-filings, denials.
No, you cannot. Your next option is to apply for H1B FY 2022 season that starts in March 2021.
We will continue to update this article as we have more updates. You can bookmark this page.