Earlier today, USCIS published two things related to upcoming H1B Visa 2021 season, first a press release on their website and second a Notice in Federal Register confirming H1B Visa 2021 season’s registration dates, high level process, fee for the upcoming H1B season. Let’s look at the summary of information published in both of these.
If you are new and not aware of the background of the new H1B registration rule, I suggest you read the article : H1B Registration Final Rule – Process, FAQs, Fee
USCIS News Release, Federal Registration Notice Summary on H1B 2021 Registration :
While some of the information that was published today is not new and was previously in other press releases, federal regulations, today USCIS made the H1B Registration process formal for FY 2021 season by publishing the same in federal register. Below are the various aspects covered in both.
- Formal Federal Register Notice: USCIS says that the publication of federal register notice makes the implementation of H1B registration process official and formal for H1B FY 2021 Season.
- H1B Registration Period Dates: The dates for H1B registration have not changed from what was announced previously in December 2019. They are still the same dates and the H1B registration period starts on March 1st and goes until March 20th, 2020. You can check previous press release USCIS Confirms H1B Registration for FY 2021
- H1B Registration Fee: The H1B Registration fee has also not changed; it is still $10 USD per H1B registration filed for an employee/ beneficiary. Check previous USCIS Press release
- H1B Registrations Lottery, Results : USCIS indicated that, if more H1B registrations are received than the required H1B cap of 65,000 for regular cap and 20,000 for masters cap, during the registration period ( March 1st to March 20th), USCIS will conduct H1B Visa Lottery and the results will be notified to their employers/ attorney no later than March 31st. So, technically you can see results by end of March or even before March 31st.
- Accounts Setup for Registrations: Employers/ attorney may start to setup their registration accounts in advance before the H1B registration period. USCIS will post the date on their website, when employers can start registering their accounts. Also, employers can setup these accounts during the H1B registration period as well, it is not mandatory to setup in advance…it is just an option available. These accounts created can be used for future years as well.
- Registration Selection Results: USCIS will send electronic notices to the employers for the registrations that were selected in the during registration process. These notifications or electronic notices will be added to the registration accounts as well. The notifications will be sent via email or text message based on settings in the accounts. The employers need to login to see the registration selection notices.
- Validity of H1B Petition : USCIS will only consider H1B cap subject petitions as properly valid, only if they are filed based on the details of the person who was selected during the H1B registration period/ lottery.
- Duplicate H1B Registrations are Invalid : Only one registration entry is allowed per employee/person/beneficiary by an employer. If more than one registration entry is submitted by an employer for the same employee or beneficiary, then all the registrations submitted by that employer related to the employee or beneficiary will be considered as Invalid.
- Registration Period – Close Dates, USCIS Discretion: USCIS plans to close the registration period by March 20th . But, if USCIS believes that they need to re-open the registration period for any reason, they will announce the start date of the re-open period on USCIS website.
- Outreach Activities, Webinars : USCIS will do more outreach activities before the start of the H1B registration period using webinars and publish a series of videos to help the attorneys and general users to get familiar with the new system.
H1B Registration Process – Step by Step Guide:
The process is pretty much same as that was outlined previously. Below is the step by step process
- Step 1 : Employers / Authorized representatives like Attorneys, who plan to file H1B Visa Cap subject petitions, need to first register electronically and create an account in USCIS website.
- Step 2 : Employers/Attorneys using the new account they created will need to electronically submit a separate registration for each of the employees, who they plan to sponsor H1B by filling out basic details. Duplicate registrations for the same employee are not allowed.
- Step 3 : Employers/ Attorneys would pay the respective fee based on the number of registration that they filed and submit the registrations.
- Step 4 : If more H1B registrations are received than the required H1B cap quota during the registration period, USCIS will conduct random selection/lottery to select the required cap number of petitions.
- Step 5 : USCIS will notify the employers/ attorneys , who were selected in the H1B registration process / lottery by March 31st, 2020.
- Step 6 : The employers/ attorneys with selected registrations will be able to file full FY 2021 H1B cap subject petition with USCIS within the filing period as indicated by USCIS in their eligibility notice sent to them.
What do you think of the new H1B registration process ? Add your thoughts in comments.
References : USCIS Press – H1B Federal Register Notice, Federal Register Notice
Hi Kumar, I am currently on a 1 year Post-completion OPT starting Jan 14 2020 and it ends Jan 13 2021. I am still looking for a job right now. My question is – IF I got a job and my employer can sponsor H1B for me to continue working after Jan 14 2020, can they register and file the petition at any time this year 2020? Or they have to follow the timeline (March 1st to 13th 2021)?
If they have to follow the timeline and only allow to begin to apply H1B for me staring March 1st 2021, I have an ~3months gap in between my work (last day of OPT – Jan 13 2021). Can I continue working or do I have to leave the country? How does it work?
Please let me know!! Thank you for your time.
No, the deadline for submitting the H1B for next fiscal year is March 20th. This is for cap subject petitions. Yes, you will have that gap. No, you cannot work during that period, you will need to leave the country…You are not eligible for cap gap as your OPT is expiring early.
I was on H1b in US from 2013 to 2017(almost 3.5 years) and then had to travel to India.
Now again I want to go back on H1b. My H1b’s I 747 expired in Sept 2018.
In order to travel back, my employer will have to file a fresh new H1b, which will have to be part of lottery ?
Or is it possible to file renewal(cap exempt) of the expired one as also I didn’t exhaust full 6 years of my last H1b.
You do not have to go through lottery again, you are cap exempt. Check Recapture H1B 6 years even after 6 years
This system also doesn’t ask any information to attach third party companies information like Prime vendor, client location, sub-vendor company etc.
All of these details will be filled in during application phase.
I have a question, I did MS in US. I will be filing in Masters Cap exempt. If my registration has picked in lottery, can I directly file my petition in Consular process instead of COS ?
It would be your employer and yes, they can file it in Consular processing.
Won’t this process increase the total number of applicants?
Yes, you are right…It would very likely increase by a very big margin than pervious years…
Kumar Ji, I have a question: Two different employers doing registration for same candidate. Will this be considered as duplicate?
If they are bonafide offers and not tied to same client, then they should be fine….Example, if you have an offer from Google and Microsoft and if they both apply for registration, then you are fine…
Can we register, while I am traveling out of states?
Technically, you should be able to register as it is not the full actual application submitted to USCIS. But again, we are yet to see the details on what need to be submitted, so need to wait and see, if they ask the I-94 info and details such as COS or consular processing petition…