USCIS yesterday had a stakeholder conference call, where they shared the complete process, including dates and various details on the implementation the new H1B Visa Registration rule that will be effective for H1B Visa 2021 season . They also showed the final set of screens of the H1B online registration tool/ portal and went over the typical steps for submitting the registrations and addressed common questions. In this article, we will cover all of those details related to the new process.
Below is the high level H1B Registration Process confirmed by USCIS.
High Level H1B Registration Process for FY 2021
On a very high level, below are the high-level steps and process. It is not much different from what was outlined in the past.
- Step 1: Employer or H1B Sponsor creates USCIS H1B Registrant Account
- Step 2: Employer fills out H1B sponsoring company related information and the authorized signatory information using the registrant account.
- Step 3: Employer fills out their company’s H1B applicants/ Beneficiaries in the H1B online registration system using the registrant account.
- Step 4 : Employer reviews the details for duplicates and submits the H1B registrations
- Step 5 : Employer is redirected to Payment system pay.gov for payment
- Step 6 : Employer get confirmation on the payment and can review the submitted registrations
- Step 7: Employer can delete any duplicate entries, if needed before March 20th.
- Step 8 :USCIS conducts H1B Visa Lottery as needed and informs the Employer on the selected registrations
- Step 9 : Employer files the H1B petitions with complete info within 90 days from April 1st.
- Step 10 : USCIS may run the lottery as needed to meet the quota cap for fiscal year and if met, they will inform registrants the registrations that were not selected.
USCIS Latest Update on New H1B Registration Process, Tool, Dates
USCIS explained various aspects of the new H1B registration system and process for FY 2021 season. Some of the information they mentioned was already shared by them in the past. Yesterday they confirmed the same again. Below are the various details that they covered related to the registration process and other areas.
- New H1B Registrant Account : USCIS said that all employers need to create a new USCIS Online Account by going to USCIS Homepage > Tools > myUSCIS (Under Self Service Tools) or directly go to https://my.uscis.gov/ and then choose account type as “I am an H1-B registrant” during the last step of the sign-up process. Below is a screenshot of what it looks like.
- H1B Registrant Account Creation Dates : H1B sponsors or employers can create the H1B registrant accounts starting from 10 AM EST from February 24th, 2020 and will be open until March 20th, 2020. So, if you try to create a new account now as registrant, you will NOT see the above option of H1B registrant, so do not create account now. You need to wait until Feb 24th, 2020.
- H1B Registration Dates for FY 2021: USCIS will enable the option in the online USCIS Portal for employers or H1B registrants to start submitting their H1B registrations for their employees or applicants starting from March 1st, 2020 and it will be open until March 20th, 2020. It will be open until March 20th noon time EST. You cannot submit H1B registrations before March 1st, you can only create the registrant account. This is no different from what was announced in last December 2019. You can check previous info at article H1B Online Registration Confirmed by USCIS
- Limits on H1B Registrations Per Batch, Total : There is no limit on total number of H1B registrations that an employer can submit during the period. The only restriction is that they can only submit 250 registrations per batch. They can submit as many batches as they can.
- System Checks Completeness, Not accuracy : They mentioned that USCIS H1B online registration system only checks for completeness of the data, but not the accuracy of info submitted. Meaning, they will only see, if information is entered or not, but they will not validate if that is correct or wrong. It is employer’s responsibility to avoid duplicates or wrong info.
- CSV Export Option for Review : The H1B online registration system will have an option to export the total entries that are entered by a user to CSV file and review in Excel or another tool like Google Docs to review for duplicates before submission. They mentioned that, if multiple HR people or immigration people are submitting entries, it is their responsibility to ensure that they are not submitting duplicates. System will NOT tell or flag the duplicate entries.
- Payment for each H1B Registration : It is $10 USD per H1B registration submitted by the employer. It is same as before, no changes.
- Payment done using Pay.gov, Issues with Payments : The payment process at the last step of submission is handled by Pay.gov, which is managed by Treasury department. You can pay using ACH, Credit or Debit cards. There will be a confirmation once payment is successful stating it is successful. If any issues with payment, you can go back and complete the payment again, all your previous registrations data will exist.
- Review and Delete H1B Registrations, Submitted Status: Once the payment is done, you can see all the submissions and they would have a status saying submitted. You have a choice to Delete as well. You can download and verify for duplicates and then delete as needed. This is to fix any issues, if same employee is name entered by HR or immigration teams twice by mistake. See below screenshot of how it looks.
- H1B Registrations Lottery Selection Statuses: After the submission of the H1B registrations, you can see change of status for some or all of your registrations once USCIS runs the H1B Lottery for the registrations. This will happen before March 31st. If you are selected in H1B lottery, you will see that employee or beneficiary status as Selected. If there was a duplicate entry, then you will see the status as Denied (duplicated). If you are not selected, then you will see ‘Not Selected’ Status. See below screenshot on how it actually looks in the system.
- Submitted Status until Fiscal Year quota is closed : You may continue to see Submitted Status for the ones that are not selected. They will remain in Submitted status until USCIS closes out petitions required for Fiscal year 2021 quota…Once USCIS decides they do not need any more petitions, then the status would change to ‘Not Selected’. So, you may or may not see that immediately by March 31st.
- 90 Days to File H1B Petition: Once a beneficiary or applicant is selected in the Registration Lottery, the employer or registrant would get 90 days to do the actual H1B filing. They need to submit the entire application with relevant fee, LCA for the H1B, and all supporting documentation. The 90 days window starts from April 1st and will last until June 30th.
- Selection Notice Print and Submit, Filing Center : The selected applicant need to print the selected notice and it has to be submitted along with the actual H1B petition. The filing center on where to send the petition will be listed on the selection notice. Employer needs to send the petition to that location.
- H1B Lottery More than Once : USCIS may do lottery more than once, as needed to fill the required H1B quota for the Fiscal year 2021. As this is first year, they are also not sure, how many would be needed to complete the cap. If you look at H1B Lottery Cap Selection History, they usually select about 13% to 15% more petitions than the total cap as buffer to factor in for rejections and other incomplete petitions. So, USCIS is saying the same thing here.
- H1B Registration Close / Open : USCIS said, they may open the H1B registrations period as needed. If they open again, they will inform everyone and the same would reflect on the H1B registration online system on the screen. It will look like below screenshot.
- Duplicates Run, before Running H1B Lottery : USCIS said, they will run first to identify the duplicates before they run the actual lottery. So, in the first pass all the duplicates are taken out and then the ones that are not duplicates are used for the actual lottery. The process is same as described before.
- H1B Registration Screens : The H1B registration tool screens are pretty similar to the ones that were released by USCIS in the draft. Check out article H1B Registration Tool Screens and Flow for more info. We will update that article with changes.
- Common FAQs on H1B Registration : We have put together FAQs article that outlines common things, check out 27 H1B Registration FAQs
What do you think of the new H1B Registration Process ? What are your thoughts ?