As H-1B season 2020 approaches, USCIS continues to provide trickles of information about what this new landscape will look like. Today, they announced the formal implementation of the electronic registration process and gave some insight as to the timeline. As we knew before, the registration period will open on March 1st, 2020 and will run until March 20, 2020. USCIS will then conduct a random selection of all the registered applicants, and will inform those registrants who have been selected. The lucky winners will then be eligible to file a cap-subject H-1B petition for that specific beneficiary. According to the announcement, USCIS hopes to notify all selected registrants no later than March 31, 2020. We assume that USCIS will then begin accepting petitions for those selected on April 1st, 2020 (though no information on this has been provided so far). Of course, depending on the level of preparation beforehand, it will likely take longer for employers and their attorneys to prepare and assemble all of the case forms and supporting documentation to submit to USCIS. We will monitor the situation closely and keep our readers and clients informed as soon as additional information is made available.
Copied from USCIS:
On Jan. 9, 2020, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services published a Federal Register notice formally announcing the implementation of the H-1B registration process for fiscal year 2021 H‑1B cap-subject petitions. This notice is required for the initial implementation of the registration process, as stated in the Jan. 31, 2019, H-1B registration final rule.
USCIS will open an initial registration period from March 1 through March 20, 2020, for the FY 2021 H-1B numerical allocations.
- During this timeframe, H-1B cap-subject petitioners, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption, seeking to file a FY 2021 H-1B cap petition will be required to first register electronically with USCIS and pay the associated $10 H-1B registration fee for each submission.
- Prospective petitioners or their authorized representatives must electronically submit a separate registration naming each alien for whom they seek to file an H-1B cap-subject petition. Duplicate registrations are prohibited.
- As described in the H-1B registration final rule, if more than a sufficient number of registrations are received, we will randomly select the number of registrations projected as needed to reach the FY 2021 H-1B numerical allocations after the initial registration period closes and notify registrants with selected registrations no later than March 31, 2020.
- Prospective petitioners with selected registrations will be eligible to file a FY 2021 cap-subject petition only for the alien named in the registration and within the filing period indicated on the eligibility notice.
USCIS will not consider a cap-subject H-1B petition to be properly filed unless it is based on a valid, selected registration for the same beneficiary and the appropriate fiscal year, unless the registration requirement is suspended. Additionally, although petitioners can register multiple aliens during a single online submission, a petitioner may only submit one registration per beneficiary in any fiscal year. If a petitioner submits more than one registration per beneficiary in the same fiscal year, all registrations filed by that petitioner relating to that beneficiary for that fiscal year will be considered invalid.
Outreach activities will take place before the opening of the initial registration period to allow users the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the new electronic registration process. We will conduct in-depth webinars and publish a series of videos for attorneys and general users to walk through the system step-by-step.
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