Thinking about filing a cap H-1B visa petition to retain or recruit a professional employee?  USCIS will be implementing the electronic registration requirement for the cap H-1B lottery in April 2020. This pre-registration system was originally published as a final rule early in 2019, but this is the first year the system will be implemented, as USCIS suspended the requirement for the 2019 cap H-1B lottery.

The initial registration period will run from March 1 through March 20, 2020, although USCIS indicated that it may continue accepting registrations, or open an additional registration period, if it does not receive enough registrations and subsequent petitions projected to reach the numerical allocations.

USCIS says that it has completed a successful pilot testing phase. Employers seeking to file cap-subject H-1B petitions for the fiscal year 2021 cap must electronically register and pay the associated $10 H-1B registration fee. Under this new process, employers will complete a registration process that requires only basic information about their company and each requested worker. In past years, there has been no pre-registration system and instead employers have been required to enter complete H-1B petitions in to the lottery.

USCIS will post further step-by-step instructions regarding the registration process on its website along with key dates and timelines as the initial registration period nears.  The proposed rule states that each H-1B case that is chosen in the pre-registration lottery will be assigned a 90-day period during which the H-1B petition will then need to be filed with USCIS, though we expect to receive more precise instructions from USCIS once cases are chosen during the pre-registration period.

Chin & Curtis will continue to monitor these developments and work with our clients to gather the information necessary for registration and subsequent filing if chosen in the lottery.  If you have any questions about this news update, please do not hesitate to contact your Chin & Curtis attorney.

By Christina Elder; January 14, 2020