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H-1B Lottery Registration Starts on March 1st, 2020

In November, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), published a final rule that details regulations for H-1B cap-subject petitions intended to be filed during the 2020 cap season. This is for fiscal year 2021 (FY2021). A non-refundable $10 fee is required for each registration that petitioners submit to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for the H-1B cap selection process. Payment must be made by either visa ACH or credit card to www.pay.gov.

USCIS will hold the initial registration period from March 1–20, 2020. Employers or their authorized representatives will provide basic information about their companies and each prospective H-1B worker. The Labor Condition Application is not required for registration. A lottery will be conducted prior to the acceptance of petitions. This way, employers know before submitting H-1B petitions whether their petition(s) will be considered.

At stake in the lottery are the 65,000 cap-subject H-1Bs. There will be a subsequent lottery for the 20,000 numbers reserved for U.S. advanced degree holders to increase the chances of U.S. advanced degree holders winning H-1B numbers.

An H-1B cap-subject petition will not be considered properly filed unless it is based on a valid registration selection for the applicable fiscal year. Petitioners wishing to file H-1B cap-subject petitions must electronically register with USCIS during the designated registration period. The other major change was a reverse order in how the lottery was conducted with the goal of increasing the chances of U.S. Master’s or advanced degree holders of winning an H-1B number.

General information including name, date of birth and citizenship will be included in the registration along with employer attestation of a bona fide job offer. If selected, a petitioner will have 90 days to file the H-1B petition.

An employer can only submit one registration per beneficiary. If an employer submits more than one registration for an employee, all registrations for that employee will be rejected. However, more than one employer can submit registrations for a single beneficiary.

Cap-exempt employers, such as universities and qualified research institutions, will not be included in this registration; however, it appears cases involving individuals seeking advanced degree exemption will have to electronically register.

As with all immigration matters, it is best to consult a qualified professional for thorough information. We will continue to monitor developments and advise you accordingly.