New (2020) Cap-Subject H-1B Process

What Is New?

 USCIS has created a new process for filing H-1B cap-subject petitions that will begin for the FY2021 season. Under this new process, employers seeking to file FY2021 H-1B cap-subject petitions, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption, must first electronically register between March 1 – March 20, 2020 and pay an associated $10 fee for each electronic registration they submit to USCIS. An employer’s registration must be selected by USCIS before a petition can be submitted for a prospective employee. Note, however, the H-1B registration regulations specifically provide that “USCIS may suspend the H-1B registration requirement at any time if it determines the registration process is inoperable for any reason.”

How Does This Impact Me?

This new process changes the timing of the H-1B cap-subject petition process. In prior years, all fully prepared H-1B cap-subject petitions were filed the first five business days of April and USCIS then ran a lottery based on the petitions received during that time period, but employers would not know if their petition was selected weeks, or sometimes months later.

Under the new system, the timing for filing an H-1B petition now starts earlier. First, an electronic registration with basic information about the employer and beneficiary must be submitted between March 1 – March 20, 2020. Then, if needed, USCIS will run a lottery from the registrations it received during that period and will electronically notify you or your attorney if you have been selected, no later than March 31, 2020. If your registration is selected, then you will have at least 90 days to file the corresponding fully prepared H-1B cap-subject petition beginning on April 1. If your registration is not selected, you will be placed on a waitlist in case more petitions can be filed at a later date.

Summary:  Only those persons who (1) pre-register between March 1 and March 20, 2020 and (2) are selected by the USCIS before March 31, 2020 will be eligible to file new cap-subject H-1B petitions (unless this process is suspended by the USCIS).


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