Nearly a year ago, on January 31, 2019, USCIS issued a new final rule, announcing sweeping changes to the H-1B visa lottery process.3 The final rule introduced the electronic pre-registration requirement, along with the reversal of the order by which USCIS selects petitions under the H-1B cap and the advanced degree exemptions. DHS suspended the electronic registration requirement for the past H-1B electronic registration period, making FY 2021 the first year for actual implementation of the electronic process. Subsequently, on November 8, 2019, USCIS published a proposed rule to require petitioners seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions to pay a $10 fee per electronic registration submitted to USCIS for the H-1B cap selection process, which became effective December 9, 2019.
For FY 2021, prospective petitioners must electronically submit a separate registration naming each foreign national for whom they seek to file an H-1B cap-subject petition, accompanied by basic applicant information. After the registration period closes, USCIS will conduct its annual lottery (if it receives more registrations than the cap allotted). USCIS will keep unselected registrations in reserve and use as needed to meet the cap.
After conducting the lottery, USCIS will notify the employers linked to the selected registrations, which must file full H-1B petitions within a 60-day filing period. During this time, employers can elect to file the selected registrations with complete supporting documentation, which will then be adjudicated by USCIS. Petitioners are not required to file a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with Department of Labor (DOL) for the electronic pre-registration for the beneficiary. They may do so after the beneficiary is selected in the electronic registration period.
The following information must be included in the electronic pre-registration:
- Employer/Sponsor Information: Employer's name, employer identification number (EIN), and employer's mailing address, with employer's authorized representative's name, job title, and contact information (telephone number and email address);
- Beneficiary/Applicant's General Information: Beneficiary's full name, date of birth, country of birth, country of citizenship, gender, and passport number;
- Beneficiary/Applicant's U.S. Educational Information: Information on whether beneficiary has obtained a master's or higher degree from a U.S. institution of higher education;
- Immigration Attorney Information: The employer's attorney or accredited representative, if applicable (a Form G-28 should be also submitted electronically if this is applicable); and
- Additional: Any additional basic information requested by the registration system or USCIS.