USCIS has announced that, beginning in 2020, USCIS will implement a pre-filing H-1B Registration Process, the main points of which are outlined below.   The Registration period runs from March 1, 2020, to March 20, 2020, and it requires a $10 filing fee that is in addition to the normal H-1B fees for cases that are selected for full processing and adjudication.  The cases covered by this new Registration process are the ones that fall within the “new” cases subject to the annual 65,000 limit or “cap”.   (If an employer or employee is exempt from  the cap, this registration process does not apply.)

Even though the Registration Period will not begin until March 1, 2020, it is important for employers who wish to file H-1B petitions this year to identify the individuals for whom they will file cases, and to be ready to process the full case as soon as possible after the selection process has been completed.  USCIS has confirmed that it has tested the new system and that it will work properly this year, but it is possible that USCIS could decide not to implement it if USCIS later determines that the system in fact does not work as it should.

If the system does work correctly, any employer wishing to sponsor a worker for H-1B status must have been selected in the Registration Process in order to be eligible to file an H-1B Petition.

The following information outlines the important parts of the system and how employers should access it.

Who is not required to use this new process?

H-1B employees who have been counted against the cap, or universities or certain research institutions.

How soon must the employer file the petition if it is picked?

At least 90 days from the time USCIS notifies the employer it has been picked.

Will USCIS issue a receipt notice?

Not like it does for a standard filing, but it will issue the employer a registration number.

What is the filing fee?

USCIS will charge a $10 non-refundable filing fee; it must be paid electronically through the USCIS government website at www.pay.gov via ACH or credit card.

Contents of registration filing

The registration will require:

  1. Full name of the prospective employee
  2. Date of birth
  3. Country of birth
  4. Country of citizenship
  5. Passport number
  6. Gender
  7. Employer attestation that there is a bona fide temporary job offer which the employer intends to use as the basis for an H-1B petition for the employee.

How many registrations can an employer file?

The employer may file registrations for as many employees as it intends to sponsor, but it can file only one registration per employee.  However, an employee can have multiple employers file registrations for him or her.

What if an employer files more than one registration for one employee?

USCIS will reject all registrations filed by that employer for all prospective employees.

Must the employer prepare the LCA?

This step is not required, but the better course is to do so, because USCIS will adjudicate petitions on a first-come, first-served basis.  In addition, some employees will be on OPT, and it is critical to file those petitions while the employee’s OPT remains valid, so that the employee can use the cap-gap rules.

How will USCIS conduct the lottery?

If it receives enough registrations, USCIS will select registrants for the 65,000 slots reserved for employees with BS or BA degrees; once those are filled, it will conduct a second lottery for the 20,000 numbers set aside for those with advanced degrees issued by US universities.

Case handling by Chapman Law Firm – Registration Process and full H-1B case

Please let us know by February 1, 2020, your intentions regarding H-1B sponsorship.  If you already have retained us for one or more H-1B filings for April of 2020 and have paid the full retainer, we will use that retainer to prepare and submit the Registration Application for your case(s).  If this additional step causes an overage, we will bill you at the end of the case for additional time, etc.

If we have not yet invoiced you for an H-1B case to be filed in April, once you confirm that you want us to assist with this new Registration Process, we will prepare a separate invoice for the work that the new Registration Process will require.   If USCIS selects your Registration Application, we will submit a separate invoice promptly for the legal fees, filing fees and expenses for the rest of the standard H-1B case.