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USCIS Announces New H-1B Registration Process Starting March 1, 2020

On December 6, 2019, USCIS announced that it is implementing an electronic registration requirement for petitioners seeking to submit H-1B cap-subject petitions. Employers seeking to file FY2021 H-1B cap-subject petitions, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption, must first electronically register and pay an associated $10 fee for each electronic registration they submit to USCIS. The registration process now commences a month earlier, on March 1. This a a change from prior years in which applicants applied starting April 1, and often waited up to four months to find out if their application was selected in the lottery, causing great stress and costs to applicants and their employers in the meantime.

Per USCIS, under this new process, employers seeking H-1B workers subject to the cap, or their authorized representatives, will complete a registration process that will require only basic information about their company and each requested worker. USCIS announced that the initial registration period will start on March 1, 2020. Employers and their representatives will be able to set up required registration accounts prior to March 1. USCIS intends to close the initial registration period on March 20, 2020, and will announce the actual end date of the initial registration period on its website. USCIS will then run a random selection process on those electronic registrations. Only those with selected registrations will be eligible to file H-1B cap-subject petitions. If an applicant is selected, he or she will then prepare an H-1B application, including an I-129 form and supporting evidence, to file as soon as possible after selection.

USCIS will post step-by-step instructions on how to complete the registration process, along with key dates and timelines, on its website as the initial registration period nears. Watch this page for updates!


The H-1B classification is reserved for foreign nationals possessing advanced degrees seeking to enter the United States temporarily to perform services associated with their educational background. It is often used for applications in the STEM professions, such as math, science, engineering, logistics, mathematics, etc. It is so popular because it has the option to lead to a Green Card, and can provide a visa holder with six years or more of opportunities in the United States.

Registration Platform

USCIS has indicated that it will publish instructions on its website on how to access the electronic registration platform. At the time of writing, however, it has not yet posted this information or any link to the registration platform. Additionally, while USCIS has indicated that the registration process will require the petitioner to provide basic information about the intended H-1B petition, it has not published a specific list of questions. Petitioners intending on registering a case are encouraged to regularly check http://www.uscis.gov for updates.

The implementation of a registration process is encouraging. It will allow petitioners to determine whether their cases will be selected for review before having to spend the time and money on developing a full H-1B petition application packet. The one potential downside is the relatively short and easy registration process will likely encourage more applicants in an already significantly oversubscribed field. Hopefully, this initial trial of the registration process will shed light on the full impacts of the new procedure.

If you intend on submitting an H-1B petition for registration or would like more information on the H-1B classification, the experienced attorneys at The Grady Firm PC are here to assist you. We can begin the process to determine whether you or your employee qualify for the visa, and whether the Master’s Degree cap (which allows for 20,000 more visas) applies.

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To learn whether you or a job candidate qualify for an H-1B visa or other immigration option, schedule a complimentary 15-minute consultation with The Grady Firm’s attorneys; call +1 (949) 798-6298; or fill out a Contact Request Form. The Grady Firm has offices in Beverly Hills, Newport Beach, and San Diego, California.

*Jennifer A. Grady, Esq. is licensed to practice employment law in California, and immigration law in all 50 states.

This article is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. This article does not make any guarantees as to the outcome of a particular matter, as each matter has its own set of circumstances and must be evaluated individually by a licensed attorney.


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