On January 9, 2020, the implementation of the H-1B registration process was published in the Federal Register. Although the final rule regarding registration was issued in January 2019, and an announcement was made in December 2019 confirming the process, only some guidance regarding the process has been provided. As of the January 9, 2020 notice, USCIS has stated that it will conduct further outreach and training prior to the initial implementation of the registration process, and will provide guidance on how to use the registration system.

Here it what we know so far:

  • Registration will take place between March 1, 2020 and March 20, 2020.
  • USCIS will use the myUSCIS online portal for the electronic registration process.
  • Prior to the registration period, USCIS will allow employers and representatives to set up their myUSCIS accounts. USCIS will notify the public of the date this will take place, and provide instructions. As of now, creating an account and designating an attorney is a multi-step process.
  • A $10 nonrefundable fee is required for each registration, and may be paid by bank account, credit card, or debit card.
  • Basic information about the employer and prospective employee will be required, including employer name, address, EIN, employee name, employee degree and country of birth.
  • USCIS will conduct lottery selections and notify registrants of selections from the initial registration period no later than March 31, 2020, via email or text message.
  • From the time of selection in the lottery, petitioners will be permitted to begin filing petitions as early as April 1, 2020, but will have at least 90 days from the date of registration to submit a complete petition.
  • If the registration process is inoperable for any reason, USCIS has the authority to suspend it.

Traditionally, H-1B visa petitions were prepared in full and filed on April 1. Because of the new Registration, the way we prepare H-1B visas must change. Although it is challenging to strategize with such little information, we have devised a tentative plan based on what we know so far:

  • For those who wish to apply, we will collect information and supporting evidence so that we may review and analyze eligibility and identify issues. We will identify missing evidence (i.e. translations, educational evaluation, etc.), and make recommendations regarding any of these issues. This should be done ASAP.
  • Prior to March 1, we will prepare and file the LCA.
  • Upon announcement, we will register myUSCIS attorney and employer accounts to the extent permitted.
  • March 1, 2020 – March 20, 2020: Registration period
  • After notification through March 31, 2020, we will begin preparation of H-1B petitions selected in lottery, and plan for the designated filing period.

As additional information is announced, we will continue to modify our plan of action for preparing H-1B petitions to maximize efficiency, meet all deadlines, and put our clients in the most advantageous position possible.