United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced Friday that its H-1B electronic registration period will open at noon ET on March 1 and will close at noon ET on March 18.

Key Points:  

  • Petitioners for cap-subject H-1B visas must submit an electronic registration during the registration period for each prospective H-1B candidate.
  • Petitioners or their representative must submit registrations via a myUSCIS online account and pay a $10 filing fee for each registration.
  • Registrations may not be submitted after the March 18 deadline. No priority is given to early submissions.
  • Following the registration period, USCIS will conduct a random lottery if there are more registrations than visas available. Annual caps are set at 65,000 visas plus an additional 20,000 exclusively for advanced degree holders.
  • Petitioners whose registrations are selected in the lottery will be invited to file full H-1B petitions during the 90-day period beginning April 1.

Background: This will be the third cap season in which USCIS will use the H-1B electronic registration process. USCIS received 308,613 registrations last year and 274,237 the year before. In each of the last two years, USCIS has conducted more than one lottery. Whether this happens again will depend on several factors, including how many petitions are submitted from among the pool of registrations selected in the initial draw.

BAL Analysis: Demand for H-1B visas will likely be high again this cap season, and employers should expect candidates to have multiple job offers. Employers are encouraged to work closely with BAL regarding the immigration benefits employers can offer (e.g., immediate green card sponsorship), which petitions should be fully prepped before the registration lottery, and possible H-1B alternatives for registrations that are not selected.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact berryapplemanleiden@bal.com.

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