United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) opened this year’s H-1B electronic registration period at noon ET today. The registration period will close at noon ET on March 18.

Here is some of the key information for those new to the process or in need of a refresher:

  • 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 government filing fee for each registration.
  • Registrations cannot be submitted after the March 18 deadline. No priority is given to early submissions.
  • Following the registration period, USCIS will conduct a random lottery of properly submitted registrations if there are more registrations than visas available. The agency intends to send selection notifications via users’ myUSCIS accounts by March 31.
  • Petitioners whose registrations are selected in the lottery will be invited to file full H-1B petitions 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 registrations selected in the initial draw.

BAL Analysis: Demand for H-1B visas will likely be high again this cap season. Employers are encouraged to work closely with BAL regarding 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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