U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has begun allowing H-1B registrants to access myUSCIS registrant accounts ahead of the upcoming H-1B registration period.

The key dates are as follows:

  • March 1. The H-1B cap registration period opens at noon ET.
  • March 18. The registration period closes at noon ET.
  • Between March 18 and March 31. USCIS conducts a random lottery if there are more registrations than visas available. USCIS intends to notify petitioners whose registrations are selected no later than March 31.
  • April 1. Selected registrants can begin filing full H-1B petitions.

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 March lottery.

As of Feb. 21, registrants can create new H-1B registrant accounts. Those with an active H-1B registration account do not need to create a new one. More information is available here.

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, which petitions should be fully prepped before the registration lottery, and possible H-1B alternatives for registrations that are not selected. USCIS is hosting an H-1B registration webinar from 2 to 3 p.m. ET on Thursday, Feb. 24. More information is available here.

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

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