U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services  published notices in the Federal Register today that indicate the agency is creating an H-1B Registration Tool and will revise Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, used to apply for the H-1B visa, to reflect the addition of the registration requirement.

Key Points:

  • USCIS finalized a regulation in January that would change the way the H-1B selection process works. The regulation included two changes—reversing the order of the lotteries for the advanced-degree exemption and the general candidates, and introducing a mandatory electronic registration system. The agency only implemented the first change for this year’s H-1B cap season, but is expected to implement the online registration system for next cap season.
  • The registration system will require petitioners to submit an online registration form for each prospective H-1B candidate during a designated registration period before filing season begins in April. USCIS will select petitions from the registrations and issue selection notices to successful petitioners, who would then be permitted to file completed petitions.
  • Through the H-1B registration tool, USCIS will collect certain information about each company that registers and its prospective H-1B employees, such as the legal name of the petitioning company and its authorized representative, its Employer Identification Number, its primary U.S. address, and details about the candidate.
  • Petitioners whose registrations are selected will be required to provide the H-1B Registration Selection Number when filing the full petition (Form I-129).
  • Although the final rule did not include a fee for registrations, USCIS has since proposed to charge a fee. The amount of the fee has not been released but a proposed regulation is expected to be published following review by the Office of Management and Budget.

BAL Analysis: The Federal Register notices indicate that USCIS is working to put in place the H-1B registration tool for next April’s H-1B cap season. USCIS is expected to finalize the registration tool following a comment period that ends Aug. 26. BAL is closely monitoring the issue and will provide updates as more information becomes available.

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

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