U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has posted a prepublication version of a proposal to charge a $10 fee for each H-1B registration under the new process that is expected to apply to fiscal year 2021 cap filings.

Key points:

  • The regulation that introduced the new online registration requirement did not originally include a fee amount.
  • USCIS is expected to publish the proposed fee rule in the Federal Register on Sept. 4 and will then accept comments from the public for 30 days.
  • The agency will also propose revisions to the online registration tool to reflect the addition of the fee. The part of the proposal affecting the registration tool will be subject to a longer 60-day comment period.

Background: USCIS finalized a regulation in January 2019 to change the H-1B lottery process by (1) switching the order in which the agency selects petitions to increase the number of advanced-degree holders chosen, and (2) requiring petitioners to file an online registration for each individual they seek to sponsor for a cap-subject H-1B visa. The agency only implemented the first part of the rule and delayed implementation of the electronic registration requirement.

BAL Analysis: USCIS has been taking steps to implement the electronic registration requirement for the H-1B filing season that will begin in April 2020, but has not yet released details on the new process. A group of business and immigration organizations recently sent a letter to the agency seeking additional information and clarification regarding its plans. BAL is closely monitoring the progress of these changes to the H-1B lottery process and will provide additional details as they become 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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