After a successful pilot testing phase, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) announced it has fully implemented an electronic pre-registration program for H-1B visas. This mandatory pre-registration process is designed to streamline the process for both the agency and employers. Now, in order to be eligible to submit an H-1B petition, the employer must first submit basic information about their company and each prospective employee to the USCIS. If selected, the employer will then be allowed to submit a full H-1B petition.
USCIS developed this pre-registration process to deal with the increased demand for H-1B visas. Every fiscal year, only 85,000 H-1B visas are available (65,000 for standard degree applicants and 20,000 for advanced degree applicants). Demand has consistently outpaced this cap. Since 2013, the cap has been reached within only five business days of the open submission period. Many employers submitted full H-1B petitions only to learn that their petition was not selected for processing, and that they would not be able to sponsor a prospective employee. Therefore, this pre-registration process will allow employers to submit limited information and only proceed with a full H-1B petition if they are selected. In theory, the pre-registration process should make the process more efficient and reduce costs to employers who will now know if their petition will be selected through the lottery prior to having to prepare the entire petition.
The initial pre-registration period begins on March 1, 2020 and runs through March 20, 2020. If an employer’s pre-registration is selected through the lottery, the employer will have at least 90 days to submit the petition during a designated filing period. Again, only the employers who have pre-registered and been selected will be permitted to submit an H-1B petition for the 2021 fiscal year.
About the Author
Mallory Deckard represents individuals, businesses and other clients with consistency and confidence. An even-keeled litigator and proactive counselor, she primarily practices family, immigration, insurance, personal injury, collections and general litigation law. She has served the Evansville community through involvement with Albion Fellows Bacon Center, Parenting Time Center, Kids Voice of Indiana, Pro Bono Protective Order Project, and other professional and civic organizations.