FAQ for H-1B Registration Rules

Important Timeline:

Feb 24: Prospective petitioners may begin creating H-1B registrant accounts (accounts creation will remain open throughout the entire registration period). Representatives may create an account at any time.

March 1: H-1B registration period opens at noon ET

March 20: H-1B registration period closes at noon ET

March 31: Date by which USCIS intends to notify selected registrants.

April 1: The earliest date that FY 2022 H-1 cap subject petitions may be filed.

 June 30: The latest date to file selected FY 2022 H-1B cap subject petition. 

  • UPDATE: In Fiscal Year 2022, H-1B Registration starts from March 9th to March 25th.

Q1: What is the e-registration system for H-1B?

USCIS announced on December 6, 2019 that it will implement a requirement that employers seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions for fiscal year (FY) 2021 must first electrically register and pay the associated $10 H-1B registration fee (for each beneficiary) to determine if they may file an H-1B cap subject petition. Only those who register before March 20 and are selected in the lottery may need to submit the actual H-1B application for FY 2022.

Q2: Who can participate in the Electronic Registration process?

(1)  The sponsoring employer or its authorized personnel and

(2)  Attorneys submitted their G-28s showing the representation relationship to the USCIS.

Q3: Who does not need to participate in the pre-registration process?

(1)  Those who already have held H-1B visas for less than 6 years or

(2)  Those whose H-1B applications are not subject to annual cap (cap-exempt H-1Bs).

Q4: Where could I register for FY 2022 H-1B?

USCIS uses MyUSCIS online portal to house the electronic H-1B registration process.

Q5: What’s the current cap for H-1B?

The number of issuance of H-1B visa each fiscal year is limited by a cap/quota determined by the U.S. Congress. The current cap is 85,000 with additional 20,000 for foreign workers with a master’s or higher degrees.

Q6: How many H-1B registration will be selected? 

85,000 (among which 20,000 will be reserved for those with Master’s degree or above)

Q7: If my future H-1B job is related to my Bachelor’s degree, but unrelated to my Master’s degree, could I join the selection of 20,000 for master’s H-1B?

Yes. Here the USCIS uses the Master’s degree or above of the beneficiary as a criterion to determine if the registration could go for the second 20,000 lottery. It is unrelated to the minimum degree of the position in the actual H-1B application.  

Q8: What information needs to be provided by the Employer in the registration?

The Employer’s business name, Federal Employment Identification Number (FEIN); Primary U.S. sponsoring office address; contact person’s name, position, and contact information. 

*We are uncertain if the position and salary information should be entered for FY 2022 H-1B Registration.

Q9: What information is needed from the Beneficiary Employee in the H-1B registration?

Full Name, gender, and highest completed degree of the beneficiary (if the beneficiary is eligible for the advanced degree exemption), date of birth, place of birth, nationality, and passport number.   

Q10: When will selected registrants be able to begin filing petitions?

Selected registrants should be able to begin filing petitions beginning April 1 (if a business day) and will have at least 90 days from the date of selection to submit a complete H-1B petition to USCIS.

Q11: What if my H-1B registration is selected but my employer refuses to submit an H-1B application?

The employer must verify that it is willing to sponsor H-1B for the foreign worker in the registration. If willful violations of the employer has become a pattern of practice (failing to submit selected H-1B petitions), the employer will be subject to investigation. It is thus critical that the eligibility be analyzed before registration are submitted to ensure that selected beneficiaries may move forward.  

Q 12: Will the employer be able to expedite H-1B cap subject applications?

We call expedite services of visa application “premium processing” (“PP”. This fee for premium processing is $1,500. However, it depends on the USCIS announcement as to whether and when to accept Premium Processing request for H-1B. 

Q 13: What’s the filing fee for H-1B application?

The filing fee for I-129 is $460; Fraud fee is $500; ACWIA $750 or $1500. But the actual filing fee is subject to change by the USCIS. 

Q14: My OPT is about to expire, but I was selected for my H-1B. Could I continue working?

You should submit your H-1B application before your OPT expires in order to be eligible for working during the cap-gap. You may use your cap-gap to work till September 30.

Q15: If my OPT is about to expire and I am not able to submit my H-1B application before OPT expiration date, can I still apply for H-1B?

Yes, so long as you submit your H-1B application within the U.S. during the 60-day grace period after OPT expires. If your 60-day grace period already expires before you submit the H-1B application, you should leave the U.S. immediately but your employer may still submit your H-1B application while you are waiting outside of the U.S. After your H-1B is approved by the USCIS, you may go to the U.S. consulate at your home country to apply a H-1B visa stamp and work in the U.S.

Q16: Could I leave the U.S. after my H-1B registration gets selected but before I submit the H-1B application?

If you are in the OPT status, I would suggest you prepare at least your employment verification letter and the newest salary pay-stubs before you leave the U.S.

Q17: Could I leave the U.S. after my H-1B application is submitted?

If you would like to use your cap-gap (change of status within the U.S. from F-1 OPT to H-1B), it is not recommended to leave the U.S. before your case is approved because once you leave the country, it is telling the USCIS that you give up your change of status application and will affect your rights in using the Cap-Gap. You must consult an immigration law attorney before you leave the country.

 Q18: I heard that USCIS will replace the H-1B lottery selection process with the wage selection process. Is it true? Will it affect the H-1B application this year (FY 2022)?

The USCIS has announced the wage selection change as the final rule on 01/08/2021 and will take effect on March 9, 2021. However, the Biden Administration has postponed the effective date of the rule till March 21, 2021. How it will affect the actual H-1B selection process is still uncertain. We will update this blog post as the Biden Administration nominated the new head of the agency and the rule becomes finalized to the public. 

UPDATE: On February 5, 2021, the USCIS updated their information about the H-1B lottery selection process. The Wage Selection for Cap Subject H-1B will not be effective until December 31, 2021. For more detailed information, please see here.

Other resources: https://www.uscis.gov/working-in-the-united-states/temporary-workers/h-1b-specialty-occupations-and-fashion-models/h-1b-electronic-registration-process

Related Blog Posts:

H-1B for Teachers

From F-1 Student to H-1B Worker: Things to Note

H-1B for Teachers: Are there any downsides to hiring K-12 International Teachers on the J-1 visas?

https://www.fickeymartinezlaw.com/h-1b/adding-h-1b-to-your-workforce-what-you-need-to-know/