On December 6, 2019, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it will implement an electronic registration process for the upcoming H-1B lottery. This announcement confirms USCIS’s long-standing goal of implementing the new registration system for the Fiscal Year 2021 cap season (October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021). Registrations will take place in March of 2020, and the H-1B lottery will be conducted by April 1, 2020. H-1B registrants selected in the lottery will be notified to submit their H-1B petitions after the lottery is completed.
The announcement states that USCIS has completed a successful pilot testing phase for the online H-1B registration system. However, a number of critical details remain unknown at this time, including details of the registration process. USCIS’s announcement said that they will post step-by-step instructions informing registrants how to complete the registration process on its website along with key dates and timelines as the initial registration period nears. USCIS will also conduct public engagements and other outreach activities to ensure registrants and interested parties are familiar with the new registration system. USCIS may determine it necessary to continue accepting registrations, or open an additional registration period, if it does not receive enough registrations and subsequent petitions projected to reach the numerical allocations.
Employers should start to prepare now by identifying all employees and candidates who will be sponsored for the Fiscal Year 2021 H-1B cap. We will send out our usual reminder in January to start collecting information in preparation for the H-1B registration process.
For additional details on the H-1B cap registration program, please see the following: