H-1B Changes for 2020

February 25, 2020

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently changed its rule regarding the H-1B visa application process. The changes will be implemented in fiscal year 2021, with registration beginning in March. Employers and foreign nationals seeking U.S. work permits should take note of the changes to the H-1B lottery electronic registration process, which includes the following:

Order of Selection

The final rule affects petitioners seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions, including those who are subject to the regular cap and those seeking to qualify for the advanced degree exception. The USCIS will first select from all petitions filed on behalf of H-1B beneficiaries to reach the regular cap and then select from the remaining registrations to reach the projected number needed for advanced degree exemption.

Online Registration

Previously, employers would simply file an application on behalf of their beneficiary. Under the new rule, employers are required to register their beneficiary with the USCIS prior to the opening of the registration period. They must create an online registration account and provide company information, as well as the name, gender, date of birth, country of birth, citizenship, and passport number for each beneficiary the employer is seeking to sponsor. The USCIS will then select registrations no later than March 31, 2020 and notify employers, who must then file H-1B petitions on behalf of the beneficiary named in the notice.

Reduced Costs and Time for Applicants

According the USCIS, the electronic registration process will streamline the application process by reducing paperwork and processing times. Instead of filing the full petition with the USCIS, employers can now provide preliminary information prior to the USCIS’s random selection process; they will only need to submit a full petition if their initial registration is selected. This will result in savings to the agency, as well as petitioners, according to the USCIS Deputy Director.

Registration Period

H-1B visa applications were previously reviewed between early March until approximately the second week of April. Under the new process, the USCIS will likely be adjudicating cases until the end of July. Employers with selected registrations may then begin filing their petitions on April 1, 2020; they will have at least 90 days from the date of their selection to file their petition. The USCIS will consider petitions in the order in which they are received. H-1B petitions that are submitted without a corresponding valid registration will not be considered properly filed and therefore will not be approved.

Philadelphia Immigration Attorneys at the MC Law Group, LLC Assist Clients with H-1B Visa Applications

If you are seeking a temporary work visa or you have questions regarding the new H-1B visa application process, contact a Philadelphia immigration attorney at the MC Law Group, LLC. Our experienced attorneys assist clients with all types of immigration issues, including employment-based immigrant and non-immigrant visa petitions and labor certifications, extensions of stay, J-1 waivers, political asylum, and special immigrant visa petitions. From our office in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout the tri-state area, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and nationwide. Contact us online or call us at 215-496-0690 for a free consultation.