Employers seeking to employ H-1B workers must register with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) by March 20, 2020, to be eligible for the FY 2021 H-1B lottery.

On February 11 and 12, 2020, USCIS provided presentations about its new electronic registration process and online registration portal for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 H-1B lottery. The presentations followed the USCIS December 6, 2019, announcement on the implementation of a new electronic registration process for the FY 2021 H-1B lottery. The presentations targeting employers cover the online registration portal and how to create petitioner and attorney representative accounts.

To be eligible to enter the lottery for FY2021 H-1B cap visas, employers must create a USCIS online account and provide basic information about their companies and each requested beneficiary. Employers are also required to pay a $10 non-refundable H-1B registration fee for each beneficiary before they’re eligible to submit a registration for a beneficiary for the visa lottery.

Employers may create their USCIS online account beginning February 24, 2020. Employers will be able to register for the FY 2021 H-1B visa lottery only between 12 p.m. ET March 1, 2020, and 12 p.m. ET March 20, 2020. Employers who have not recreated an account and registered for the visa lottery by noon on March 20 will not be able to submit petitions and to be considered for selection.

At the close of the registration period, USCIS will deliver lottery results by sending selection notices electronically and inviting employers to file an H-1B cap-subject petition on behalf of the named individual within the filing period indicated on the selection notice. USCIS has stated that employers will have 90 days from the selection notice date to file their petitions.

Employers that are interested in filing an H-1B petition or uncertain whether the March 20, 2020, registration deadline applies to them should review the details on the process change. Employers intending to petition for an H-1B worker for the H-1B 2021 cap season should plan ahead.

Attorneys in Ballard Spahr’s Labor and Employment Group routinely assist employers in filing H-1B petitions and determining what employment-based visas meet their business goals


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