At a glance
- Employers can now set up accounts in USCIS's new H-1B cap registration system.
- If your organization wishes to sponsor foreign workers for H-1B cap employment in FY 2021, it must set up a registration account.
- H-1B cap registration opens at noon ET on March 1, 2020 and closes at noon ET on March 20, 2020. All beneficiaries must be registered during this period to be entered in the annual H-1B cap selection lotteries.
USCIS's new online system for H-1B cap registration is now open for employer account creation. If your organization plans to sponsor foreign nationals for H-1B cap employment in FY 2021, it must take steps to set up an account in the USCIS system and provide its Fragomen team with all necessary beneficiary information. Planning ahead will help ensure that your organization can complete the required registration steps by noon ET on March 20, 2020, when the FY 2021 cap registration period will close.
Below are Fragomen's answers to frequently asked questions about the H-1B cap registration system and the process for setting up registration accounts for your organization. For step-by-step illustrations, see Fragomen's H-1B Registration Guide for Employers.
Using the USCIS H-1b Cap Registration System
- My organization will be working with immigration counsel for the upcoming H-1B cap. Will we need to set up an account in the USCIS registration system?
Yes. Sponsoring employers will need to set up H-1B cap registration accounts on my.USCIS.gov, whether the organization will work with immigration counsel to submit registrations or will submit registrations on its own behalf.
See Fragomen's H-1B Registration Guide for Employers above for step-by-step instructions on setting up and accessing a cap registration account.
- My organization has multiple entities. Will we need to set up a separate cap registration account for each entity?
Yes, if multiple entities in your organization will sponsor H-1B cap beneficiaries, your organization must set up a USCIS account for each sponsoring Employer Identification Number (EIN) entity.
Each account your organization sets up must be attached to a unique e-mail address. USCIS will not permit you to use a single email address across multiple registration accounts.
- When can our organization start creating accounts?
Employers may begin creating H-1B registration accounts starting on February 24, 2020. The account creation function for the FY 2021 cap season will remain open throughout the entire registration period, until noon ET on March 20, 2020.
- How does our organization create an account?
To create an H-1B registration account, go to https://my.uscis.gov/ on or after February 24 and click, "Sign Up." You will need to:
- Provide a unique e-mail address for the account.
- Create a password.
- Select your preferred method for two-factor authentication. Acceptable two-factor authentication methods include SMS text messaging, an email address or the use of an authentication app.
- Provide answers to several security questions, which will allow you to reset your password at any time.
- Select your account type, which is, "I am an H-1B Registrant."
- Who in our organization should have an H-1B cap registration account? What information will need to be provided so that our organization can participate in registration?
Your organization's H-1B registration account(s) should be created and used by the authorized individual who typically signs USCIS petitions on behalf of the organization. Where your organization designates more than one authorized signatory in the H-1B registration process, each signatory must create their own H-1B registration account. A signatory may hold multiple accounts, e.g., if they will act as the authorized registration signatory for multiple entities, but in that case, they must create a separate account for each entity, using a unique e-mail address for each account.
The Registration Process
- When can our immigration counsel start preparing and submitting registrations for the FY 2021 cap lottery?
USCIS will open the cap registration period on Sunday, March 1, 2020 at noon ET. Your immigration counsel can begin to draft and submit cap registrations at this time; the USCIS system will not permit the drafting or filing of registrations before March 1.
The registration period will close on March 20, 2020 at noon ET. All registrations for the FY 2021 cap must be submitted by this time. Late registrations will not be accepted.
- What beneficiary information must be provided to USCIS in a cap registration?
For each beneficiary, your organization must provide the following:
- Full legal name;
- Date of birth;
- Country of birth;
- Country of citizenship;
- Passport number, if any; and
- Whether the beneficiary is eligible for the U.S. advanced-degree cap, or will be eligible for the advanced-degree cap at the time a petition is filed on the beneficiary's behalf.
The sponsoring entity can submit only one registration per H-1B beneficiary; if an entity files more than one registration for a beneficiary, each of those registrations will be cancelled and the employer will not be permitted to re-submit a registration for that beneficiary this fiscal year. Multiple related entities can each submit a registration for a specific beneficiary, but only if each entity can show a legitimate business need to file a registration for that beneficiary. USCIS will closely scrutinize registrations to identify prohibited duplicates before it runs the cap lotteries.
- How many registrations can my organization submit and how many beneficiaries can be included in each registration?
There is no limit to the number of registrations your
organization may submit. Each registration, however, is limited to
There is also no limit on the number of foreign nationals your organization can register for the H-1B cap lottery. However, your organization must have a legitimate business need to register each foreign national and must have a bona fide intent to submit an H-1B cap petition for each beneficiary who is selected in the cap lottery.
- Does our organization need to be involved in the process for submitting an H-1B cap registration?
Yes. Your immigration counsel cannot submit an H-1B registration until you approve and electronically sign the H-1B registration and a Form G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney. For this reason, it is critical that you pay close attention to communications received from your counsel. Failure to approve and electronically sign the G-28 and registration in time for submission by March 20 at noon ET will preclude the listed beneficiaries from being entered in this year's cap lottery.
- What does our organization need to do in order review, approve and electronically sign the G-28 and registration?
Each time your counsel finishes drafting a registration for your organization, USCIS will generate a unique passcode that you can use to review, approve and electronically sign the G-28 and registration document. Your Fragomen team will send this passcode to you.
When you are ready to review the draft registration, you must log into your my.USCIS.gov account, which will bring you to the H-1B Registrations Home Page. Click on "Enter representative passcode" and input the passcode in the field provided.
You will first be directed to review the electronic Form G-28, which involves confirming your attorney representative, checking all three boxes where it asks where USCIS should send notices and documents about the registration, attesting to a statement confirming that your organization is represented by the attorney listed on the G-28, and providing your electronic signature. You must then click "submit" to file the G-28.
Once you have completed the Form G-28, you will be directed to the draft registration. Here, you must confirm that the information about your organization and the beneficiaries is accurate. If corrections need to be made, you should decline the registration, which will revert the draft registration back to the attorney for corrections. Where the information contained within is accurate, you will accept the registration and be directed to the electronic signature pages. Upon signing, you will click "Finish and Send," which will return the registration to the attorney for submission.
See Fragomen's H-1B Registration Guide for Employers above for step-by-step instructions on reviewing, approving and signing each G-28 and cap registration.
- Can our organization's authorized signatory edit a draft registration?
No. If there are errors or changes needed in the draft registration, you must decline its approval and inform your counsel of the necessary changes. Your counsel will make the requested changes, generate a new passcode, and return the registration to you for your review, approval and electronic signature.
- Can a beneficiary be added to or deleted from a registration?
Beneficiaries can be added to or deleted from a draft registration at any time during the registration period.
Once a registration has been submitted to USCIS, a beneficiary can be deleted from the registration, provided that the registration period remains open (i.e. by noon ET on March 20, 2020). Beneficiaries may not be added to an already submitted registration; however, an employer may register additional beneficiaries by creating and submitting a new registration before the registration period closes.
- Can our organization track the status of our registrations?
Yes, once you have accessed a registration through a passcode provided by your counsel, you may track the progress of that registration. This means that you will be able to see whether the case remains in progress or whether it has been submitted to USCIS by your counsel.
- Can our organization obtain a list of its registered beneficiaries?
Yes, USCIS will allow you to download a CSV (comma-separated value) list of all H-1B beneficiaries included in a registration. This file can be saved in a spreadsheet program and used to ensure that the sponsoring entity does not file any prohibited duplicate registrations for a single beneficiary. According to USCIS, the CSV file will include the name, date of the birth and country of birth of each beneficiary only; it will not contain any other beneficiary data from the registration.
If your organization will sponsor more than 250 beneficiaries in the registration process, you will be able to download a CSV file for each batch registration and combine them in a single spreadsheet to check for duplicates.
The Cap Lotteries and Notification of Winners
- When will USCIS conduct the H-1B cap lotteries?
The agency will run two cap lotteries between March 20 at 12:01PM ET and March 31, 2020.
The first lottery will contain all registered H-1B beneficiaries. USCIS will use this lottery to select enough registrations to meet the regular H-1B cap of 65,000.
The second lottery will contain all registered "master's cap" beneficiaries who were not selected in the first lottery. USCIS will use this lottery to select enough registrations to meet the H-1B cap exemption of 20,000 for holders of U.S. advanced degrees.
- When and how will USCIS notify employers and immigration counsel of the lottery results?
USCIS plans to notify employers and immigration counsel of the lottery results by March 31, 2020. For each cap registration, USCIS will send an email to the employer's authorized signatory and immigration counsel. The email will notify the recipient that there has been a change in the status of a cap registration.
To learn the lottery results, your Fragomen representative or your company's authorized signatory will need to access his or her my.USCIS.gov account and review the status of each beneficiary. "Selected" means the beneficiary has been chosen in the lottery. "Submitted" means the beneficiary was not chosen in the lottery, but his or her registration will be retained in the (unlikely) event that further H-1B cap numbers become available for FY 2021. "Not selected" will appear when it is determined that further numbers will not be available for FY 2021. "Denied" means that USCIS determined that there was a prohibited duplicate registration and the beneficiary was denied entry into the lottery.
- Will USCIS send a selection notice for each beneficiary chosen in the lottery?
Yes, in the my.USCIS.gov account, there will be a printable selection notice for each beneficiary chosen in the lottery. A copy of the notice must be included in the H-1B petition filed for the beneficiary.
H-1B Petition Filing
- When will USCIS accept H-1B cap petitions for beneficiaries selected in the lotteries?
The petition filing period begins on April 1, 2020 and will end no earlier than June 30, 2020. All FY 2021 H-1B cap petitions must be submitted during the prescribed period. USCIS will not accept late filings.
- Will premium processing be available for FY 2021 H-1B cap petitions?
USCIS has not announced whether premium processing will be available this cap season. We expect the agency to announce its decision by April 1, 2020.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.