Q: What is the H-1B Cap registration?
A: For this Fiscal Year 2021 H-1B cap season, USCIS has implemented a new electronic pre-registration requirement as a pre-requisite for the lottery process and filing of an H-1B petition. Petitioners seeking to file an H-1B cap subject petition must pay a $10 fee per electronic registration submitted to USCIS for the H-1B cap selection process. The registration process will be opened from March 1st, 2020 through March 20th, 2020. Those who registered will then be entered into the lottery. Once the lottery has been conducted, and the registration is selected, USCIS will notify the employer to file the full H-1B petition within a 60-days filing period. The employer then files the Labor Condition Application and includes the certified LCA with the H-1B package to be filed with USCIS.
Q: What happens if my pre-registration was not selected by the random selection process?
A: Under this new $10.00 registration process, if your registration was not selected under the lottery, there is nothing further you can do, if you are subject to the cap. Your employer has the option re-file the H-1B petition for you for the next fiscal year.
Q: Under the new registration system for the H-1B lottery, how many registrations can be submitted for each Beneficiary?
A: The employer can only submit one registration for each Beneficiary. If the employer has several Beneficiaries, then they must submit a separate registration for each Beneficiary. The employer cannot submit duplicate registrations for a Beneficiary in order to gain an advantage in the lottery system. If the employer submits duplicate or multiple registrations for the same employee, then all the registrations for that same employee will be rejected. Note: Multiple or different employers may however submit their own registration for the same Beneficiary.
Q: During the registration process, does the employer need to provide details of the proposed H-1B position?
A: Information about the proposed H-1B position is not required for the registration process. However, it is important to make sure in advance that the Beneficiary of the proposed H-1B petition does have the required qualifications for the position when the petition is filed, assuming that the registration was selected under the lottery.
Q: How will the lottery be conducted by USCIS?
A: Under this new system, USCIS will first conduct the lottery for the 65,000 visa numbers and this will include all registrations which include the both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees or higher. Then USCIS will conduct a second lottery for the 20,000 visa numbers for the Masters degrees. This is to increase the chances of those who hold master’s of higher degrees from US institutions of higher learning to be selected under the lottery.
Q: Do I meet the educational requirements for an H-1B visa if I have a two-year Associates Degree and about 10 years of work experience in the field?
A: Typically, an H-1B Beneficiary must hold at least a Bachelor’s Degree. In most cases, this typically means a 4 year degree. However, if you have a 2-year Associate’s Degree, you may use your work experience to obtain an equivalency to a Bachelor’s Degree. Generally, three years of work experience equates to one year of university education. If you already have 10 years work experience in the field, then you should be able to obtain an equivalency of a Bachelor’s Degree for H-1B purposes.
Q: I am presently on OPT (Optional Practical Training) with an employer. My OPT will expire this summer. My employer is unaware about the H-1B visa option for me. What should I do?
A: Please immediately approach your employer to initiate a discussion with them about the possibility of filing an H-1B visa petition for you. The employer, if unfamiliar with such a visa and the procedures involved in the filing may then take action to seek appropriate advice or make inquiries to learn about the options under this visa category. In view of the fact that the H-1B registration period for the lottery is now ongoing and will end on 03/20/2020, you should initiate these discussions with your employer as soon as possible.
Q: Is it true the currently USCIS will deny H-1B petition filed for specialty occupations using the Level 1 Prevailing Wage?
A: USCIS has been treating H-1B petition with position offering Level 1 Prevailing Wage quite harshly. As such, for all H-1B petitions, it is not recommended that the Level 1 Prevailing Wage be used. If your employer is not able to offer a higher prevailing wage, it may make sense to file the petition as a Part-Time position instead but with the higher prevailing wage.
Any advice provided in this article is general in nature and not intended to constitute legal advice for any specific case. Please consult with an immigration lawyer about the specific circumstances of your case.
Sharlene Sharmila Richards is a licensed Immigration Lawyer practicing in Houston, Texas. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She was admitted to the New York State Bar in 2000 and is a member of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and a member of the US Supreme Court. If you require advice or assistance, you may contact her at telephone number 713-623-8088 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.