A blog about U.S. immigration matters by Paul Szeto, a former INS attorney and an experienced immigration lawyer. We serve clients in all U.S. states and overseas countries. (All information is not legal advice and is subject to change without prior notice.)

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Friday, February 14, 2020

H-1B Registration Begins March 1st

Each year, tens of thousands of applicants must compete for a limited number of H-1B visa numbers. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) created a new H-1B online registration tool last year which will be implemented this H-1B season on March 1st. The agency just released further information about the registration system and the lottery process to the public.  The new  system has some specific requirements that involve both the case attorney and the employer. 

Employers Must Create an Online Account

The new system requires employers to create MyUSCIS "H-1B Registrant" accounts to submit online registrations. The employer account should be controlled by a designated person who can set up the online account and has the authority to approve the H-1B registration. This person does not have to be the same person who signs the H-1B application forms afterwards. USCIS stated that employer should be able to create accounts on or after 2/24/2020.

The H-1B registration is a new feature of the USCIS system. Employers must sign up for a new account specifically for the registration process, even if they have already have an online account with USCIS.

Only one email address can be linked to an H-1B Registrant account. Employers who previously had USCIS accounts should use a new email address to set up the new account for H-1B registration. An employer is supposed to have one registrant account only, no matter how many H-1B candidates they have. Registrations for multiple candidates should be submitted through one employer account only. The system allows a maximum of 250 employee registrations in each submission session, and there is no limit to the number of sessions that an employer can submit before the registration period ends on March 20th.

Representation by Attorneys/Legal Representatives 

Employers can hire legal professionals to submit the registration on their behalf. In that case, they will need to "handshake" with their attorneys or legal representatives in the system to validate the representation. The attorneys/representatives will provide the employers with a system-generated code for them to review and approve the G-28 and the registration. After the approval, the attorneys/representatives can continue with the next steps.  An experienced attorney not only assists the employer with registering the H-1B application; he or she can evaluate the facts of the case to spot and address any issues early on. Proper legal advice is particularly valuable in light of the current administration's tough immigration policy.  

Information Needed for Registration 

The registration system requires the employer's business name, primary U.S. address, and Federal Employer ID Number.  Full name, title, and contact information of the authorized signatory for the registration are also required. The prospective H-1B employee's names, gender, date/country of birth, nationality, and passport number must also be provided. Employers must also indicate whether the candidate is subject to the regular or master (advanced degree) cap.

Selection and Filing of H-1B Petition

USCIS will provide a 90-day window for the employers to submit legally-sufficient petitions for H-1B candidates who are selected in the lottery. If employers fail to submit the H-1B petition after the selection, they may face severe legal consequences that could harm their ability to petition for H-1B employees in the future, unless a reasonable explanation is provided.  

The new system does not require extensive information of the H-1B petition for registration.  However, employers and foreign workers should still have their cases evaluated by an experienced immigration lawyer from the beginning to address any issues early on. 

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