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Electronic Registration Overview

Last Updated on March 2, 2023

What Is Electronic Registration?

On Friday, December 6, 2019, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it will implement the H-1B electronic registration system for Fiscal Year 2021 cap season. This means that in order for a foreign national employee to participate in the upcoming H-1B lottery, their employer must first register them using the new electronic system with a required $10 fee per submission.

It is only after the foreign national employee is registered using the new electronic system and selected in the lottery that the employer may move forward with submitting the H-1B cap petition.

When Is Electronic Registration Happening?

USCIS has determined that the electronic registration period will be open from March 1 through March 20, 2020. It has been indicated that the lottery selection will be before April 1, 2020, but no definitive dates have been established.

What Are The Risks?

This is the first year USCIS is implementing a brand new technology and process, and there are meaningful risks involved:

Sudden Change: The final rule indicates that USCIS may suspend electronic registration at any time if the system becomes inoperable for any reason. This could impact the overall lottery process, case preparation timelines and employee start dates.

Risk of Start Delays: Previously, case adjudication began immediately after a petition was selected in the lottery. Under the new system, however, adjudication happens on a “first-come, first-served” basis. The longer it takes to submit a petition, the higher the risk that an employee could be without work authorization or an employee start date may be delayed.

Sanctions on Employers: USCIS has indicated that “individuals or entities who falsely attest to the bona fides of the registration and submit frivolous registrations may be referred to the appropriate federal law enforcement agencies for investigations and further action as appropriate.”

Next Steps

By January 17, 2020, Envoy and GIA will complete meetings with clients to discuss options and strategy for FY 2021 cap season (see this piece for more information about your options).

Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney at Global Immigration Associates or another qualified professional.

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