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How to Prepare for the H-1B Lottery and New Electronic Registration System

Published on 2/4/2020


On Tuesday, February 4, 2020 Amy Royalty and Cody Nunn hosted a complimentary webinar on How to Prepare for the H-1B Lottery and New Electronic Registration System.

The H-1B visa classification is for temporary employment of foreign national professionals in specialty occupations requiring a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in a specialty field. H-1B visas subject to the annual quota or “cap” are allocated based on a lottery system, with 65,000 visas available under the regular cap (for workers who have a Bachelor’s degree), and an additional 20,000 visas available under the master’s cap (for workers who have a U.S. Master’s or higher degree).

This year, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will implement a new electronic registration process for H-1B visas subject to the cap.  Employers seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions will need to complete an initial electronic registration and pay a $10 registration fee for each beneficiary registered. The registration filing period will run from March 1 – March 20, 2020. The registration will require basic information about the company and each worker for whom the employer wishes to file an H-1B petition.

After completion of the registration process, USCIS will conduct its random H-1B lottery selection. USCIS will notify employers of selected workers, and employers will then be eligible to file H-1B cap-subject petitions on behalf of the selected employees. It is expected that USCIS will complete the lottery and be able to notify selected petitions by the end of March. It is anticipated that employers will then have a 90-day window to file the H-1B petition with USCIS. USCIS has indicated that it will be providing specific registration instructions and additional information regarding key deadlines before the registration period begins in March.

In light of the new system and the high demand in prior years for H-1B visas (with over 201,000 H-1B cap-subject petitions filed for the available 85,000 visas last year), we recommend that you consult with an immigration attorney at Ryan Swanson to develop an appropriate filing strategy for your employees.  We will be monitoring developments closely and will be providing further updates.

Please consult with your immigration attorney at Ryan Swanson regarding any questions associated with the new H-1B cap-subject filing process.




Amy Royalty can be reached at [email protected].
Marsha Mavunkel can be reached at [email protected].
Jen Chen can be reached at [email protected].
Cody Nunn can be reached at [email protected].
Janet Cheetham can be reached at [email protected].
Joel Paget can be reached at [email protected].

This message has been released by the Immigration Group at Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC to advise of recent developments in the law. Because each situation is different, this information is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice on any specific facts and circumstances. Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC is a full-service law firm located in Seattle, Washington.

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