Ground-Breaking Proposed H-1B Electronic Registration System for H-1B Visa Cap Petitions

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Ground-Breaking Proposed H-1B Electronic Registration System for H-1B Visa Cap Petitions

The ground-breaking H-1B Electronic Registration System is finally being proposed for implementation for H-1B petitions that are subject to the statutory annual visa cap, after lengthy discussions.

An H-1B petition is a temporary work visa for specialty occupation foreign nationals to live and work in the U.S. Many H-1B foreign nationals have successfully gone on to apply for and obtaining green card status.  Annually, there are 65,000 H-1B visa numbers; and an additional 20,000 H-1B cap-exempt petitions under the advanced degree exemption which applies to an H-1B beneficiary who has successfully obtained a U.S. Master’s degree or higher.  Not all H-1B petitions are subject to the annual visa cap, depending on the types of H-1B petition being filed, and the types of entity-sponsor.  For examples, foreign nationals who already have approved H-1B petitions or H-1B status, or H-1B petitions filed by certain types of employers, are exempt from the annual visa cap.

The H-1B Electronic Registration System serves to reduce costs and increase efficiency, to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and potential H-1B employers, in the pre-and initial filing stages of H-1B cap petitions (including the online stage of labor condition applications to the U.S. Department of Labor).

Once implemented, the H-1B Electronic Registration System would allow employers interested in filing H-1B petitions subject to the statutory visa cap to register electronically with the USCIS.  The estimated time to complete the registration of an H-1B in this System is 30 minutes. Using this H-1B Electronic Registration System, the USCIS would select the number of registrations predicted to exhaust all available visas before the petition filing period begins (filing period for H-1B cap petitions starts on April 1 each year, until the H-1B visa numbers are exhausted – the requested employment start-date for the H-1B cap petition would be no earlier than October 1 in the same year).  The employers would then file their petitions only for the registered H-1B cap petitions that have been selected for visa numbers.

Under the proposed H-1B Electronic Registration System, petitioners would have 60 or more days from the date of notification of selection (“selection notice”) to properly file (i.e. send the H-1B package to the USCIS) a completed H-1B petition for the named beneficiary. USCIS would state the applicable filing deadline in each selection notice.  The USCIS would reject a selected H-1B petition (and return the associated filing fees) that is filed outside the stipulated filing deadline on the selection notice.

Potential H-1B cap candidates who are not selected in a given annual visa cap have the options to have their H-1B cap petitions submitted to the USCIS in the next fiscal year.  The H-1B visa cap fiscal year starts on October 1 each year, and the H-1B cap petitions filing period begins on April 1 each year.   In addition, non-selected H-1B cap candidates can consider other immigration options such as eligibility for self-petition green cards.

By Aik Wan Kok Fillali, Attorney at Law, at Tiya PLC; Tel: 703-772-8224 ; ; .

We represent employers, and individuals and their families in green card, work visa and waiver matters in U.S. immigration law.

All Rights Reserved. This article is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be relied on as a legal advice or an attorney-client relationship.



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