Preparing for the FY2021 H-1B Cap Season

Preparing for the FY2021 H-1B Cap Season


Recruiters and managers should be prepared to answer questions about the new H-1B cap registration process. With this seemingly easier process, which initially requires only a $10 registration fee and minimal information, companies should consider the following:

•One registration per beneficiary per company: Duplicate registrations are prohibited. If a company submits more than one registration per beneficiary, all registrations filed by that company for that beneficiary will be considered invalid.

•Companies should not wait for selection results to file a Labor Condition Application (LCA): To avoid potential case processing delays due to Department of Labor system overload, the LCA should be filed as soon as possible.

•Heavy demand expected, chances of being selected in H-1B lottery will likely be lower: Last fiscal year the USCIS received approximately 200,000 H-1B petitions for 85,000 available visa numbers. Under previous rules, employers had to prepare the entire petition and front over $3,000 in USCIS filing fees. The new H-1B registration and lottery process requires a $10 registration fee and minimal information, therefore making it easier to attempt to obtain an H-1B visa.    

—Consider filing an H-1B cap case for potential hires and current employees in other nonimmigrant visa status (e.g., Trade NAFTA (TN), L-1B), especially for those whose final nonimmigrant time in the United States maxes out in the next three years.

—Determine whether other visa options exist for employees who need sponsorship.

•H-1B cap-gap benefits attach upon filing of the H-1B cap petition: Cap gap does not attach upon filing the registration. 

•USCIS registration account: Work with counsel to create an account and establish who at the company controls and has access to the company’s account.

Registration / Lottery Overview 

•Initial registration period: March 1 – March 20, 2020.

—$10 government registration fee. Case feasibility and preparation of LCA will entail legal fees.

•USCIS to select registrants no later than March 31, 2020.

—Random selection process on electronic registrations.

—Selected? Employer has 90-day window to complete and file the H-1B petition on behalf of the beneficiary.


—Oct. 1, 2020, is the earliest start date.

—Beneficiary must possess at least a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent by the time of filing the H-1B petition, not registration.

Information Required to Initiate an FY2021 H-1B Cap Case

•Proposed job description, including minimum requirements.

•Proposed work location (complete address).

•Proposed salary.

•Applicant’s CV and immigration documents.

•Company information: legal name, EIN, company address, and authorized signatory’s name/title/contact info.

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