USCIS Confirms Implementation of Electronic Registration System for Upcoming H-1B Cap Season

December 09, 2019

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on December 6 that it completed testing of the new electronic registration system, and will be implementing the system in the upcoming fiscal year 2021 H-1B cap filing season.

Under the new system, employers will submit a registration for each foreign national for whom they seek H-1B authorization. Each registration will require the submission of basic information, which may include, but is not limited to, (1) the employer’s name, employer identification number (EIN), and mailing address; (2) the employer’s authorized representative’s name, job title, and contact information; (3) the beneficiary’s full name, date of birth, country of birth, country of citizenship, gender, and passport number; (4) whether the beneficiary has obtained a master’s or higher degree from a US institution of higher education; and (5) the employer’s attorney or accredited representative, if applicable. Only one registration will be permitted per beneficiary per employer, and no substitution of beneficiaries will be allowed. Each registration will also require the payment of a $10 registration fee.

The initial registration period will be open from March 1 through 20, 2020. If the required number of registrations is received at the end of this period, the registration period will close and the agency will conduct the random selection process. As a result, employers will need to finalize their list of foreign nationals for whom H-1B petitions will be filed earlier than in preceding years. Registrations for any subsequently identified foreign nationals will need to be submitted during the fiscal year 2022 registration period.

Upon completion of the lottery, USCIS will individually notify all petitioners with selected registrations, and only those with selected registrations will be eligible to file an H-1B petition for the fiscal year 2021 cap. USCIS is proposing to provide a petition-filing period of at least 60 days to each selected registrant, with the earliest filing date likely remaining as April 1.

In the unlikely event that an insufficient number of registrations is received during the original registration period, USCIS will announce that all registrations on reserve will be selected and that the registration period will remain open. When the agency determines that it has finally reached the requisite number of registrations, it will announce this on its website, and, if necessary, conduct a lottery among the additional registrations received during this added period.

USCIS has committed to providing key dates and timelines as we approach the start of the registration period on March 1. The Morgan Lewis immigration team will monitor closely and provide updates as they become available. In the meantime, we continue to encourage H1B petitioners to identify potential H1B beneficiaries and confirm case viability well in advance of the registration period.


If you have any questions or would like more information on the issues discussed in this alert, please contact any of the following Morgan Lewis lawyers:

Washington, DC
Shannon A. Donnelly
Eleanor Pelta
Eric S. Bord

Laura C. Garvin 

For additional government-related guidance, learn more about our Washington strategic government relations and counseling practice.