It’s less than a month away before the H-1B cap season starts this year. By now, you should have already finished your case evaluation for the work visa to the USA. To make sure you have all the right documents and that you won’t miss deadlines for the H1 visa application, we’ve gathered all the information you need to know about the 2021 H-1B Cap Season.
1. H-1B Visa Lottery 2021
According to the latest H-1B news, the proposed new lottery process based on H-1B salary levels will NOT be implemented this year. The USCIS announced that the final rule for the H-1B Wage Selection will be postponed until December 31, 2021 or a later date.
For the fiscal year 2022, the new lottery process implemented last year will still be used. The electronic registration process will be done through the myUSCIS portal. Registrants can also use this account to eventually check the H-1B visa status of their employee.
2. Electronic Entry
Companies that sponsor H-1B workers are allowed to submit only one H-1B registration for each employee. The prospective petitioner must create a myUSCIS account to submit an electronic entry. Each entry requires the following information:
· Employer information: name, identification number (FEIN), address
· Employer’s representative contact information
· Beneficiary information: full name, date of birth, country of birth, country of citizenship, gender, passport number, US master’s degree (if any, from an accredited, non-profit institution)
· Employer’s attorney information
The initial registration period will open on March 9, 2021 and close on March 25, 2021. Employers may submit their entries within this time frame. A $10 H-1B registration fee must be paid to complete the registration.
3. Lottery Selection
Similar to previous years, the USICS will allocate a total of 85,000 H-1B visa numbers for FY 2022. If the registrations exceed that number, a random lottery will be conducted.
The lottery is based on a random selection of Beneficiaries. 65,000 H-1B visas are available under the general cap. 20,000 visas are available under the master’s cap, applicable only to Beneficiaries with U.S. master’s degrees from an accredited, non-profit institutions.
4. Registration Application Status
Four types of registration status appear in a USCIS online account: “Submitted”, “Selected”, “Not Selected”, and “Denied”.
All properly filed entries will indicate “Submitted”. Unless denied, they will remain in this status and will be considered for selection until the end of the fiscal year.
After the lottery, the USCIS will notify registrants with selected registrations via their USCIS online accounts. The status on their account will show “Selected”, and they can proceed to file an H-1B cap-subject petition.
At the end of the year, those not picked in the lottery will indicate a “Not Selected” status. This puts them in reserve and allows them to be considered if the USCIS increases the caps.
If a registrant submits more than one registration for a single Beneficiary, all those registrations will be “Denied”. They will be rendered invalid for that fiscal year.
5. Filing of Petitions
All selected registrations will receive electronic notifications from USCIS by March 31, 2021. The registrants will have 90 days to file a complete H-1B application. Their H-1B application deadline 2021 will be specified on the H-1B cap selection notification. They would need to provide evidence of the random selection and all forms and supporting documents, including an LCA and all applicable H-1B and filing fees.
6. Second Round Lottery
The USCIS conducts another lottery later in the year to allocate any unused H-1B visa numbers. Selected registrations will receive notices marked with “Selection of Reserve Registration”.
8. Dates to Remember for 2021 H-1B Visa Applications
· March 9 (noon, EST): Opening of H-1B registration process
· March 25 (noon, EST): Closing of H-1B registration process
· March 31: Date by which USCIS intends to finish sending all notifications for registrants selected in the lottery
· April 1: Start of filing for FY2022 H-1B cap subject petitions
7. FAQs on H-1B
- Q: What is H-1B lottery?
- A: The H-1B lottery is the initial step in the application process for an H-1B visa. It was implemented to expedite the processing of H-1B visa applications for specialty occupations. Instead of going over a hundred thousand H-1B petitions, the USCIS narrows this number by conducting a random lottery from electronic registrations. Only 85,000 selected Beneficiaries, combined in master’s and regular cap, can submit the complete H-1B petition package.
- Q: How does the H-1B lottery work?
- A: The lottery is based on a random selection. The USCIS allocates only 85,000 H-1B visa numbers in total. 65,000 visias are selected from all cap cases submitted to fill the general cap, and 20,000 registrations are chosen under the master’s cap, applicable only to Beneficiaries with U.S. master’s degrees from an accredited, non-profit institutions.
- Q: When will H-1B lottery results be out?
- A: H-1B lottery results for the fiscal year 2022 will be released before the March 31, 2021. Some registrants will receive an email from the USCIS notifying them of an action taken on their case. Selected or denied registrations will be marked as such on the USCIS account.
- Q: How to check H-1B lottery results 2021?
- A: Registrants or their attorneys can login to their USCIS online accounts to check the status of their registrations. The dashboard will indicate one of the following status: “Submitted”, “Selected”, “Not Selected”, “Denied”.
- Q: How can an Beneficiary know if their H-1B is selected in lottery?
- A: To know if your H-1B registration was selected in the lottery, ask your employer or attorney to log in to their USCIS account and check the status of your registration. The status will indicate “Selected” if you have been picked.
- Q: H-1B picked in lottery what next?
- A: Once a registration is marked as selected, a “View Notice” link will appear on the registrant’s USCIS dashboard. Click on this link to print the H-1B registration notification notice and the I-797 form. Then prepare all other necessary documents to submit the complete H-1B cap petition during the filing window specified.
Ensuring complete documentation, proper filing, and payment fees can be daunting. To be approved for an H-1B visa, you must make sure that all required documents are filled out properly and filed on time. There are also new regulations that might be confusing for those not familiar with immigration law. So it’s always best to work with an immigration attorney who can assess your situation and ensure that your petition is filed properly.
Consult with an H-1B visa lawyer who has extensive knowledge of immigration laws, particularly in business and employment immigration. At Ramchand & Raval, our immgration lawyers have the expertise guide you through the H-1B process.
Get professional advice. Schedule a consultation with an H-1B visa lawyer now.