Employers of H-1B Visa applicants will need to register electronically before proceeding with any other step to apply for a H-1B visa in the 2021 Cap Season, after the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that they have completed a successful pilot testing phase of the electronic registration process, thus implementing it in the next H-1B lottery.

According to a press release of the USCIS, at the end of the electronic registration, applicants will also need to pay a registration H-1B visa fee of $10.

Employers seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions for the fiscal year 2021 cap, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption, must first electronically register and pay the associated $10 H-1B registration fee,” the press release reads.

The H1B visa is a non-immigrant US work visa that enables foreigners to work in the US in specific job positions such as professors, doctors, lawyers, engineers, IT specialists and similar.  The visa is also called Person in Specialty Occupation Visa because applicants are required to have at least a bachelor’s degree, and a job contract with an employer in the US.

The electronic registration is being introduced in a bid to dramatically streamline processing by reducing paperwork and data exchange, while at the same time providing an overall cost savings to petitioning employers.

According to the USCIS Deputy Director Mark Koumans, by streamlining the H-1B cap selection process with the new electronic registration system, USCIS is creating cost savings and efficiencies for petitioners and the agency, as only those selected will be required to submit a full petition.

The agency completed a successful pilot testing phase, which included sessions with industry representatives, and implementation of the registration system will further the goal of modernizing USCIS from a paper-based to an online-filing agency,” Deputy Director Koumans estimates.

Now, under the new process which will be applied in the initial registration period from March 1 through March 20, 2020, employers seeking H-1B workers subject to the cap will complete a registration process which asks them only about their basic information and on their company, as well as for each requested worker.

Then, only those selected will be eligible to file H-1B cap-subject petitions.

The USCIS intends to facilitate the application procedures for both petitioners and USCIS employees. In the following days, it will post a step-by-step guide on how to complete the registration procedures alongside with the dates and timelines of the initial registration period.

The H-1B registration requirement in the final rule has first been published by the US Department of Homeland Security on January 31, which then became effective on April 1, 2019.

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