H1B visa 2020 visa application new rules

On January 11th, 2020, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services released some set of the latest news regarding the H1B Visa category for the 2021 season. First, it was a press release on its website, and secondly, a notice in the Federal Register, both altogether stipulating the H1B registration dates, processing or procedure, and fees.

So, if you’ve perhaps been unlucky in your application last year and look on to trying your luck in the new year, you should be armed with this info to ensure proper and adequate preparation.

They say the devil is in the details, so let’s dive right into it!

Now, we should bring to your notice that H1B visa policies –including application, processing, etc. – have witnessed some dramatic changes since the inception of the Donald Trump administration. These changes are fuelled by the numerous executive orders on Buy American, Hire American, which has all brought more scrutiny to H1B petitions or applications, and activities of H1B employers. Here are the much-awaited changes in the new rule:

H1B Registration Period dates

H1B applicants can start rolling in their visa applicants from March 1st up until March 20th of the year 2020. However, where the USCIS feels there’s a need to extend or re-open the registration period for any reason, it has the discretion to do so –while publicly announcing the start and end date of such re-opening or extension on its website.

H1B Registration Fee

Overall H1B visa petition fees vary between USD 1,720 to USD 7,910 plus the immigration attorney fee. Here’s the breakdown:

H1B Fees. Amount (USD).
H1B Registration Fee $10
Immigration Attorney Fee Varies from $500 to $3000
Base filing fee $460
Fee-based on Public Law 114-113 (if applicable) $4000
Fraud prevent & detection fee $500
Premium processing fee (Optional) $1,440 ( from Dec 2, 2019)
AICWA Fee $750  or $1,500

H1B Registrations Lottery, Results

The office of the USCIS has indicated in the H1B visa petition 2021 rule that if it receives H1B registrations that are more than the stipulated regular cap of 65,000 and 20,000 for masters cap, it will conduct H1B visa lottery. Good news, right?

Also, employers/attorneys of such H1B applicants or petitioners will be notified of the results of such an H1B visa lottery no later than March 31st, meaning that a lottery applicant would know his fate by the end of March.

H1B Petition Validity

The United States Customs and Immigration Service has declared that it would not take H1B cap-subject petitions into account unless such are filed based on the details of the applicant selected during the visa registration/lottery.

Outreach Activities

In 2021, the USCIS sets to do more outreach activities before the commencement of the H1B registration period. Such outreach activities include webinars, the publication of videos to enlighten and familiarize attorneys as well as general users on the new H1B petition system.

The invalidity of Duplicate H1B Registration

The new rules restrict registration to one entry per person. In a case where an employer submits more than one entry for an employee, all the entries submitted by that employer is deemed invalid.

Step-By-Step Guide of the H1B Registration Process

Below are the necessary steps needed to follow for H1B registration.

  • Step 1: Employers/Attorneys or other authorized representatives register and create new accounts on the USCIS website
  • Step 2: Attorneys/Employers use the new accounts to electronically submit separate registration documents for each employee(s) that they plan to sponsor for H1B.
  • Step 3: Employees/Attorneys pay the respective fees in line with the quantity of registration filed
  • Step 4: In case more H1B registrations are received than the requisite B1B cap quota during registration, random lottery/selection is conducted by the USCIS to select the required cap quantity of petitions
  • Step 5: USCIS notifies employers/attorneys about applicants they’ve selected in the H1B registration process/lottery
  • Step 6: Employers/attorneys whose registrations were selected would then go on to file a full FY 2021 H1B cap-subject petition with the USCIUS, within the filling period.
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  • February 2nd, 2020
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