Update on 2021/2022 H-1B Cap Season
At long last, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued an update on this year’s cap season. With the reassuring news that the selection process will remain unchanged for at least one more year, employers who wish to register for an opportunity to obtain an H-1B visa under the 2021/22 annual quota (or cap) will be able to begin registering on March 9, 2021. If you are interested in sponsoring H-1B nonimmigrant visa status for a current or future employee, please contact us right away so we can ensure that you are prepared for the upcoming cap season, which will close at noon ET on March 25, 2021. USCIS has confirmed that if it receives enough registrations by March 25, 2021, it will select registrations randomly and send selection notifications by March 31, 2021.
As a reminder, there are a limited number of H-1B visas available each fiscal year under federal regulation, with each year’s quota becoming available April 1 for employment commencing October 1. Last winter, the USCIS implemented a new online lottery registration requirement for the 2020-2021 H-1B cap season. The purpose of the new registration system was to allow the USCIS to select those who will receive H-1B visas under the annual cap using only basic employer and employee/beneficiary information for each potential H-1B beneficiary, rather than requiring full petition filings. Employers seeking to file H-1B cap cases were required to register online in late February in order to enter the H-1B lottery by establishing an account in the myUSCIS system that was later tied to a registration account, which could be created and maintained by legal counsel. Registrations were accepted with a $10 non-refundable registration fee until March 20, 2020; and, the USCIS ran an electronic selection process on all submitted registrations (the “lottery”) soon thereafter. A second selection process took place in August.
The portal required to create an H-1B cap account with the USCIS is anticipated to open at any time; and, we are working with our clients to be prepared for March 9, 2021.