h1b visa 2021 registration process dates deadline lottery timeline registration

H1B Visa 2021 season starts on March 1, 2020 (not April 1, 2020).

This H1B 2021 season is going to be a bumpy ride!

New lottery registration process = Unanswered questions and Scenarios.

I will be hosting a couple of webinars with Immigration Attorneys to talk about this H1B lottery registration and H1B 2021 cap season in general. Register Here for the Webinar.

H1B Visa 2021 Lottery Timeline

Here is the simple timeline of the H1B Visa 2021 lottery and registration process.

h1b visa 2021 lottery registration process

H1B Visa season starts in March (as opposed to April) as the previous years.

Background on H1B Registration

  • On Jan 31, 2019, DHS published a final rule requiring H1B applicants to register electronically.
  • DHS suspends H1B Visa Registration for H1B Visa 2020 season.
  • USCIS requires time to develop, implement, test the new H1b Registration system
  • USCIS has now completed testing and implementation for H1B Visa 2021 fiscal year (starting Oct 2020)
  • On Nov 8, 2019 – DHS published a rule to implement $10 registration fee
  • The registration fee will cover the cost to manage and maintain the New H1B 2021 registration system

Participate in H1B Visa 2021 Registration

  • Before the employer can file an H-1B Cap subject application with USCIS, H1B Visa electronic registration is required.
  • Note electronic H1B 2021 registration applies only for Cap-Subject petitions and not for Cap-exempt H1B.
  • Only petitions that are registered and notified will be eligible to apply for processing.

When to Register for H1B Visa Lottery?

  • The initial H1B Visa 2021 registration period will start on March 1, 2020.
  • USCIS intends to close the Registration period on March 20, 2020.
  • If insufficient H1B Visa 2021 registration is received, then the final registration period will be announced later (this is less likely to happen)
  • USCIS may also open the registration period if required (USCIS to publish start date and end date then).

How to Register for H1B Visa Petition for 2021

  • Only the Employer and authorized representatives can register
  • The registration system allows bulk registration (watch the demo here).
  • A petitioner may only submit one registration per beneficiary in any fiscal year.

To dive deeper, refer to the following articles

H1B Visa Registration Selection

USCIS will send notices electronically to all registrants with selected registrations that they are eligible to file an H-1B cap-subject petition on behalf of the individual named in the notice within the filing period indicated on the notice. (Source – Registration Requirement for H1B Petition from Federal Register)

  • Employer or authorized representative will receive a notification via email or text message.
  • H1B Visa Lottery Registration selection to be posted inside the portal.
  • Portal can be accessed only the Employer or Authorized Representative (aka account creator)
  • USCIS intends to notify H1B Visa 2021 lottery results no later than March 31, 2020

Questions about H1B Visa 2021 Lottery Process

There’s a lot of unanswered questions about the H1B Visa Registration system and the lottery process.

I asked the community about what questions do they have about this new H-1B Visa 2021 process, and here are some interesting questions.

Plus, you will also find answers (more like my opinions and thoughts than facts).

Register Here to for H1B Visas New Process Webinar.

Q1. Say from 190,000 candidates 85,000 gets picked. What if among those 85000, 40%-50% of people are from Bodyshop consultancies who will eventually get rejected. Now, it creates a void. My question is: will they do a primary screening before the lottery?

If you look at the Registration Tool and fields required, there are no preliminary screening of applicants. And based on published H1B Visa statistics from USCIS, we know that USCIS selects about 15% more applications than the available quota.

h1b visa statistics 2013 to 2017

On average, USCIS selects 97,198 H-1B visa petitions via random lottery.

Available H1B Visa quota is 65,000 for regular cap and 20,000 for advanced degree cap for a total of quota of 85,000.

USCIS have selected additional 12,198 petitions (about 15%) reserve H1B petitions. 

But, we don’t know how the additional petitions are used. But, just knowing that USCIS selects 15% reserve petitions is excellent news!

Q2. Multiple applications for only one person seems unfair to people who work a full-time job at one company location as chances of getting picked gets lower. Do they have any rules to stop this?

Here are the actual words from USCIS about duplicate H1B Visa filings.

USCIS will send notices electronically to all registrants with selected registrations that they are eligible to file an H-1B cap-subject petition on behalf of the individual named in the notice within the filing period indicated on the notice.

USCIS does not limit multiple H1B Visa petitions from different employer.

So, I have to assume that an applicant can apply through multiple employers to increase the odds of registration selection.

Q3. Do we need any documents to upload with the electronic form, which starts in March? And what could be there in the registration tool to fill?

There are no documents required to be uploaded during H1B Visa 2021 registration.

USCIS collects only personal information about the applicant and employer.

Then payment of $10 per applicant. Could also pay in bulk.

Q4. I work for a non-profit company. I wanted to know if I can file my cap-subject H1B Visa by adding an employer layer (consultancy) to my company?

You should have this conversation with an Immigration Attorney.

They know more about your employment and work nature to give you a suggestion.

And also, refer to the Q2.

Q5. Do I need my physical EAD while applying for H1-B, or can I apply for H1B 2021 with a STEM OPT extension receipt? Because I am going to apply for the STEM OPT extension, and I might not get EAD until mid-April.

To qualify for an Advanced Degree cap, the applicant should have earned a Masters Degree or higher from U.S. colleges and universities.

Your immigration attorney will send a checklist of documents to apply for H1B Visa.

If USCIS hasn’t processed your STEM OPT application, you will not have EAD Card, but you would have your initial OPT Card. In that instance, you will send what you have. That shouldn’t prevent you from applying for H1B Visa.

Q6. Can a person apply for H1B with two different employers at the same time, I mean the fiscal year H1B 2021? If yes, how?

It looks like this person wants to apply for H1B Visa via multiple employers 🙂

Refer to the answer to Q2.

Q7. I work at the client location. Is it possible for my client, employer, and vendor to apply for H1B Visa for the same role?

Someone recently asked this question. It is a tricky situation, and you are possibly trying to increase the odds of H1B lottery selection.

You should talk with three immigration attorney in this instance.

They have to tell you if this is possible.

Maybe, you do not want to disclose that the client is planning to hire you to your Vendor or Employer.

Then you could consult an Immigration Attorney here.

Q8. What is the H1B Filing deadline, will there be any selection/rejection of all applications get into the lottery directly? When will we hear back if my application got picked up or not? It does not cost anything (or a very little) to apply for the online-process? Only after the selection, the cost comes in?

That’s like four questions in one.

  1. The initial H1B Visa 2021 registration period opens on March 1, 2020, and maybe stay open till March 20, 2020
  2. No initial screening of application as far I can tell.
  3. Results should be notified no later than March 31, 2020
  4. $10 per applicant to register
  5. Other USCIS fees for H1b Visa application and Attorney cost will come into play after lottery selection.

Q9. Will the low fee of registration inflate the number of filings, reducing the chances of everyone?

Hear me out here.

I think the number of applications is going to skyrocket.

My gut feeling tells that we may even see half-a-million entries!

The random lottery is a 100% numbers game.

Let’s say 100 entries to pick two winners. One person has entered 99 times. What are the odds of that person winning? 100%

The same goes for H1B Visa lottery selection.

I think this registration process will favor the IT Services company.

Take Infosys or CTS; they have the cash and employee resources to pretty much send in 50,000 entries each!

But, they will mostly compete in the Regular Cap.

Q10. Can we travel after or during the initial registration period?

I don’t know the answer, and USCIS would probably issue an FAQ about this process.

Plus, you should ask your attorney.

Q11. Will we need an attorney for the registration process? Does the company need to be e-verified at the registration process?

E-verification is not required to apply for H1B (as far I know).

Only the Employer or Authorized representative can register.

Don’t get smart and think you could directly register!

Q12. If picked, should you be applying for STEM OPT? As you will probably know the result by March with initial OPT expiring end of May.

STEM OPT is a one-time opportunity. There’s no harm in applying STEM OPT, even if H1B is picked in the lottery.

Selection is Lottery doesn’t mean you will get approval.

I would personally apply for STEM OPT before the initial OPT expires, irrespective of H1B Lottery selection results.

Let’s do a simple math here:

You are probably trying to save the STEM OPT application fee.

You get selected in the lottery, and later H1B is denied.

I’m sure you would look for Day 1 CPT university.

And that would cost you say $15,000 to $25,000.

So, do the math – $410 vs $25,000!

Q13. Will people with Bachelor’s degrees still have some chance? I have this feeling that a significant reason to make this process online is to filter out applications with an undergraduate degree and give H1B to masters only (without mentioning it).

Folks with just Bachelor’s Degree can apply only under the General H1B Quota of 65,000.

And, if my prediction (or gut feel) is right, there could say 400,000 entries under Regular Cap.

The odds of lottery selection is 65,000/400,000 = 16%

Plus, your assumption that the system will filter out is incorrect.

Masters Degree student have separate quota for 20,000.

Q14. Is there going to be a premium process this year? Since the process starts with simple registration online with a very nominal fee, are there going to be more duplications compared to last year?

USCIS should answer questions about Premium Processing. Noone can guess this 🙂

Q15: I wonder if the number of applications would go up since the companies who used to pay and file for only $10 of their say 35 employees will now file for all 35 and pay for the 20 that are picked up. Also curious to know if the attorney fees for H1B would go up as the number of applications they put together is halved. (From 190k to 85k picked up)

Immigration Attorney’s business will have a massive impact.

Attorney now will not be able to chare say $2000 to apply for Registration.

I don’t know how much they will charge jut to register.

But, this process is saving a ton of money for employers, but a significant loss for Immigration Attorney.

I’m not sure if the attorneys will increase the fee to compensate for the loss of business.

 

As you see, H1B Visa applicants have a ton of questions, and I do have similar issues and desperately searching for answers.

 

Even an Immigration attorney I was chatting with, did not have the answers because some of the answers should come from the USCIS.

  1. Can someone travel after a lottery selection & before application?
  2. What happens to Cap-Gap OPT if not selected in the lottery?
  3. What happens if an employer doesn’t send the petition?
  4. Does the 90-day rule apply for F1 to H1B process?
  5. Can an IT consultant find a new project after a lottery selection?
  6. What if the employee quits the job after lottery selection and before application?

And the list of questions goes on and on.

In the past H1B Visa lottery season, applicants would have sleepless nights until they receive the receipt number. Some of them move on with life as April becomes June and July.

With H1B Visa 2021 season, results will be announced by March 31, 2020.

From the previous year’s data, we know that USCIS selects about 10% to 15% reserve petitions.

USCIS also stated that they would learn from this year’s process and decide how many reserves to be selected from the lottery process through this new H1B Visa registration system.

Important Dates – H1B Visa 2021

Here’s what we know to date about this H1B 2021 lottery season.

  • Submit Registration – March 1 to 20, 2020
  • H1B Visa Lottery Results – March 31, 2020
  • Submit the Petition – Within 90 Days after H1B 2021 Lottery results

Related Articles:

Next Steps:

  1. Got questions? Please post in the comment below.
  2. Like what you read? Please share with your WhatApp Groups and Facebook Friends.

24 Comments

  1. Srikanth on May 9, 2020 at 5:32 PM

    Hi Raghu,

    On selection of lottery, we can submit documents by June 30th. When can we expect approval? say if some one submits his/her application mid of 15th April few in May and others in June. Would USCIS will collect all and process them only after June 30th?

    Regards
    Srikanth

    • Raghuram Sukumar on May 15, 2020 at 10:17 AM

      Applicants are already getting approvals – In less than 3 weeks processing.

  2. max092012 on April 6, 2020 at 1:53 AM

    I have got selected in the H-1B registration 2020-21 and the form says to send the petition to Vermont service center , hence I would like to understand whether this is the center where my petition would get processed?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on April 7, 2020 at 11:58 AM

      That’s correct. USCIS may transfer to balance the workload.

  3. Subhash on March 31, 2020 at 5:33 PM

    Hello,

    My employer checked my status today around 2pm and it still shows submitted. Can I have any hopes that it might change till midnight? Or it is that final selected registrants are already confirmed and I just need to wait till end of fiscal year to see if I have any more luck. Please help me understand. Thank you.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on April 1, 2020 at 7:12 AM

      You will be in waiting mode until end of FY 2021 (Sep 2021). Sorry to hear that you’re not selected yet!

  4. Hartney on March 27, 2020 at 6:57 AM

    Will the selection on the 31st be postponed due to coronavirus or what?

  5. Anil on March 26, 2020 at 10:40 AM

    How would i know that my employer/attorney has registered for me for H1b -2021 electronically ? is there any unique number assigned or what source of detail given to a petitioner that you application has been submitted and here is the proof?

  6. R.Rao on March 10, 2020 at 4:06 PM

    How would i know that my employer/attorney has registered for me for H1b -2021 electronically ? is there any unique number assigned or what source of detail given to a petitioner that you application has been submitted and here is the proof ?

  7. vidhya keerthi Tirumalaraju on February 20, 2020 at 12:05 PM

    Hello Raghu,
    Thanks for answering all the questions. Please let me know when would the final results (not the initial registration lottery on March 31) of the lottery be out?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on February 20, 2020 at 10:00 PM

      That should follow regular pattern – premium and regular process.

      • GM on February 26, 2020 at 10:36 AM

        What is the difference between initial lottery and final lottery please for understanding ?

  8. MN on February 10, 2020 at 9:46 PM

    Hi,

    Thanks Raghu for sharing the updates.
    I have a question, I need to travel to India in April 2020 and will be back in may first week due to urgent work. My employer is planning to file H1b for this year with registration within March 1st to March 20th under change of status.
    In that case will it ok to travel outside India on let’s say 26th April and come back on May 5th since for registration there is no I-94 required. and if it will get picked up in lottery, Can file petition after May 5th with updated I-94 as USCIS has given 90 days window for filing petitions.
    Can there be any negative effect on the case because of this travel if selected ?

    Thanks in Advance for your time and support.

    Regards,
    MN

    • Raghuram Sukumar on February 16, 2020 at 12:01 PM

      Refer to the Webinars I did with Attorneys.

  9. SN on January 27, 2020 at 1:31 PM

    Hello, Please help me with my situation:
    I have cap exempt h1b valid until 2023 with my I-140 approved. I currently work for a non profit employer and wish to move to a for profit employer. I understand I would have to go through lottery. My questions are:
    1. Can I start working on receipt notice for the for-profit employer?
    2. If I get picked up in lottery and petition is processed say sometime in June 2020, can I still continue to work between June 2020 till Oct 1 and onwards? Or do I have to leave the country and reenter On or after Oct 1 2020?
    3. If I dont get picked up in lottery, do I still have my cap exempt h1b and I-140 valid and can resume my employment with not-for-profit employer? or would I have to leave the country and re-enter with a new H1B cap exempt visa with a not-for-profit employer?
    4. If I do get picked up in lottery but somehow petition doesnt get approved, can I still use my cap exempt h1b?
    5. If I want to play absolutely safe and wait for cap subject H1b to be approved, can I join the new for-profit employer as soon as H1b is approved or do I have to wait until Oct 1 2020?
    Thank so much for your insights in advance!

    • Raghuram Sukumar on January 28, 2020 at 11:28 AM

      There is a way you can work for For-Profit Employer. It’s better if you talk to an attorney to sort this out.

  10. Lorena Jimenez on January 27, 2020 at 11:20 AM

    Can you provide the link to the webinar?

  11. Mounik on January 23, 2020 at 9:09 PM

    If i apply for the March registration process and we give the passport and address details here address details as living at the current client location and later if i get selected in the lottery by the time i send the documents if i get the job at new client and my address gets changed what should i have to do in this case? Will that affect the process or i can just update the address?

  12. Raman on January 23, 2020 at 6:01 PM

    Are there any updates to Q10? Can we travel internationally during the registration period ie) btw March 1 to March 20th?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on January 24, 2020 at 12:11 PM

      I will be hosting a webinar on 28th with an Attorney., Please attend to learn about travel.

      • svurraku on March 2, 2020 at 3:39 AM

        i missed this webinar and can’t access it anymore, is it ok to travel abroad in March but return to the US before March 20th?

  13. Karan on January 18, 2020 at 11:35 AM

    My student visa is ending in June 2020, if my employer files for H1 in March what options do I have to legally stay in the county ? How can I continue working?

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