The H-1B registration period has now closed. USCIS will accept no further cap registrations against the FY 2022 quota.
What’s next: the cap lotteries
In the coming days, the agency will conduct two selection lotteries to pick the beneficiaries for whose behalf an H-1B cap petition can be filed. The primary lottery will contain all registered H-1B beneficiaries. USCIS will utilize this lottery to choose enough registrations to meet the regular H-1B cap of 65,000. The second lottery will contain all registered master’s-cap beneficiaries who were not selected in the first lottery. USCIS will use this second lottery to select enough registrations to meet the H-1B cap exclusion of 20,000 for holders of U.S. advanced degrees.
Lottery results notification | H-1B registration
USCIS plans to inform employers and immigration counsel of the lottery results by 31st March 2021. Also, for each cap registration, USCIS should send an email to the employer’s approved signatory and immigration counsel. The email will advise the recipient that there has been a change in the status with a cap registration. To know the lottery results, you need to access your my.USCIS.gov account and review the status.
If a beneficiary has been selected, the USCIS system will give a selection notice for the case, which should be printed out for inclusion with the H-1B cap petition to be filed for the beneficiary. The notice will give the USCIS address where the petition should be filed; this location might be different from the filing location where the employer’s petitions are usually filed.
Also, USCIS noted in its H-1B registration webinar last month that selection notices this year will also recognize whether the H-1B registration was chosen under the regular or the advanced degree quota.
Petition filing set to begin 1st April 2021
USCIS is set to start to accept H-1B cap petitions for lottery selectees on Thursday, 1st April 2021. The petition filing period will end no earlier than 90 days from that point. All FY 2022 H-1B cap petitions should be submitted during this period.
Though in most cases a cap petition can be filed at any point during the filing period. A few cases may need to be filed at particular times. If the beneficiary is an F-1 student working on optional practical training (OPT) who will require cap-gap protection. The petition should be filed before their OPT employment authorization document expires. If the beneficiary is awaiting completion or award of a required degree, the petition must not be filed until the degree has been given or the beneficiary has obtained documentation from the appropriate school official that degree requirements have been satisfied.
The adjudication period and availability of premium processing
USCIS is required to start receipting and adjudicating H-1B cap petitions as they are received during the filing period. Despite the minimum 90-day duration of the filing period. The agency is required to get countless cap petitions on or close to 1st April 2021 which could delay receipting.
USCIS has not declared whether premium processing will be suspended for FY 2022 cap petitions. Right now, premium processing is being accepted for all application types. Yet USCIS has announced service suspensions with little or no notice in prior years.
What this means for employers
Moreover, in the coming days, your organization’s H-1B registration leads should look out for emails from the USCIS registration system telling them of action taken on the organization’s registration. You and your lawyers should sign into the registration system to figure out which beneficiaries have been selected.