H-1B Cap Lottery Registration FY 2022
Cap registration opens March 9, 2021
USCIS has announced that sponsoring employers may submit registrations for the FY 2022 H-1B cap between noon EST on March 9, 2021, and noon EST on March 25, 2021. As in prior years, USCIS will use a random computerized lottery to select the registrations for which an H-1B cap petition may be submitted. The agency announced on February 4th that it will delay (until 12/31/2021) implementation of a Trump Administration regulation that would have allocated H-1B cap numbers to beneficiaries paid the highest wage level for their occupation and geographic area.
For only the second time, USCIS will use an online registration system to conduct the H-1B cap selection. Employer sponsors must have a myUSCIS account for each Employer Identification Number (EIN) entity that will sponsor employees for the FY 2022 H-1B cap season. Accounts must be maintained by an employee authorized to sign immigration benefit requests for the employer. More than one authorized signatory is permitted, but each signatory must have a separate account.
Please note that as of February 9th, USCIS has not yet enabled the creation of Employer “Registrant” accounts for the FY 2022 H-1B cap season. Employers should wait until this function is enabled. Creating the wrong account type will block the user’s email address from creating a registrant account at a later date.
It appears that employer accounts created last year can continue to be used for this year’s registration period. We wait further guidance and confirmation from USCIS.
USCIS will open the cap registration period on Tuesday, March 9, 2021 at noon EST. Employers and their immigration counsel can begin to draft and submit cap registrations at this time. The USCIS system will not accept drafts or registrations before March 9.
Employers will be able to include up to 250 beneficiaries in a single registration submission. There is no limit on the number of registrations an employer can submit. Between March 9 and March 25, 2021, employers and their counsel will need to draft, review and sign each registration submission. Once ILG counsel has drafted a registration, the USCIS system will generate a passcode that your organization will use to review, approve and electronically sign the registration. If your organization approves the registration, your ILG counsel will sign it electronically, submit it, and pay the registration fee of $10 per beneficiary.
As usual, USCIS is expected to receive far more H-1B cap registrations than needed to meet the annual quota of 85,000. USCIS will conduct two lotteries to select enough beneficiaries to meet the 85,000 annual cap. The first lottery will include all registered beneficiaries and will select enough registrations to meet the regular cap of 65,000. The second lottery would include registered U.S. advanced-degree holders who were not chosen in the first lottery, and would select enough registrations to meet the advanced-degree cap exemption of 20,000.
As with last year, USCIS plans to notify employers and immigration counsel of winning registrations by March 31, 2021. Employers and counsel will receive USCIS emails notifying them that the status of their registration(s) has changed; they will then need to log into the USCIS system to see the selection status of each registered beneficiary.
For each winning beneficiary, USCIS will provide a selection notice that must be printed out and submitted with the I-129 petition filed for the employee. The selection notice is valid for the named beneficiary only.
For cap registration (March 9-25), employers should gather beneficiary data as soon as possible. For each beneficiary, the employer must provide the following:
full legal name;
date of birth;
country of birth;
country of citizenship;
passport number, if any; and
whether the beneficiary is eligible for the U.S. advanced-degree cap, or will be eligible for the advanced-degree cap at the time an H-1B cap petition is filed on the beneficiary’s behalf.
90 day petition filing period
USCIS will begin to accept cap petitions for selected beneficiaries on April 1, 2021. The petition filing period will close no earlier than June 30, 2021. Employers can file their petitions at any time during the filing period, but some cases might need to be filed early in the period (F-1 OPT expiring, Cap Gap).
Employers should begin working with your ILG team to begin to gather supporting documentation and information required for H-1B cap petitions. Early preparation can greatly reduce the risk of delay during the busy registration and petition filing periods.