This year, H-1B cap season is a little busier than usual. That’s because for the first time ever, USCIS will run an electronic lottery through a new online registration portal. This means that both immigration lawyers and employers must, to some extent, get acquainted with and learn an entirely new government-run technology portal and then implement a process around it.
As a quick summary, here are some important points about the registration process per USCIS:
- The registration period will be open Sunday, March 1 @ 12 PM EST and concludes Friday March 20, 2020 @ 12 Pm EST.
- During this timeframe, H-1B cap-subject petitioners will be required to register electronically with USCIS and pay an associated $10 fee for each beneficiary submitted.
- Prospective petitioners will then have to electronically submit a separate registration for each desired H-1B cap-subject petition.
- If more than a sufficient number of registrations are received, USCIS will randomly select as many registrations as needed to reach the FY 2021 H-1B cap.
- Petitioners with selected registrations will then be able to submit full H-1B visa petitions.
- The actual submission period will begin on April 1, 2020 and will last 90 days, through June 30, 2020.
We know that law firms and their clients have been strategizing different approaches to this new H-1B registration process, which is why the INSZoom team responded to these changes quickly, building out a process of our own.
INSZoom responded quickly to the new H-1B registration system
Since this is the first year of the new H-1B registration system, we, just like you all, are learning as we go. But building technology is in our blood, so in response to USCIS, the INSZoom team cooked up some new and updated workflows for our clients and the immigration industry more broadly.
We broke it down by phase: pre-registration, registration, selection and filing.
While the registration process technically opens on March 1, 2020, registering is possible through March 20, which still gives us just over three weeks to get everything together pre-registration. During this phase, an INSZoom user would gather the name and other required information of each registrant and upload that data in one shot right into INSZoom, at which point the system checks the information for completeness and automatically creates or updates INSZoom records for that registrant.
The idea here is that while not every registrant might get a full H-1B petition created for them, creating their INSZoom record right away allows the user to (a) make sure they have all the information they need for the registration process and (b) have a head-start for every registrant that’s chosen in the lottery and will have an H-1B petition filed on their behalf.
Between March 1st and March 20th, when the user is ready, they would initiate the registration right from INSZoom. Yes, it still needs to be submitted through the USCIS portal but going through INSZoom allows for re-checking of the data and fast application creation. Once in the USCIS portal, the user has to complete the G-28, pay the $10 fee and submit the registration.
After March 20th, the selection process begins. As the user monitors the status of their applications within the USCIS portal, they can easily transfer that status data into INSZoom to keep the INSZoom records up-to-date. That way, when a registration is accepted or rejected, the accompanying INSZoom record reflects that and can communicate that status to the registrant and kick off next steps as needed.
Ultimately, H-1B cap cases still go through a lottery system. That means some cases will be selected while others will be not selected or denied (duplicated). When a case is selected in the lottery and the user gets the green light from USCIS to move forward with putting together a full H-1B visa petition, they are already steps ahead via the registration process, and can proceed with next steps during the extended 90-day window.
Whenever a new government procedure is put in place, there is a desire to create an efficient and effective process around it as quickly as possible to enable law firms, employers and ultimately the individuals who are applying for their H-1B visas to have the smoothest possible immigration journey. At INSZoom, we always balance our proactive approach to creating efficiency and process around such new government procedures with input from our clients.
The new H-1B registration process is the prime example of this. As we all go through the H-1B registration process together for the first time, we will be learning from our clients, tweaking our process, and building the best possible H-1B registration technology solution.
If you’re a current INSZoom client and you want to learn more, reach out to your INSZoom rep. And if you’re not an INSZoom client but are interested in leveraging our technology to support your law firm or corporate immigration program, visit us today to see why we’re been leading the way for the past twenty years!