At a glance
- When USCIS implements its long-planned H-1B cap registration system, employers will be required to pay a $10 fee for each case entered into the cap lottery.
- Payment can be submitted by inputting credit card, debit card, checking account or savings account information directly into the H-1B registration portal. Batch registration and payment will be accepted.
- USCIS is expected to announce by the end of 2019 whether it will implement its H-1B cap registration requirement, along with the $10 registration fee, for the FY 2021 cap season.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is moving forward with plans to impose a $10 non-refundable fee for each H-1B registration submitted by petitioning employers in the forthcoming H-1B cap registration portal, according to a rule that will be published in the Federal Register on November 8. The $10 fee will become mandatory when USCIS implements the new H-1B cap registration requirement, the timeline for which has not yet been announced.
Earlier this week, Acting USCIS Director Kenneth T. Cuccinelli indicated that his agency plans to implement the registration requirement for the FY 2021 cap season, provided that the online registration technology is ready for public use. The agency is expected to announce before the end of this year whether it will use the registration tool in the upcoming cap season.
As a reminder, the H-1B registration requirement, which was finalized in early 2019, will require petitioning employers seeking to file H-1B cap cases to first register beneficiaries online for the H-1B lottery. Employers would file full H-1B petitions only for registrations that are selected in the cap lottery.
Making a payment in the H-1B cap registration portal
Employers will be required to pay a $10 non-refundable fee for each H-1B cap registration at the time of submission in the H-1B online registration portal. This payment – which can be submitted by the employer or an attorney with a G-28 Notice of Entry of Appearance on file – can be made by credit or debit card, or from a checking or savings account. Cash, certified (bank) checks and money orders will not be accepted.
Online payments will be facilitated through Pay.gov, the federal government's online fee system. However, unlike other USCIS online filings, Pay.gov will only provide the back-end architecture for accepting fees in the online portal; a separate Pay.gov account or log-in is not necessary.
Batch filings and payments will be accepted
DHS has confirmed that batch registrations and payments will be accepted in the online portal. There will be no limit to the number of beneficiaries an employer can register at one time, and the system will aggregate the total payment for each batch. There will also be no limit on the number of batches an employer may submit during the registration period. Employers need only provide corporate and payment information per batch submitted; however, corporate and payment information must be resubmitted when filing a subsequent batch.
If registration is implemented for the FY 2021 cap season, USCIS is expected to conduct stakeholder outreach and training on the payment process.
What this means for employers
It is still not certain whether USCIS will implement H-1B cap registration and the related $10 fee during the FY 2021 cap season, which begins in early 2020, though clarity on this is expected by the end of this year. Because USCIS could elect to postpone implementation once again, employers should prepare for the possibility that they will need to file complete H-1B petitions for all foreign nationals they intend to sponsor for the H-1B cap, as in past years.
Fragomen is closely monitoring H-1B cap registration and will continue to provide updates as the FY 2021 cap filing season nears.
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