The number of skilled immigrants that petition for the highly sought-after H-1B visa has been increasing each year. As you must be aware, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has an initial electronic registration process for filing the H-1B cap-subject petitions. Since there’s a cap on the number of H-1B visas issued, USCIS conducts an annual lottery to select the petitions after the initial registration period closes.
This blog is about the H-1B registrations and the common mistakes made in the process. You’re also offered some tips that will help avoid these mistakes and thereby increase the chances of your H-1B approval.
H-1B Registration System
The H-1B visa registration process for the FY-2022 began on March 9, 2021. The registration involves submitting the beneficiary’s information along with a non-refundable fee of $10. On March 25, 2021, at 12 noon EST, the H-1B registration submission window will close, and no more registrations will be accepted.
After this period, USCIS will conduct the random lottery from the submitted petitions to select 65,000 from the regular cap and 20,000 from the master’s cap. No later than March 31st 2021, the statuses of the registrations will be changed to reflect the ones that are selected. The lottery winners will then have to file petitions and have them approved to obtain the H-1B visa. If you’re selected, the earliest that you can file your H-1B petition is the first day of April 2021.
Note: It is the petitioner (and not the beneficiary) who should pay the $10 registration fees.
Registration Selection Notifications
USCIS will notify the registrants and their representatives with selected registrations via their USCIS online accounts on or before March 31, 2021. A registrant’s myUSCIS account will show one of the following statuses for each registration:
- Selected: This implies that USCIS has chosen your H-1B petition in the lottery. The registrant can proceed with filing an H-1B cap petition.
- Not Selected: The lottery did not pick your registration. And thus, you’re not eligible to file the H-1B petition.
- Denied: The status will read ‘Denied’ if a sponsor submits more than one registration for the same beneficiary. Beware that all registrations submitted by or on behalf of the same registrant for this beneficiary for the FY are invalid.
- Submitted: This status means you have successfully submitted your petition. As per USCIS, those registrations that remain in the ‘Submitted’ status after the initial Registration selection process is complete will be considered for further selection, until the end of the FY. After the end of the FY, all the registrations’ statuses would be ‘Selected’, ‘Not Selected’, or ‘Denied’.
Note: If your status reads Invalidated-Failed Payment, it means that the registration was submitted but the payment method was declined, not reconciled, or otherwise invalid.
Tips to Avoid Some Common Mistakes
You could go wrong with several things in the registration process, especially if you’re registering for the first time. Here are some of the common mistakes, avoiding which you can make sure that you have better chances of approval:
In the first year of implementing the electronic registration process, USCIS found out that the top two user errors were creating the wrong type of account; and entering the same beneficiary more than once.
- Make sure you create the right account type. There are three types of USCIS online accounts:
- Applicant/petitioner/requestor account – Individuals use this type of account to prepare and file applications, petitions, or other benefit requests. You cannot use this account type to prepare or submit H-1B registrations.
- Attorney/representative account – If you are an attorney or accredited representative submitting H-1B registrations on behalf of a prospective petitioner, select this option. You will also be able to submit Form G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative.
- Registrant account – This is the account that a prospective petitioner must create to participate in the H-1B registration process, regardless of whether the prospective petitioner will be using an attorney or accredited representative to submit the registration.
- Do not make duplicate entries purposefully or accidentally. A prospective petitioner should submit only one registration per beneficiary for an FY. Once the initial registration period has closed, and if the prospective petitioner has more than one registration submitted for the same beneficiary, none of these registrations will be included in the selection process. However, other prospective petitioners or their representatives can submit registrations for that same beneficiary, but they too need to ensure that they submit only one registration for the beneficiary.
- If you find out that you or your representative submitted more than one registration for the same beneficiary and the initial registration window is still open, you can go into your account and delete the extra submission(s) until there is only one registration for the beneficiary. However, the registration fees for the duplicate registrations will not be refunded.
- See to it that the registration correctly falls into either the regular or master’s cap. If a registration is incorrectly submitted into the master’s cap and is selected, it will be subsequently denied during processing.
- USCIS recommends that attorneys and authorized individuals who work for a company coordinate before submitting their registrations. Attorneys can help you make sure that your registration is properly filed. Selection of the registration is only the beginning. With denials and RFEs are on the rise, you can always seek an attorney’s assistance when USCIS is processing your H-1B petition.
How does Immigration Compliance Software help?
In addition to timely filing, compliance with the relevant H-1B requirements is crucial to ensure that a petition selected in the lottery does not get rejected or denied. Hiring an attorney could be a costly choice. This is where compliance software comes into the picture. An Immigration Compliance Software like OnBlick, that has a built-in Immigration Case Management system, helps employers in the document collection, online filing of Form I-129, and creation of an H-1B petition. OnBlick becomes an all-in-one immigration case management platform to initiate, track, and manage all your H-1B petitions. This H-1B cap FY 2022, integrate with OnBlick, and stand a better chance of getting your H-1B petition approved.