H-1B

H-1B Visa: Frequently Asked Questions

Published On
Mar 9, 2021
Read Time
5 Minutes
Author
OnBlick Inc

Is it the first time that you’re submitting an H-1B registration? If so, we are sure that you’ll have several questions about the H-1B electronic registration process. Don’t worry. You’re not alone. We’ve been getting a lot of queries about the process from several employers across the country. And that’s why we came up with this blog that has the answers to the frequently asked questions about the H-1B visa and its registration process.

Let’s begin with the ABCs.  

What is the H-1B program?  

The H-1B program permits employers and businesses in the United States to temporarily hire foreign nationals in occupations that require the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and a bachelor’s degree or higher in the specific specialty, or its equivalent.

What are some of the fields considered as H-1B specialty occupations?

H-1B specialty occupations include fields such as Architecture, Engineering, Mathematics, Physical Sciences, Social Sciences, Medicine and Health, Education, Business Specialties, Accounting, Law, Theology, and the Arts.  

What are prevailing wages and actual wages?

The H-1B program requires the employers to pay the H-1B employees the prevailing wage or the actual wage, whichever is higher. The prevailing wage is the salary paid to workers in similar occupations in the geographic area of the intended employment. The actual wage is the wage that the H-1B employer pays employees in similar occupations at the location of the intended employment.

What is the length of stay on an H-1B visa?

Initial approval of the H-1B visa is for 3 years, which can be extended up to 3 years. Total stay cannot exceed 6 years.

Are H-1B holders eligible to seek Permanent Residency?

H-1B holders are eligible to seek Permanent Residency in the U.S. The first step in transitioning from an H-1B visa to a Green Card is filing a PERM Labor Certification application. The PERM Labor Certification application is necessary for anyone who falls into the EB-2 and EB-3 categories. The employer has to submit ETA Form 9089 and have it approved and then should file Form I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to petition for employment-based permanent residence for its H-1B employees. Once Form I-140 is approved, the individual may apply for Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status on Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, if an immigrant visa is available. Read more about the green card processes and procedures here.

Is there a visa for the H-1B employee’s family?

The spouse and unmarried children (under the age of 21) of H-1B professionals are allowed to stay in the United States under a dependent category called the H-4 visa for the same duration as the H-1B status. Each family member must obtain his or her H-4 visa. H-4 status holders are not eligible to work except in limited situations.

Does filing for premium processing help one avoid being subject to the cap?

Filing for premium processing does not make you exempt from the cap. Premium processing is simply a way to expedite the process. The USCIS specifically ensures 15 calendar days for processing those petitions, or the USCIS will issue a refund of the service fee.

H-1B Registration Process FY 2022

How does the H-1B electronic registration process work?

It was for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 H-1B cap season that USCIS implemented the electronic registration system. Employers seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions for the FY 2022 cap, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption, must electronically register first and pay the associated $10 H-1B registration fee.

The registration process requires only basic information about the company and each requested worker. The H-1B random selection process will then be run. Only those with selected registrations will be eligible to file H-1B cap-subject petitions. The regular cap lottery is conducted first, followed by the U.S. master’s cap lottery. The drawing order is believed to give individuals with a U.S. master’s degree better chances of selection compared to the old ordering system.

Within 90 days of being selected, the registrants’ employers will then file their petitions with the USCIS for processing along with the appropriate filing fees and supporting documents. If the petition is approved, the H-1B visa will be issued, and the beneficiary’s start date will be October 1, 2021.

What is the FY 2022 H-1B Registration Process timeline?  

March 9, 2021, Noon EST: H-1B registration period opens.

March 25, 2021, Noon EST: H-1B registration period closes.

March 31, 2021: Date by which USCIS intends to notify selected registrants.

April 1, 2021: The earliest date that FY 2022 H-1B cap-subject petitions may be filed.

June 30, 2021: 90 Days deadline for filing of H-1B petitions for FY 2022 ends.

Do employers need LCA for submitting the H-1B Registrations in the tool?

No, there is no need to have approved LCA for the H-1B registration process. You only need to fill in basic information about the application. You will need to submit that with the actual petition if you get selected in the registration process.

What are the details of the H-1B applicant required for H-1B Registration?

The H-1B employer/sponsor needs to have the below details of the beneficiary:

• Legal Name (First, Middle and Last name)

• Gender

• Option related to US Master’s Quota Eligibility

• Date of Birth

• Country of Birth

• Country of Citizenship

• Passport Number (If no passport, there is an option to check a box)

Can an employer submit multiple or duplicate registrations?

Each sponsor can submit only one registration for each beneficiary. If more than one registration is submitted for the same beneficiary by a sponsor, all registrations submitted by that sponsor for that beneficiary will be considered invalid and subsequently denied. However, a single beneficiary can have registrations submitted by multiple sponsors.

Will the fees be refunded for filing twice?

You will not receive a refund for the filing fees. The only time that a refund will be issued is:

What happens if the prospective beneficiary does not have a last name? What do you enter into the system?

As per USCIS, if the beneficiary has only one name, it should be entered as the last name. The first and middle name fields will have checkboxes that indicate “Beneficiary does not have a first name” or “Beneficiary does not have a middle name.” These boxes should be checked in these instances.  You should not enter placeholders, such as “FNU”, “LNU”, “Unknown”, or “No Name Given.”

What start date should petitioners with a selected registration indicate on their Form I-129?

If your selected registration was submitted during the initial registration period of March 9 to March 25, you must indicate a start date of October 1, 2021, on your petition, or your petition will be rejected or denied.

Where should a petitioner with a selected registration file their Form I-129 and supporting documentation?

Petitioners should file at the location indicated on the H-1B selection notice, which may be different from the historical I-129 filing jurisdictions for cap cases. The USCIS “Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker” webpage will be updated to reflect that petitioners must file at the service center listed on their selection notice.

What happens if you choose the wrong account type when creating a USCIS online account? Will you be able to change it to the correct account type later?

You will not be able to switch to a different account type yourself once you make an initial selection. Please choose the correct account type, H-1B Registrant or Legal Representative, as applicable, when you are creating your account. Only these two account types will work with the H-1B electronic registration process. If you choose the incorrect account type, you may use a new email address to create a new account in myUSCIS and choose the correct account type.

Will both the attorney and the client need to create a USCIS online account for the H-1B electronic registration process?

Both the client and attorney will need a USCIS online account for the H-1B electronic registration process. If you are an attorney and already have an existing legal representative account, it will work with the H-1B electronic registration process. You do not need to create a new legal representative account unless you do not have one. All clients will need to create an H-1B registrant account to review and approve the G-28 and H-1B registrations as part of the electronic registration process.

Will the system allow for multiple members of staff to log into your account at the same time?

No. You must agree to Terms of Use that include an attestation that you are the person that holds the account, and you will not share your account with others or allow others to use your account.

How should a registrant with a selected registration notify USCIS if they do not intend to file a petition?

Since no H-1B petition will be filed, there will be no paper file in which USCIS can pair the notification with the registration. USCIS suggests that the employer retain documentation evidencing the reason for non-filing and present it to USCIS if questioned.

If a registration is selected and the petition is filed during the 90-day period, but it is rejected, will a petitioner be eligible to refile if they are still within the 90-day window?

A petitioner is eligible to refile their rejected petition during the designated 90-day filing window. The petitioner should file their petition at the service center indicated on their selection notice and must include all required fees and supporting evidence with the filing.

Will registrations be invalidated as duplicates if the same representative submits two registrations for the same beneficiary, but on behalf of two different companies?

No. Registrations submitted by a representative for the same beneficiary, but on behalf of different prospective petitioners, would not be considered as duplicates. A registration will be considered a duplicate if the registrations are for the same prospective petitioners and the same prospective beneficiaries.

If there is a duplicate registration in a submission batch, does it affect all registrations in the batch or only the duplicate registration?

Only the beneficiary with a duplicate registration will be deleted from the selection process. If you properly submitted other registrations for different beneficiaries, these valid registrations will remain in the system for the selection process. Until March 25, 2021, you can log into your account to review all of your H-1B registrations and delete any duplicate registrations. This is also true if one of the registrations submitted in a batch contains an error. You would be able to delete the registration for the beneficiary that contained the error without affecting the rest of the batch submission.

If one person is the authorized signatory for two separate companies, could this person use his/her email with different domain names to set up a registrant account and submit registrations for the two companies?

Yes, if one person is the authorized signatory for two companies they may submit registrations on behalf of both companies. They will need two separate accounts, one for each company. They will also need a separate e-mail address for each account.

May an authorized signatory within the company, who is different from the authorized signatory that signed the H-1B electronic registration, sign the paper Form I-129?

Yes. The authorized signatory that signed the registration does not need to be the same authorized signatory that signs the Form I-129. However, the prospective petitioner

How does OnBlick help you?

OnBlick is an Immigration and HR compliance software that assists businesses with an H-1B case management system. With the aid of its guided processes, OnBlick’s clients can avoid any errors or pitfalls that could lead to a denial or delay of the H-1B petition. It also suggests the appropriate SOC codes and determines the prevailing wages. This H-1B cap season, integrate with OnBlick and improve your chances of H-1B approval. Book a quick demo here.

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