H-1B Electronic Registration to Open March 1, 2020

On January 9, 2020, USCIS published a Federal Register notice formally announcing the implementation of the electronic registration for the fiscal year (FY) 2021 H-1B cap-subject petitions. The registration period will run from March 1 through Mach 20, 2020.

During this timeframe, employers, or their authorized representatives, must complete an electronic registration and pay the associated $10 fee for each submission. A separate registration plus fee must be submitted for each foreign national for whom H-1B classification is sought. Petitioners can register multiple workers during a single online submission; however, they may only submit one registration per beneficiary. As in prior years, duplicate registrations for the same worker are prohibited. A duplicate registration will invalidate all registrations for that worker.

If more than a sufficient number of registrations are received during the registration period, a random lottery will be conducted selecting the number of registrations projected as needed for the fiscal year. Selected registrants will be notified by no later than March 31, 2020. These prospective petitioners will have the opportunity to file their cap-subject petition for the named worker, with complete supporting documentation, within the filing period indicated on the eligibility notice.

To date, information about the electronic portal has not been released. USCIS has indicated that it will provide ample time, prior to start of the registration period of March 1st, for the public to familiarize themselves with the electronic registration system.

The registration requires only basic information about the company and each requested worker, including:

  • Employer Information: Employer’s legal name and DBA, employer identification number (EIN), employer’s primary US office address, and authorized signatory’s name, title, and contact information (telephone and email); and
  • Beneficiary Information: Beneficiary’s full name, date of birth, country of birth, country of citizenship, gender, passport number, and if eligible for the Master’s cap, US institution where he/she obtained a master’s or higher degree.

February 2020 Visa Bulletin

The US Department of State released the February Visa Bulletin. USCIS has not yet announced if it would accept adjustment of status applications based on the Dates for Filings or Final Action Dates chart for family and employment based preference categories. This information should be released soon and will be published here.

There was forward movement in the family-based preference categories for Final Action Dates except for F-4 Worldwide and China, which retrogressed by seven months to July 1, 2006. Family-based Dates for Filing moved forward for the most part, except for F-4 worldwide and China, which both remained on July 22, 2007.

As to the employment-based preference category, there was no movement in the Dates for Filing. For Final Action Dates, the new cut-off dates for issuance of an immigrant visa will be as follows:

EB-1: EB-1 Worldwide (as well as El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Mexico, Philippines and Vietnam) advances to December 1, 2018; China remains on May 22, 2017; and India remains on January 1, 2015. EB-2: China advances slightly to July 15, 2015, while India advances one day to May 19, 2009. All other countries will remain current. EB-3: China advances one month to January 1, 2016, and India advances seven days to January 8, 2009. The Philippines will advance by more than two months to June 1, 2018. All other countries will remain current. EB-5 (Non-Regional Center (C5 and T5)): China advances slightly to December 1, 2014, India advances four months to September 1, 2018, and Vietnam advances one week to December 15, 2016. EB-5 (Regional Center (I5 and R5)): For all countries, availability has become immediately current.

E1/E2 for Iranians No Longer Eligible

USCIS today announced that following the termination of the 1955 Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights with Iran in October 2018, Iranian nationals and their dependents are no longer eligible to change or extend their E-1 treaty trader and E-2 treaty investor status. E visas are granted based on trade and investment treaties or specific legislation between the U.S. and certain countries. There is no eligibility for the E visa if a qualifying treaty or legislation ceases to exist.

Iranian nationals who currently hold and properly maintain E-1 or E-2 visas may remain in the U.S. until the expiration of their authorized period of stay, unless otherwise authorized to remain in the US pursuant to a change of status or adjustment of status. USCIS will send Notices of Intent to Deny to applicants who filed E applications for extension or change of status after October 3, 2018, the date the US Department of State notified Iran of the termination of the Treaty.

DHS Notice of Eligible H-2A and H-2B Countries for 2020

DHS published a notice in the Federal Register announcing the 84 countries whose nationals are eligible to participate in the H-2A program and the 81 countries whose nationals are eligible to participate in the H-2B program. The list of countries remains unchanged from the 2019 list. The validity date of these designations is from January 19, 2020 through January 18, 2021. The USCIS will allow a national from a country not listed to be named as a beneficiary of an H-2A or H-2B petition on a case-by-case basis based on a determination that such participation is in interest of the U.S.