The H1-B Visa 2021 cap filing season is right around the corner. It’s time to take a look at the H1-B Visa 2021 lottery season and the potential changes in store. With many new changes to the lottery, there are only a few short months left before it’s time to file. If you were not selected in last year’s cap, then it is in your best interest to use this guide as your one-stop shop for all your H1B visa 2021 info, news, and updates.
Our team of highly-experienced attorneys specializes in H-1B and employment-based immigration. It has helped countless skilled workers worldwide and from all backgrounds obtain H-1B visas. We want to keep you apprised of the latest news concerning this highly sought-after visa and will be regularly updating this post to keep you up-to-date on the H-1B cap 2021-22 filing season. For more information about the H1B visa 2021 season or see how we can take the stress and worry out of your immigration experience, you can contact us directly to see if you qualify for a free consultation.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: USCIS has delayed the Trump administration’s January 8th H-1B Lottery Rule seeking to prioritize cap candidates in higher wage levels until December 31, 2021. The Biden Administration still has to thoroughly review it, and his administration or the federal courts may still eliminate it altogether.
The information regarding the H-1B rule covered in this post is current as of the publication’s date. We will keep our clients posted with updates as they arise.
Overview of H1B Visa 2021 Cap Lottery
The H-1B was created for skilled professionals with at least bachelor’s degrees to work in the U.S. in fields such as computer science, architecture, medicine, dentistry, engineering, accounting, and more. Employers seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions for the fiscal year 2021-2022 cap, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption, must first electronically register and pay the associated $10 H-1B registration fee. Each employer can only submit one entry per H-1B employee. The employer must attest that if their submission is selected, then they’ll file a complete H-1B petition.
Employers seeking H-1B workers subject to the cap, or their authorized representatives, will complete a registration process that requires only basic information about their company and each requested worker. The USCIS registration period is from March 9th through March 25th, 2021. It’s best not to delay your submission to the last day of the lottery period in the event of any technical registration or web issues.
The H-1B random selection process will then be run on those electronic registrations. 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 gives individuals with a U.S. master’s degree an even higher chance of being selected. In fact, USCIS has said that it increases the odds of selection for advanced-degree holders by up to 16% compared to the old ordering system.
If you’re worried about changes in the prevailing wage rule passed at the end of the Trump Administration, we’ve received guidance that it will not be implemented for the 2021–2022 cap.
What is the H1B Visa 2021 Prevailing Wage?
The prevailing wage is basically the average wage for employees who perform the same or similar jobs. The majority of employment-based visas require an employer to pay the prevailing wage as a bare minimum, as is the case with the H-1B visa. The Department of Labor (DOL) under the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program provides the prevailing wage figures that will be used during the Labor Certification Application (LCA) process.
H1B Registration 2021–2022 Timeline and Steps
How the H1B Visa 2021 Registration System Works
USCIS uses an online pre-registration system to make the H-1B lottery a more manageable process. Employers must register their beneficiaries with the USCIS database before the start of the filing window. The registration window will open on March 9, 2021, and end on March 25, 2021. Petitions will still be used, but only once a beneficiary has been selected in the lottery to make things more efficient. Here is how this system will work:
- Employers will pre-register their alien workers inputting information about the workers into the database.
- USCIS will conduct the lottery and choose the beneficiaries—65,000 for the regular cap and 20,000 for the master’s cap—that will go on to filing and processing.
- Within 90 days of being selected, the selected 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 1st, 2021.
How to Sign Up for the H1B Visa 2021-22 Registration
- On or after February 24, 2021. create an online account with USCIS.
- At 12 p.m. EST on March 9. 2021, registration opens, and USCIS account holders can submit their registrations along with the non-refundable $10 registration fee.
- At 12 p.m. EST on March 25, 2021, registration closes.
- USCIS conducts the lottery, starting with the regular cap and ending with the master’s cap.
- On or by March 31, 2021, USCIS notifies lottery winners.
- If your petition is selected, the earliest that you can file your petition is April 1st, 2021.
Rules for Submission
Registration has only a few rules in order to avoid outright denial.
- Your registration must be submitted after March 9, 2021, at 12 p.m. est. and before March 25, 2021, at 12 p.m. est. USCIS will not accept registrations outside this window.
- Each sponsor may only submit one registration for each beneficiary. If a single sponsor submits more than one registration for the same beneficiary, all registrations submitted by that sponsor for that beneficiary will be considered invalid and subsequently denied.
- However, a single sponsor can submit registrations for multiple beneficiaries and;
- A single beneficiary can have registrations submitted by multiple sponsors.
Required Documents and Information for each H1B Registration:
- Employer’s name
- Employer’s FEIN (identification number)
- Employer’s address
- Employers contact information
- Employer’s lawyer contact info
Beneficiary Information Required for the H1B Registration:
- Home country and where you maintain citizenship
- Passport number
USCIS will also need the H-1B beneficiary’s educational information, like if they received an advanced degree—master’s degree or higher—from a school in the U.S.
The H-1B visa 2021-22 process is rather simple when broken down. Under the regular cap, 65,000 registrations are randomly selected by a computer. An additional 20,000 registrations will also be selected under the advanced degree exemption. According to the Free Trade Agreement, 6,800 visas will be set aside for citizens of Chile and Singapore.
How Will I Know If I’ve Been Selected for the H1B Lottery 2021-2022?
When you look at your registration online, you will see one of four statuses attached to your case. They are:
- Submitted: This simply means that you have successfully submitted your petition. However, your status may continue to read “submitted” until the end of the fiscal year. This means that your registration is still under consideration and does not mean that your registration has been selected or denied.
- Selected: Your registration has been chosen in the lottery, and the sponsor can file an I-129 petition after April 1, 2021. It’s possible that USCIS may allocate different filing deadlines to selected registrants to ensure smooth processing of all cap-subject cases. The filing deadline will be clearly indicated on the notice.
- Not Selected: This means that your registration was not chosen. Keep in mind that all registrations that are not denied will either be “Selected” or remain as “Submitted” until the end of the fiscal year. Therefore, if your registration is not chosen, you will not see “Not Selected” on your registration until October 1, 2021.
- Denied: This only happens if a sponsor submitted more than one registration for the same beneficiary. In this case, all registrations submitted by this sponsor for this beneficiary will be denied.
Remember, after March 25, 2021, all registrations will say “submitted.” After March 11, 2021, some will change to “selected,” “denied,” or stay “submitted.” If USCIS needs to increase the registrations for either cap during the remainder of the fiscal year, it will select more registrations from the “submitted” pool. After October 1, 2021, the remaining “submitted” registrations will change to “not selected.”
Master’s Cap Order
IMPORTANT: President Biden Issued an Executive Order on January 28, 2021 which revoked the “Buy American and Hire American” Executive Order passed by Trump. It’s unclear at this point in time if the order of the lottery will be affected by this change. We will keep you posted with updates as they are made available.
The regular cap is conducted first. Due to having all cap-subject registrations, including those for master’s degree-holders, some master’s registrations are selected in the regular cap without ever entering the master’s lottery. After that, all unselected master’s registrations will be entered into the master’s lottery.
H1B Visa 2021–2022 Lottery Predictions
The number of registrations this year is expected to exceed those of last year. In last year’s H-1B period, USCIS received 275,000 applications, and the year before they received 201,000 applications. The numbers continue to increase year over year. Apart from that upward trend, it’s relatively easy and low cost for an employer to submit a lottery registration. The online government registration fee is only $10, and the employer doesn’t have to submit the full H-1B petition application to enter into the lottery.
What happens after the lottery selection?
Once an employer receives notice that the registration has been selected for further processing, the employer will have to file the H-1B petition with all supporting evidence during the period allowed by the USCIS. The package will be sent to a service center to be approved or rejected. Then, a tracking identifier called an EAC number is assigned to each petition.
The first 3 letters of your petition’s EAC number indicate the service center location processing your petition. For example, WAC would mean the Western Adjudication Center in California. The two numbers that appear next correlate to the year followed by the working day. The last five numbers indicate your case number. An example would look like this: WAC-18-021-56974.
Eligibility Requirement for Specialty Occupation
To be eligible for the specialty occupation criteria, the H-1B job must adhere to one of the criteria below:
- The job must require at minimum a bachelor’s degree or higher or equivalent.
- The required degree for the H-1B job is considered common in the industry.
- The position can only be executed by an individual holding a degree due to its complexity.
- It is normal for the employer to require a degree or equivalent for the position because the skills are so specialized.
What if I’m Not Eligible for an H1B Visa 2021 Lottery?
If you’ve determined that you are not eligible for an H-1B visa, consider filing for an H-2B visa, or even an L-1 visa may be a viable option. An L-1B visa is also a non-immigrant visa option that permits employers based both in the United States and abroad to transfer personnel from the foreign offices to the operations based in the U.S. for up to 5 years.
The J-1 visa might also serve as an alternative. Instead of being tied to an employer, the J-1 is based on a government-approved program. Students, doctors, counselors, and nannies are among the many occupational programs that can take advantage of this visa.
What are Cap-Exempt Petitions
A cap-exempt petition is one that was previously counted against the cap.
It can also be one that was used as a way to extend the H-1B worker’s time in the U.S. or to change the terms. Notice that some positions with qualified workers are not required to be subject to the annual quota even if the petitioner has already been counted against it.
However, there are three main categories of occupations that are considered cap-exempt from the start:
- Jobs for an institution of higher education
- Jobs for non-profit organizations that are associated with an institution of higher education
- Jobs for governmental research centers
The fact that there are cap-exempt jobs may tempt some to think that they can simply petition under a cap-exempt job and switch once they have entered the country to circumvent the annual cap.
However, it is important to note that you need to have that employer file another petition whenever you change employers. If that employer is not cap-exempt, then the petition will be entered into the lottery. If it is not selected or is denied, you will not be able to make this transfer. Therefore, changing from a cap-exempt to a cap-subject petition as a way to get around the H-1B cap is not possible.
How Does Premium Processing Work?
Premium processing service allows an employment-based petition/application to be expedited, generally within 15 days. The service fee is $2,500.
It is important to note that purchasing premium processing only reduces the processing time for your I-129 petition. It does not make you cap-exempt, nor does it guarantee you a spot in the lottery. If your petition happens to be selected, then your start date will still be October 1, 2021, like all other applicants.
H1B Visa Fees 2021-2022
With the implementation of the electronic registration system last year, the fee structure changed from prior years. Employers only need to file the registration fee of $10 to enter the lottery. However, if an alien’s registration is chosen, his or her employer will be responsible for the following fees:
Responsible for Fee
Premium Processing (optional
Employer or Employee
Public Law 114-113 Fee
Basic Filing Fee
USCIS Anti-Fraud Fee
ACWIA Education and Training Fee
$750 (less than 25 employees)
$1500 (more than 25 employees)
Here’s one scenario to illustrate how the fee would be applied to a foreign I.T. firm.
Company X has more than 50 employees and has more than 50% of people on the H-1B visa. If they are filing for the H-1B visa with premium processing than they would be responsible for the base ($460), fraud fee ($500), training fee ( $1,500 if applicable), Public Law 114-113 fee ($4,000), premium processing fee ($2,500 if applicable), and attorney fee.
Keep in mind that the Public Law fee is only applicable to employers with more than 50 employees. Also, more than half of those employees must be H-1B holders for the fee to apply. Speak with your immigration attorney to determine exactly which fees should be paid.
Our H1B Visa 2021 Attorney Fees
Since the stages are now tiered, and only certain companies will eventually file the complete petitions, our legal fees will be as follows:
- Tier One: $550 for the initial registration process, which includes all preliminary case analyses required to file the case such as SOC, duties, documents, educational check, evaluations, if necessary, FEIN, etc.
- Tier Two: $1,900 will be due if the case is selected in the lottery for filing, which includes all form/support letter preparation plus case filing within the timeframe
- Tier Three: $500–$1,500 will be the cost of a Request For Evidence (RFE) response, should one later be issued on the case
Please note that H-1B petitioners have the option to complete the initial registration themselves. Again, note that if the registration is completed incorrectly, the petition may later be denied. Once the petition has been confirmed as being selected in the lottery, employers may choose to retain our firm for the complete filing. If that route is selected instead, the legal fee for preparing the H-1b filing will be $2300. This fee excludes the cost for a response to any possible RFE that may be issued on the case and any H-4 application that may be required. The fee for an RFE response will remain between $500–$1600, depending upon the complexity of the RFE.
H1B Visa 2021 Sponsors
Finding the appropriate H-1B visa sponsor is often one of the biggest challenges. One viable source to find a suitable sponsor is through an H-1B Visa Sponsor Database. You can filter your search by city or zip code and see information detailing what sorts of jobs they have filed in past years.
*Please note that we take no responsibility for the accuracy of the information in the link above.
American universities are a great place to look because academic institutions are not subject to the annual cap restriction, so they can sponsor anyone if they think they’re suitable for the job.
What to Do After Filing H-1B Petition?
If your registration is selected in the lottery, then your employer will need to file a petition, which will move on to the adjudication stage, meaning that it will be processed. An evaluating immigration officer will decide if your H-1B case is approved or denied/rejected. If it is approved, then you will have one of two options:
- Wait until October 1, 2021, for your H-1B status to be enacted as soon as you start working. This is only available if you are already in the U.S. under a different nonimmigrant visa status and can maintain that status until you begin working.
- If you are outside the U.S. or your current nonimmigrant status will expire before October 1, 2021, you will need to make an appointment with the U.S. Consulate or Embassy in your home country and go through consular processing.
When you go to your appointment, you must have already completed and paid for the DS-160 online nonimmigrant application. Be sure to bring a printout of the confirmation page and the payment receipt. The DS-160 costs $190.
You may or may not be required to participate in a one-on-one interview with a consular officer. The USCIS reserves the right to interview whomever they choose before they enter the country. Also, because of the increased regulations and scrutiny surrounding the H-1B recently, it would be wise to expect an interview.
At your H-1B interview, the officer will ask you basic questions about yourself, your job, employer, and travel history. The best advice is to answer all questions quickly and honestly. Saying “I don’t know” is always preferable to lying, which could have serious repercussions in the future.
Avoid These Common H-1B Filing Errors
There are several issues and filing errors we see repeated time and time again, which can interfere with getting an H-1B approval.
Choosing an incorrect I-129 start date
Sometimes, during the filing process, applicants will choose the incorrect start date on the I-129. Check with your attorney to ensure that all dates, wages, and important details are accurate to avoid having your petition denied.
Incomplete Job Description
To ensure that your job description meets all the necessary criteria, it’s best to have it thoroughly reviewed by a qualified H-1B visa lawyer.
Submitting your petition after the date that was issued to you by the USCIS can result in a delay in processing. To ensure that you do not create this delay, file your petition with plenty of time to spare.
It is important to note that the USCIS service center only considers a submission as timely if it reaches the center before the expected date. Because your petition will first reach a P.O. box, be sure to submit it well before the last day to guarantee that the service center will have time to collect it.
Labor Condition Application (LCA) Delays
We’ve seen cases where the iCert visa portal system doesn’t always recognize the employer/company’s Federal Employer Identification Number or FEIN. This occurs because a pre-verification has not been completed before the LCA being submitted.
Unacceptable Delivery Method
Adjudicating service centers are very particular about the way that petitions are submitted. Delivering your petition by hand or through some other unconventional method can result in not having your petition processed.
To ensure that you are using an approved delivery method, send your petition via the United States Postal Service, FedEx, UPS, or some other bonded delivery service. Consult with your immigration attorney to learn which services are considered bonded.
Choosing the Wrong Service Center
The last issue that often comes up is filing with the wrong service center. Petitions which do not include the necessary fee will be denied, and those sent to the incorrect service center will also not be processed correctly. Be sure to write a separate check for each filing fee and sign all checks before sending.
H1B 2021–2022 Challenges
Because of the exact nature of the immigration process, complications can easily arise from unique circumstances. Working closely with an immigration attorney can help you decide if these challenges apply to you and what you can do about them.
If you are the founder, co-founder, or sole proprietor of the company that you wish to work through, then you will be fulfilling the role of both the employer and the employee, which the USCIS does not accept. If your company’s structure allows for a board of directors to pay you instead of you paying yourself, you may be able to secure an H-1B visa as a business owner.
It is possible, however, for you to start a business on an H-1B visa. You must establish an entity—such as a board of directors or a CEO—who controls your salary, your tasks, and your employment status. The entity must petition on your behalf. You cannot self-petition on an H-1B visa.
Another issue develops when the employer that has petitioned on your behalf is a small business. The LCA has particular rules about how much an employee can be paid. If the small business does not have the capital to fulfill these requirements and pay the petition filing fees, you will not be able to file.
H1B Visa 2021–2022 Denial
It goes without saying that USCIS often denies H-1B visas to those it deems unqualified. However, by taking the right precautions, you can optimize your chances of approval provided that your petition is selected in the lottery.
The first thing to realize about this process is that there are essentially two refusal states: rejection and denial. These hinge on the two-pronged approval process that each H-1B petition goes through. The first prong involves having an immigration officer look over your case to determine whether:
- All of your information is complete, consistent, and accurate.
- You have provided enough evidence and documentation.
- Your employer has paid the appropriate fees to the appropriate places.
If your petition does not pass this phase, then it will likely be rejected without a refund. Fortunately, the answer to this issue is often to simply re-file with the help of an experienced H-1B attorney.
However, if your petition passes this phase, it will go on to phase two, which means that the officer will determine if your evidence, background, occupation, and qualifications meet the H-1B visa requirements for 2020. If not, then you may experience an H-1B denial. In this case, re-filing may not be the solution.
It is occasionally possible for petitioners to file legal motions for an unfavorable outcome. Two main motions can be made here:
- Motion to reconsider: this is done if you and your attorney believe that the immigration officer evaluating your case erroneously denied your H-1B petition.
- Motion to reopen: this is done when you have acquired new evidence or documentation that would support your case if evaluated along with the principle evidence.
In contrast to the legal motions, which work with the evaluating officer, an appeal goes through a third party for an unfavorable decision, the Administrative Appeals Office. Unfortunately, the USCIS will usually send you a denial notice that includes a line prohibiting any appeals.
H1B Visa 2021 Requests for Evidence
Occasionally, the USCIS will send a Request for Evidence (RFE) rather than deny your petition outright. If the evaluating officer feels that some supporting documentation would make your case clear, an RFE is usually the way to go. If you receive an RFE, you will need to respond within the given time window—usually up to three months. There are a few ways to respond to this:
- Full response: This means that you submit all of the requested evidence simultaneously with your response.
- Partial response: These are the most common responses. In a partial response, you only submit some of the requested evidence either because you do not wish to submit it all, or you simply do not have the evidence requested.
- No response: You can always withdraw your application.
In any case, your first step should be to bring your RFE to your immigration attorney to decide what to do next. The USCIS may be questioning the legitimacy of your employment, the relationship between you and your employer, the nature of your specialty position, or even the credentials of your degree. The response should fully argue why the submitted evidence addresses all issues brought up by the USCIS.
H1B Visa 2021 Amendments
There are a few cases in which you would need to have a new I-129 petition filed on your behalf. These include changing employers and extending your H-1B status, among other things. However, if you remain with the same employer but some aspect of your position is changing considerably, you may need to have your employer submit an H-1B amendment so that your petition on file can reflect the most accurate information.
The main understanding is that an H-1B amendment is required for situations in which a material change occurs. A material change means that your job duties or your job location has changed significantly. If you have gotten a promotion on your H-1B, you may or may not need to have an amendment filed. It all depends on whether or not your job duties have changed. Just make sure that your new position meets the same H-1B requirements as the old one and is related to your degree.
If you have an I-140 on file for an employment-based green card and are changing your job, make sure that everything is in order regarding the job you are using for your immigrant visa.
If you are currently under H-1B status and lose the job through which your status was obtained, this could cause difficulties in your immigration journey.
H-1B holders get a 60-day grace period that begins the day that your sponsor is no longer your employer. This period is given so that you can find a new H-1B sponsor, change your status to a different visa, or prepare to leave the U.S.
What About the Spouses of H1B Visa 2021 Lottery Winners?
The Obama administration established a rule in 2015 allowing those with H-4 visas (the spouses and dependents of H-1B holders) to obtain employment authorization so that they could work while in the U.S. provided that their H-1B holder had a pending I-140 petition for a green card.
The Biden Administration has kept the rule in place and has proposed legislation that will make the rule permanent with the only way of rescinding being a law passed by Congress.
H1B Visa 2021-2022 Latest News
H1B Anticipated Changes Under the Biden Administration
The Trump Administration’s Prevailing Wage Rule will not go into effect this lottery season. Instead, USCIS has decided to delay the rule’s effective dates until December 31, 2021.
The Biden Administration still has time to review it, and his administration or the federal courts may elect to eliminate the rule altogether. Here’s what the delay states:
The Department is delaying the rule’s effective date until December 31, 2021, because USCIS will not have adequate time to complete system development, thoroughly test the modifications, train staff, and conduct public outreach needed to ensure an effective and orderly implementation of the H-1B Selection Final Rule by the time the initial registration period will be open for the upcoming fiscal year (FY) 2022 H-1B cap season. During the delay, while USCIS works through the issues associated with implementation, DHS leadership will also evaluate the January 8th rule and its associated policies, as is typical of agencies at the beginning of a new Administration.
In the event the rule goes into effect for next year’s (2022-2023) lottery season, then the random registration system would not be used, and USCIS would choose the submissions with the highest wage level (Wage Level IV), then select cases in Wage Level III, and so on until all available visa spots are taken.
Obviously, registrations that fall in levels IV and III have the greatest chance of being selected. USCIS has noted that H-1B registrations with Wage Level I will likely not be selected based on this selection process.
The selection order would remain the same with the regular cap first and then the H-1B advanced degree pool. In the event of a satisfactory wage survey, USCIS would use the highest corresponding OES wage level instead. If this system gets put into place, there will be changes to the I-129 Form to gather information regarding wage levels.
The Department of Homeland Security has justified this rule by saying that it will incentivize H-1B employers to offer higher wages or to petition for positions requiring higher skills.
It’s advised for employers to thoroughly review the wage levels for H-1B cap positions and, if possible, to increase them to increase the chances of selection should the prevailing wage rule go into effect. Employers should also review the job candidate’s qualifications to ensure that they’re in the best cap pool because once you select a cap, it cannot be amended later.
H1B Visa 2021 Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some H-1B visa FAQs that our office receives. Should your question not be mentioned below, please don’t hesitate to contact our law offices.
If I would like to work in the United States, can I just apply for an H1B visa by myself?
You must have a job offer from a U.S. company or organization to apply for an H-1B visa. If you are a business owner, you will need to set up an entity within your company that controls your employment. That entity must file the petition on your behalf.
If I have an Associate’s (two-year) degree plus one year of work experience as an engineer, can I qualify for the H1B visa?
You must have at minimum a U.S. bachelor’s (four-year) degree or its equivalent to qualify for the H-1B visa. In regards to work experience, three years of working is equal to one year of university. If you had six years of work experience plus two years of college, you could qualify if your work experience and the degree are relevant to your occupational title.
I currently have a job with a public school system as a teacher. Are schools subject to the annual quota?
Only if the school district has an approved petition based on the university cap exemption after 2006.
Are there provisions for the continuity of H1B petitions in case there is a restriction of the company?
There is continuity in this case. An amended H-1B petition isn’t required when a new entity takes over the originally approved employer’s interests and responsibilities and whereas the conditions of employment are the same.
How does my employer—under section 105 portability provisions—complete the I-9 verification requirement?
This example is comparable to the 240-day grace period of 8 C.F.R. section 274.12(b)(20), which permits employment with the same employer for up to 240 days after an extension petition is filed.
Can I file multiple or duplicate petitions? What happens if I do?
Employers may not file more than once or duplicate H-1B visa petitions for the same employee. To ensure fairness, USCIS will deny multiple or duplicate petitions filed by an employer for the same H-1B worker.
Will I be refunded the fees for filing twice?
You will not receive a refund for these filing fees. The only time that a refund will be issued is:
- If the USCIS has asked for an unnecessary form that required a fee
- If the USCIS has asked for a fee that was greater than what is listed
- If the USCIS fails to process a petition filed with premium processing in the 15-day time period.
Where do I mail my H1B petition?
Your lawyer should have the correct service center’s information to file with, which will depend on the beneficiary’s work locations specified on the petition application.
When is the H1B visa 2021 lottery date expected?
Should no delays occur with the Biden Administration, the H-1B visa 2021 submission period is March 9–25, 2021.
What are the advantages of preparing early?
There are many advantages to preparing early. As with most situations in life, when you plan ahead of time, you’re better able to respond to challenges down the road. When it comes to employers, they can begin considering which one of their workers might require H-1B cap-subject filings. Foreign nationals and their respective employers should work side-by-side throughout the process to ensure all criteria are met.
Why work with an attorney for the registration process?
First, the USCIS will not consider a cap-subject H-1B petition to be properly filed unless it is based on a valid, selected registration for the same beneficiary and the appropriate fiscal year.
Proper registration includes ensuring the candidate is classified correctly under the master’s or bachelor’s cap. Only certain individuals qualify for the master’s cap despite having U.S. master’s degrees. Only a certain number of years of work experience equate to a bachelor’s degree. Corrections cannot be made to the registrations after they have been submitted. Incorrect registrations can result in case denials if the case is selected for filing.
Second, although petitioners can register multiple aliens during a single online submission, a petitioner may only submit one registration per beneficiary in any fiscal year. If a petitioner submits more than one registration per beneficiary in the same fiscal year, all registrations filed by that petitioner relating to that beneficiary for that fiscal year will be considered invalid.
Third, petitioners have a small window to ensure the cases have the proper strategies and all documents required. Having the proper case foundation at the outset is important whether the case is ultimately selected or not.
Hiring a qualified attorney to ensure that stage one of the process is handled correctly will prevent issues if the case is selected for filing.
What is the length of stay on an H1B visa 2021?
This visa is granted for up to three years with the option to extend it to a maximum of six years. There are select cases in which you may be granted a stay longer than six years. This is usually in conjunction with a pending I-140 petition so that you can maintain your status.
What fees are my employer responsible for?
Per immigration law, the employer is responsible for paying the training fee when applicable and the fraud fee.
Is premium processing an option?
Yes, you have the option to elect for premium processing at an additional cost of $2,500.
If I filed for premium processing, could I 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.
Who is responsible for setting the H1B Visa 2021 cap amounts?
Congress determines the current annual cap for the H-1B visa category. Also, remember that in accordance with the Free Trade Agreement, 6,800 visas are set aside for citizens of Chile and Singapore.
Certain H-1B workers who perform services for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and Guam may also be exempt from the cap under certain circumstances.
What is a Labor Condition Application (LCA)?
A Labor Condition Application is what your employer must certify and send when filing your petition. A copy of this document is also accepted. Always be mindful of the LCA processing times and plan your documentation accordingly.
To get an LCA, your employer must make all of the four attestations required for this application:
- That the H-1B employee will be paid the prevailing wage for the requested position according to the position’s geographic location.
- The H-1B employee’s employment will not negatively impact the working conditions of the current employees working for the employer.
- That the employees that are currently working for the employer have been notified of the intent to hire the H-1B employee.
- That the location in which the H-1B employee will be working is not under a strike or a lockdown.
Ultimately, the LCA serves to protect the current employees from incursions on their employment. By attesting that your employment is not to subvert or replace current employees’ work, this tells the USCIS that your employment will benefit the U.S. job economy rather than damage it.
Note that if the application is certified for multiple workers, you’re required to give the name and case receipt number of any worker who has previously used the LCA.
Am I permitted to have more than one sponsor for my H1B Visa?
According to current regulations, if you as the foreign worker intend to perform services for more than one employer, each one must file a separate petition. If you then receive both petitions approved and select one employer but later decide to leave that employer for the second one, no new petition is necessary.
However, if you choose to transfer your employment to an employer that has not yet filed a petition, you will need to have that employer file a new petition on your behalf.
How do I speed up or expedite my H1B transfer?
An H-1B transfer must follow the same process as you would for filing a new petition. One big difference between the regular H-1B filing and a transfer is that a transfer is not subject to the cap since it already has an H-1B status. Because of this, premium processing may be an effective way to shorten your H-1B transfer processing time in 2020.
Can I work for my employer anywhere in the country once my status is approved?
When USCIS approved your H-1B visa, they considered the specific location of employment as well as the qualifications and the prevailing wage for the area.
If the worksite changes, you must submit an amendment with certification for the new location during your employment. In some situations, you may be exempt from filing the amendment, but it’s best to contact your lawyer if the terms of your employment suddenly change.
Is there a reason some H1B petitions take longer than others?
Many people have questions regarding this topic. Say, for example, two petitions are filed at the same time. That doesn’t mean that they will necessarily be approved within the same time frame.
Why? Each USCIS service center has a different workload for H-1B visas in 2021, so it’s hard to know when the paperwork will be processed. For cases that are short on time, it’s best to consider premium processing.
How We Can Help Your H1B Visa 2021-22 Case
We have an excellent track record of gaining approvals in complex H-1B cases, including those sponsored by startup companies. We specialize in employment-based immigration, and our attorneys have extensive experience in devising creative strategies to overcome unique challenges faced by candidates from smaller technology companies, among many others. We ensure that all the paperwork and documentation are completed accurately and presented in the best possible way to maximize your approval chances.
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