H-1B Registration Process
In 2020 USCIS implemented an electronic registration process for the H-1B cap. Prospective petitioners seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions, including for beneficiaries eligible for the advanced degree exemption, must first electronically register and then pay the associated $10 H-1B registration fee for each beneficiary.
H-1B registration period opens on March 9, at noon ET.
We have previously covered this topic with generic information, it’s now updated with specific dates and timelines. You can find all the details here
We have also prepared a document checklist for both Registration and Petition: You Can use this H-1B Registration and Petition Checklist here
Since we are only filling Registration, hence we should be mindful of the information we are providing to USCIS. H-1B petitioners come from diverse cultures and backgrounds where western norms might not be common. For example, what if the petitioner only has one name?
We have tried to provide few practical tips for such instances and answer few questions about few complex scenarios.
Q1. What to enter into the system, if I do not have a last name?
- The first, middle, and last name fields will have checkboxes that indicate “Beneficiary does not have a first name” or “Beneficiary does not have a middle name” or “Beneficiary does not have a last name.”
- These boxes should be checked in these instances
- Do not enter placeholders, such as “FNU”, “LNU”, “Unknown” or “No Name Given.”
- However, that the beneficiary must have an actual value for at least one of the name fields (i.e., a petitioner cannot check all three boxes to indicate the Beneficiary has no first, middle, and last name)
Q2. Is there an appeal process for registrations determined to be invalid duplicates?
- Registrations that are determined to be duplicates will be invalid
- A registrant who submits duplicate registrations will not be able to appeal the invalidation
Q3. If I am registering for the master’s cap based on the expectation that I will earn a qualifying advanced degree, and selected under the master’s cap, but for some reason failed to obtain the qualifying advanced degree, is there a risk that the cap-subject H-1B petition will be denied?
- If a registration is submitted requesting consideration under the INA 214(g)(5)(C) advanced degree exemption because the beneficiary has earned, or will earn prior to the filing of the petition, a master’s or higher degree from a U.S. institution of higher education, and the registration is selected under the advanced degree exemption, the beneficiary must be eligible for the advanced degree exemption at the time of filing the I-129 petition
- If the beneficiary is selected under the advance degree cap and has not earned a qualifying master’s or higher degree from a U.S. institution of higher education at the time the petition is filed, the petition will be denied or rejected
Q4. What will happen if my prospective employer’s address on their registration and Form I-129 don’t match?
- Petitions will not be rejected solely because the petitioner’s address on the registration and the petition are not the same
- However, in such situations, petitioners should include:
(1) a statement with their petition, explaining why the address on the registration differs from the address on the petition and includes the petitioner’s Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN); and (2) supporting documentation (e.g., certificate of good standing or other official documentation) that verifies the correct address
- If USCIS is not able to determine that the petitioning entity is the same as the prospective petitioner identified on the selected registration, the petition may be rejected or denied
Q5. What will happen if there is a typo on the registration in comparison to the I-129, will USCIS reject the registration?
- Although USCIS will not automatically reject for typos on the registration in comparison to the I-129, the burden is on the registrant/petitioner to confirm that all registration and petition information is correct and to establish that the H-1B cap petition is based on a valid registration submitted for the beneficiary named in the petition and selected by USCIS
Q6. What about filing multiple H-1B petitions on behalf of the same beneficiary by related entities?
The prohibition on an employer or related entities filing multiple H-1B cap petitions on behalf of the same beneficiary has not changed and USCIS’ handling of multiple H-1B cap petitions is consistent with 8 CFR 214.2(h)(2)(i)(G) and Matter of S- Inc., Adopted Decision 2018-02 (AAO Mar. 23, 2018).
Q7. Where Should I file my Form I-129 and supporting documentation, if selected?
- You should file at the location indicated on the H-1B selection notice, which may be different from the historical Form I-129 filing jurisdictions for cap cases
- The USCIS “Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker” webpage has been updated to reflect that petitioners must file at the service center listed on their selection notice
Q8. What happens if a legal representative submits a registration for me but subsequently ceases to represent me?
- It is up to the representative and prospective petitioner to ensure that the prospective petitioner maintains access to submissions made on their behalf, and any updates related thereto
- If you no longer want your attorney involved, you can terminate the relationship with the representative, but you will still be able to see all registration information on your own registrant account
- Note, however, that it will not be possible to add a new attorney or representative to H-1B registrations prepared or submitted by the prior attorney
Q9. What if a prospective petitioner submits registrations on behalf of unrelated beneficiaries who happen to have the same name, date of birth, and no passport numbers, would those registrations be considered duplicates?
- Yes, if a prospective petitioner submits two registrations for individuals with the same name, date of birth, and no passport number, the registrations will be invalidated as duplicates
- Note, however, that registrants are required to provide the passport numbers or affirmatively indicate that the beneficiary does not have a passport number
- Passport numbers should help to avoid the scenario described in the question
- Note also that USCIS will be analyzing the data of submitted registrations for fraud trends
- Registrants who abuse or attempt to abuse the system may be referred to appropriate federal law enforcement agencies for investigation and further action as appropriate
Q10. Will the system prevent the representative and the registrant from both entering the same beneficiary?
- The system will not prevent a representative and a registrant from both registering the same beneficiary
- Your representative and you are responsible for ensuring that duplicate registrations are not submitted
Q11. I am a legal representative submitting the H-1B registration online and the G-28: How do I find my existing online account and account number?
- If you have paper-filed cases that are eligible to be added to your online account, your USCIS notices for those cases should include your online account number
- If you do not know your account number, this will not affect your H-1B registration. Click “No” to this question and move on to the next question
Q12. If I have an existing applicant my USCIS account, do I have to create an H-1B registrant account? What happens to my old account? Do I need to use a new email address to set up the H-1B registrant account?
- Yes, you will need to create a new account
- The existing applicant account type will not work for H-1B electronic registration
- You will also need to use a new email address to set up the H-1B registrant account type
Q13. What if I choose the wrong account type when I am creating a USCIS online account? Will I 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 accidentally choose the incorrect account type, you may use a new email address to create a new account in my USCIS and choose the correct account type
- Consider visiting the H-1B Electronic Registration Process page to read instructions, view videos, and download step-by-step presentations about the different account types and how to set up an account, before setting up an account
Q14. 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
Q15. Is the G-28 client passcode sent to the client?
- No, the client passcode is not sent directly to the client. When the legal representative submits the G-28, the system will generate the client passcode
- The legal representative will need to share this passcode with the client, so the client can add them as a representative and have access to review and approve the draft H-1B registration and G-28
Q16. As a legal representative, how will I know that my client has gone in and approved my G-28 and the H-1B registrations?
- You can log into your account to check if the client has approved the G-28 and the H-1B registrations
- You will not get a specific notification from the USCIS system
Q17. Can an attorney later represent a client for an I-129 petition if the client completed the H-1B electronic registration process without the help of the attorney?
- The attorney, however, would need to file a G-28 with the Form I-129 H-1B petition to authorize their representation
- Note that even if the attorney submitted a G-28 to represent a client for the registration process, they would still need to submit a new G-28 with the I-129 petition
Q18. If 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
Q19. What happens to my registration submission if the payment fails to initially go through?
- If your payment initially fails or is canceled before it can be processed on Pay.gov, you will see a payment failure notification on the screen and your registration will not be submitted
- Your registration data will be available in your account for 30 days from the date you last worked on your registrations
- You can sign in to your account at any time before the initial registration period closes to try the payment and registration submission again
- All registrations and payments must be submitted successfully before the initial registration period closes for consideration in the initial registration period selection process
- It is your responsibility to submit valid payment.
- When paying by check, please be sure to enter the bank routing number and bank account number accurately
- While the status of the registration in the system will indicate “submitted” following completion of the Pay.gov payment process, the submission will only be valid once your payment clears
- If your checking information is not accurate, your payment will be declined when presented to your financial institution
- If your payment is declined, your H-1B registration will be invalidated.
- If payment is completed with a credit card or debit card, the status of the registration in the system will indicate “submitted” following completion of the Pay.gov payment process
- The submission, however, will only be valid once the processing of the payment is completed.
- If the payment is later declined or disputed, the registration will be invalidated
If your payment fails, USCIS will attempt to notify you, however, the burden will be on you to determine the status of your required payment. If your registration is invalidated while the registration period is still open, you will be able to submit a new registration with a valid payment.
If your registration is invalidated due to a failed payment after the registration period closes, you will not be able to submit a new registration. Registrations can be submitted and paid for until the initial registration period closes.
Q20. How should a registrant with a selected registration notify USCIS if they do not intend to file a petition?
- A: 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 the question
Q21. 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?
- 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 (registrant) at the registration stage must match to the petitioner at the Form I-129 stage
Q22. How will USCIS handle successor-in-interest issues for H-1B cap registrations, for example when Company A submits a registration which gets selected but then is purchased by Company B before the H-1B cap petition is filed for the selected registration?
- As noted on the H-1B Cap Season Page, petitioners must ensure that any information provided during the electronic registration process matches the information on the petition
- If any information does not match, the petitioner should provide an explanation with their petition and supporting documentation as to why there was a change or why the information does not match
- If the information on the registration and petition does not match, USCIS may reject or deny the petition
- USCIS will, however, allow a valid successor in interest (SII) to file the petition. USCIS will determine whether the petitioner qualifies as a valid SII to the registration based on a review of the particular facts involved
If you have any question or comments about H-1B registration, eligibility, or have questions about the Green Card procedure in general, you can schedule a consultation with us:
Due to popular demand (and a few e-mails from people who could not join the H-1B webinar I hosted 3 weeks ago), I decided to have another H-1B CAP webinar on February 25, 2021, at 12 PM (CST).
I will cover the following topics:
- H-1B Registration
- Information about the selection process
- H-1B Requirements for the Employer and the Employee
- Tips to avoid an RFE
- Considerations for OPT students
- Q &A
If you are interested, and could not make the previous webinar, you can register here: