For years, American companies have used the H-1B visa program to employ highly specialized workers from other countries. Many applicants and their companies, however, experience frustration with the program’s inefficiency and cost. Historically, USCIS has required applicants to submit copious amounts of paperwork in the first stage, only to be rejected by a randomized selection process before any of their data was fully evaluated.
Recently, USCIS implemented several changes in the hopes of improving the visa application and distribution process, and the latest involves a mandatory electronic registration system.
After completing a test-run of the system, USCIS announced on December 6th that those hoping to obtain an H-1B visa in 2021 will need to electronically register in 2020 between March 1st and March 20th. This includes applicants who are eligible for the advanced degree exemption.
The registration fee is $10, and the system will require only basic information about the company and its potential employee. The lottery will then randomly select qualified applicants who registered using this system. Those who are chosen by the lottery can then file their completed H-1B cap-subject petitions.
Upon acceptance, H-1B visa holders can live and work in the U.S. for 3-6 years, depending on whether USCIS grants extensions to their initial stay. Many H-1B visa holders use this employment-based immigration status to petition for a Green Card (permanent residence).
Theoretically, this system will increase the efficiency of the application process. It will introduce a simplified and preliminary application procedure, and only those who are selected by the lottery will need to submit their completed application package. USCIS hopes that, by reducing paperwork and data collection, this system will save both the government and applicants from wasting time and money on unnecessary application procedures.
As the filing period approaches, USCIS will release step-by-step instructions and timeline updates. The agency plans to conduct community outreach programs to better inform the public about the new system.
Contact The Law Office of Zhang for Personalized Support
Are you concerned about how this change may affect your application? Get in touch with Attorney Zhang for additional information and skilled legal counsel. Because we are committed to our clients’ success, we are fully aware of every change USCIS makes to all aspects of immigration. These processes have experienced drastic transformations in recent years, and we will help you understand how these changes will affect your path and the way you achieve your immigration goals.
Schedule your complimentary online consultation or call our firm directly at (415) 761-2732 today.