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H-1B Registration Update – Tips and Pointers

Our law firm successfully submitted the first batch of registrations on Sunday, March 1, when USCIS opened the H-1B registration system. Ten days have passed since then. The online system, being brand new, experienced intermittent technical glitches. USCIS managed to fix some of the problems. However, additional slowdowns and issues are possible during the remaining 10 days of the registration period, which closes on March 20.

Our Tips and Pointers

Based on our experience, we suggest that employers should consider the following steps to minimize problems and delays during the registration process.

Tip #1: Make sure you create an “H-1B Registrant” account

In order to review and e-sign cap registrations drafted by your immigration law firm, the employer must have the USCIS account type as “H-1B registrant.” If you mistakenly created any other type of USCIS account - e.g., as an “applicant, petitioner or requestor” - an error message appears when you enter the passcode provided by your attorney. This prevents you from continuing to review and approve registrations. The online system does not allow changing the account type.

Tip #2: Getting help with account access and other technical issues

USCIS provides two ways to get in touch. 1) Call USCIS Customer Service at 1-800-375-5283; 2) Send an email to USCIS Help Desk at https://my.uscis.gov/account/v1/needhelp

Unfortunately, no specially dedicated technical support had been set up for H-1B registration. The telephone number is a generic one shared by all USCIS customers. Call volume tends to be high. Once a problem is reported, USCIS typically completes the work order in 3 business days.

Tip #3: Review draft registrations sooner than later

The registration period will end by noon EST on March 20. When the employer’s law firms finishes drafting an H-1B cap registration, the company’s designated signatory must log into his/her USCIS account to review, and e-sign. This is also the time to review and make sure there is no duplicate, as duplicate registrations will be deemed invalid. There is no appeal for the invalidation.

Tip #4: Post-registration steps to consider

USCIS intends to release H-1B lottery results on or about March 31. The “SELECTED” cases can file full application within a 90-day period. Starting early allows the attorneys to identify potential issues that would take time to resolve. For example, a FEIN clearance may be necessary, if it’s the first time a company files an H-1B petition. The applicant’s foreign credentials may need to be assessed by a degree evaluation company. If the applicant held J-1 visa in the past, a waiver may need to be applied for as soon as possible. There may a gap in the approved dates for employment, and the company can plan for a workaround in advance.

To learn more about what we can do for you and to receive a free evaluation, please email your inquiry or call us. Attorney Wang will personally reply, typically within 24-48 hours.

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DISCLAIMER: Information contained on this site is intended to educate the general public only and does not constitute legal advice. Readers are encouraged to seek advice and counsel from a law firm with experience in immigration and nationality law.