What is the H-1B visa?
The H-1B visa is a nonimmigrant work visa that allows U.S. employers to hire foreign workers for specialty jobs that require a bachelor’s degree or equivalent. This includes occupations such as IT, finance, engineering, architecture, etc.
In order to be eligible for the H1B visa, you will need the following:
- A job offer from a U.S. employer for a role that requires specialty knowledge
- Proof of a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in that field
- Your employer must show that there is a lack of qualified U.S. applicants for the role
H-1B Registration Process
To file H-1B petitions subject to the FY2024 cap for an employee, you must first electronically register and pay a $10 fee for each electronic registration. The electronic registration includes basic information about the employer and employee. If prepared by an attorney, the process requires an electronic handshake between the employer and attorney. Registrations must be submitted between March 1 and March 17, 2023.
When you register, you must pay a non-refundable $10 fee online for each registration using the pay.gov portal. Payment can be made via ACH transfer from a bank account, a credit card, or a debit card. This fee is in addition to the filing fees you will have to pay later with the petition if the employee is selected in the cap lottery. If an attorney is filing on your behalf, please consult with the attorney about how this payment will be made.
Please note: employers are prohibited from submitting more than one registration for the same prospective H-1B employee. If an employer or its attorney submits more than one registration for the same H-1B candidate in a fiscal year, all registrations for that candidate will be invalid. USCIS has created a tool to allow employers and their attorneys to check for duplicate registrations.
The Lottery and Filing Petitions
After the registration period, USCIS will randomly select registrations from the ones it has received and will electronically notify you or your attorney if your employee has been selected. This will happen no later than March 31, 2023. If your employee’s registration is selected, then you will have at least 90 days to file a fully prepared H-1B cap-subject petition for the employee starting April 1. If your employee’s registration is not selected, the registration will be maintained until USCIS determines that it has received enough petitions to meet the cap. Once the cap has been reached, registrations that were not selected will be updated online as “not selected.”
What Should I Do Now?
Schedule a meeting with your attorney’s office before the registration period to discuss prospective H-1B petitions and whether the job and the individual would qualify for an H-1B. You should also discuss the timing of filing your H-1B petition with your attorney. To do this, you should:
- Gather all relevant information about the job and the prospective employee’s qualifications
- Starting at 12:00 noon (ET) on February 21, set up an employer account on myUSCIS as an “H-1B registrant.” See USCIS’s PowerPoint presentation for more details.
- Call your attorney’s office with any questions.
Be prepared to discuss your expectations for processing your registration and how quickly a petition needs to be filed if selected. Your attorney can also discuss options if your registration is not selected.
Important Registration Dates
- February 21: Employers may begin creating myUSCIS H-1B registration accounts
- March 1: Registration period opens at 12:00 noon (ET)
- March 17: Registration period closes at 12:00 noon (ET)
- By March 31: USCIS conducts the lottery and electronically notifies selected registrants
- April 1: Filing period begins for selected cases ONLY
If you have questions about the H-1B visa process, please reach out to Roach & Bishop Law Offices at 509.547.7587.