An advance copy of the finalized H-1B preregistration rule is now available, and confirms that USCIS will defer online H-1B cap registration to the FY 2021 H-1B cap filing season, which begins April 1, 2020. This means that H-1B cap cases filed in April 2019 will be filed using the same process as in prior years, with petitioners submitting a complete H-1B petition together with filing fees to be eligible for selection in the H-1B lottery.
Under the terms of the new regulation, however, USCIS will be implementing for this year’s H-1B cap cycle a change that will reverse the order of the H-1B cap lotteries. USCIS will first run the lottery for the 65,000 regular H-1B numbers, and all filers will be eligible to be selected in that lottery. Petitions for individuals holding an advanced U.S. degree who are not selected in the regular lottery will then be eligible to be selected in the lottery for the 20,000 H-1B numbers reserved for U.S. advanced degree holders. This change to the lottery procedure is expected to make it more likely that a petition for an individual holding a U.S. advanced degree will be selected in the lottery.
The final rule is expected to be published in the Federal Register on January 31, 2019. Please contact SPS Immigration if you have questions on how this impacts your FY 2020 H-1B Cap filings.