This year, USCIS is implementing a new application process for cap-subject H-1B visa petitions for FY 2021.  This will be a two-step application process, and the first step begins NEXT WEEK on March 1, 2020 and runs through March 20.

H-1B petitioners must register with USCIS electronically and pay a $10 fee for every beneficiary applying for an H-1B visa.  An application for each H-1B worker must be submitted separately, even if working for the same employer.  If the number of applicants exceeds the number of annual cap-subject H-1B visas – which is extremely likely to happen – there will be an electronic lottery wherein 85,000 total applicants will be randomly selected to file completed H-1B petitions.  20,000 visas are allocated to beneficiaries with advanced degrees of US master’s degrees or higher or the degree’s equivalent, and applicants with US bachelor’s degrees or higher or its equivalent are eligible for the remaining 65,000 slots. 

What is also different this year is that those with degrees beyond a bachelor’s degree or its equivalency get two shots at the lottery.  The first 20,000 visas are selected, and then all applicants with these advanced degrees not chosen get a second chance to be selected in the general lottery.

For step-by-step instructions for how to register for the H-1B electronic application process that begins next week, reference  The first step is to set up an online USCIS account.

USCIS states that all selected applicants will be notified by March 31, 2020.  Applicants selected will then have 90 days to submit their complete H-1B petitions, but USCIS will begin accepting completed petitions on April 1, 2020.

The sooner the complete H-1B petition is submitted the better.  For the past two years, applicants have been receiving record rates of RFEs, and record rates of second rounds of RFEs.  This has forced many H-1B employers to push back their employees’ start dates, which completely throws a monkey wrench in employers’ workflow, and the workflow of employers’ clients and customers.  The sooner your petition, or your employee or client’s complete petition is ready to submit, the better.  To prevent an RFE – or two, or even three rounds of RFEs – be sure to include in every complete petition:

  1. A credential evaluation that closes ANY gaps between your education, or your employee or client’s education and the H-1B job.  This means that if the degree earned is in a different major than the field of the H-1B job, is generalized or incomplete, if there is no college degree or the degree was earned at an unaccredited school, or if the degree was earned outside of the United States, a credential evaluation written uniquely to address the beneficiary’s education, work experience, job, and visa requirements is necessary.
  2. An expert opinion letter that validates that the job does in fact meet H-1B specialty occupation requirements, the wage level is set appropriately, and that the situation constitutes an employer-employee relationship.

At we have experts and credential evaluators on hand 24/7 to write the evaluations and opinion letters you need, or your employee or client needs to get that petition submitted as soon as possible.  We offer rush delivery options to meet your needs at reasonable prices, each credential evaluation is written uniquely and thoroughly researched, and all of our experts have extensive field experience.

For a free review of your case, or your employee or client’s case, simply reply to this email or visit  We will get back to you in 48 hours or less.

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