USCIS proposes H-1B lottery registration fee

By notice dated January 31, 2019, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in particular, issued a final rule changing the process by which H-1B cap subject petitions will be selected each fiscal year (FY). The final rule (1) adds a pre-registration process to the H-1B lottery, and (2) reverses the order by which H-1B petitions are selected in the lottery, thereby increasing the total number of beneficiaries with a master’s degree or higher from a U.S. college or university selected. USCIS implemented the reversed selection process for the FY 2020 H-1B cap filing season (April 2019), but opted to delay implementation of the final rule’s pre-registration requirement until at least the FY 2021 H-1B cap filing season (April 2020).

While the final rule did not propose a pre-registration fee, it did indicate a fee may be proposed at a later time. On September 4, 2019, USCIS proposed a rule that would require H-1B petitioners (or their agents) to pay a $10 fee for each registration submitted for the H-1B lottery.

The registration fee rule is not yet final, but will likely become final in the near future. It is not yet clear if USCIS will have the electronic pre-registration system in place in time for the FY 2021 H-1B cap filing season, although it appears USCIS has every intention of having the system in place by April 2020.