USCIS Proposes Employer Registration Fee for Next Year’s H-1B Visa Lottery


USCIS’s fee proposal for employers to complete the online registration process for next year’s H-1B visa lottery has been approved by the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”).   The amount of the fee, which would be paid in addition to the filing, training, and anti-fraud fees for each H-1B petition, has not yet been announced. Publication of the proposed rule in the Federal Register is anticipated in the coming days after which the public has a period of time (usually about 60 days) to comment on the proposed rule before it is finalized.

According to the USCIS, initial public feedback suggested that the fee would help combat abuse of the registration process.

By way of background, earlier this year, USCIS published a new rule changing the way the annual H-1B visa lottery would be conducted.  Specifically, the following changes were made: 

  • Online registration with USCIS:  Beginning in April 2020, the regulation requires H-1B employers to complete an online registration form with USCIS to sponsor a H-1B worker in the annual visa lottery.  Of those registered, only those selected by lottery will proceed to the full application stage. 

  • Changing order in which H-1B petitions for US advanced degree holders are selected: USCIS has switched the order in which it selects the H-1B visa petitions. Starting this year, it first selects the 65,000 H-1B visa petitions (minus 6,800 for nationals of Singapore and Chile) from all H-1B petitions filed and then selects the 20,000 H-1B petitions for beneficiaries with U.S. graduate degrees. USCIS believes this switch will result in more foreign nationals with U.S. graduate degrees obtaining H-1B visas, which aligns with President Trump’s “Buy American and Hire American” Executive Order.

This alert is for informational purposes only.  If you would like to discuss this development further, please contact us.