Home Blog USCIS now Seeks H-1B Pre-Registration Fee from Petitioners

USCIS now Seeks H-1B Pre-Registration Fee from Petitioners

Posted November 15, 2019 - Vineesha Kakarlapudi

Finally, USCIS has confirmed about the H-1B pre-registration fee process from petitioners. The final rule, Registration Fee Requirement for Petitioners Seeking to File H-1B Petitions on Behalf of Cap-Subject Aliens, is effective Dec. 9, 2019.

USCIS now seeks H-1B Pre-Registration Fee from Petitioners

A Summary of the Final Rule:

This final rule amends the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations to require petitioners seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions to pay a $10 fee for each registration they submit to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for the H-1B cap selection process.

DHS has reviewed all of the public comments received in response to the proposed rule and has addressed a few of them. One of the response is as follows:

DHS believes that a $10 fee for each registration a U.S. employer chooses to submit would not be overly burdensome for employers. This system avoids the burdensome process of submitting a full, paper-based petition as required for possible selection under the current cap selection process.” 

Under this new rule, petitioners should fill an online registration form for all the H-1B applicants, including the cap-exempt. On the submission of this form, they have to pay a registration fee to the USCIS. The H-1B pre-registration fee is $10, and this is a non-refundable amount. USCIS says that this would help in making the electronic registration system effective for the petitioner and the agency. 

However, the USCIS is slated to implement the electronic registration process for the FY 2021 once testing was completed. It will also announce the time-period for the pre-registration in the Federal register once the formal decision is made. 

Merits of the Electronic Registration Process:

  • This registration process prohibits petitioners from adding duplicate petitions, which is often done to maximize the chances of approval.
  • This pre-registration process reduces employer’s time and effort, as they will fill out the entire petition only for those selected in the lottery. 

In addition to the H-1B pre-registration fee, USCIS has also announced a few other updates in the fee requirements:

  • USCIS has increased the premium processing fee from $1,410 to $1,440, which will be in effect from November 29th, 2019.
  • USCIS is going to charge a fee for an initial work authorization document related to an asylum application. 

DHS response for commentators’ concern on the H-1B Pre-registration Fee: 

Concern: Is batch payment allowed for multiple registrations?

DHS Response: The registration system will allow for batch payments to pay the fee for multiple registrations submitted simultaneously. For example, one registrant may submit five registrations at one time and make one payment of $50 for all registrations. There is no limit to the number of registrations that can be submitted at one time. Registrants can submit as many registrations in as many batches as they see fit during the registration period. For example, a registrant could submit five registrations and pay a $50 fee on March 2. A batch of five registrations on March 5 and pay another $50 fee, and a batch of eight registrations with an $80 fee on March 15.

Concern: Will this proposed rule impact small entities? 

DHS Response: With the registration system, and the lower nominal fee, the barrier to entry associated with the registration system could result in increased participation by small entities. As noted in the proposed rule, the new fee will impose a nominal compliance cost for any entity, including small entities, that choose to compete for an H-1B cap-subject visa. DHS maintains that the proposed fee will not impose a significant impact on small entities.

What do you think about the new H-1B pre-registration fee? Do let us know your views on it.