• 11 February 2019

H-1B Visa New Rules for Applying

The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has made a final decision on new rules and introduced a more efficient and effective H-1B visa program.

On January 30, DHS published the text of the final agreement on the rules regulating the submission of applications for an H-1B visa for public review.

The new rules give privileges to master's degree holders.

The order USCIS uses to select H-1B petitions will be changed

A new electronic registration process will be introduced for companies that want to apply for H-1B employees.

The resolution was published in the Federal Register on January 31 and will come into force on April 1, although the requirement for electronic registration will be postponed until the 2020 fiscal year.

Changes in the H1B visa approval and applying system

USCIS Director Francis Cissna said, "These simple and smart changes are a positive benefit for employers, the foreign workers they seek to employ, and the agency's adjudicators, helping the H-1B visa program work better. The new registration system, once implemented, will lower overall costs for employers and increase government efficiency. We are also furthering President Trump’s goal of improving our immigration system by making a simple adjustment to the H-1B cap selection process. As a result, U.S. employers seeking to employ foreign workers with a U.S. master’s or higher degree will have a greater chance of selection in the H-1B lottery in years of excess demand for new H-1B visas.”

Changes can be summarized as follows:

  • In April 2019, H-1B petitions in the categories of U.S. bachelors and masters will take part in the usual lottery. 65,000 petitions will be selected.
  • After these 65,000 petitions are selected for review, the USCIS will conduct a second lottery for an additional 20,000 H-1B visas for only candidates with a U.S. master's degree or higher.
  • instead of submitting petitions in April, employers wishing to file H-1B petitions for the 2021 fiscal year will have to pre-register in early 2020 to receive an H-1B petition number.
  • The USCIS will select 85,000 H-1B numbers among pre-registered companies. Only selected employers will be able to file a petition on April 1, 2020.

With the change in the lottery draw order, we expect that the number of holders of master’s degrees selected for review will increase by about 16%. The pre-registration rule, which will enter into force in early 2020, will reduce the number of petitions received by USCIS, as well as the time required to process petitions.

Experienced attorneys of the ACS Law Offices, Inc. will be more than happy to provide assistance to your company in filing H-1B petitions for your employees.