UNITED STATES: USCIS Fiscal Year 2021 H-1B Cap Petitions May Be Submitted as of 1 April

April 2, 2020

On 1 April 2020, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that H-1B cap-subject petitions for fiscal year (FY) 2021, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption, may now be submitted to USCIS if based on a valid selected registration.

How Does it Work?

An applicant is only eligible to submit an FY 2021 H-1B cap-subject petition if they electronically registered the beneficiary in the H-1B registration process and USCIS selected the registration submitted for the beneficiary through the random selection process.

On 27 March 2020, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it had received enough electronic registrations during the initial period to reach the FY 2021 H-1B numerical allocations (H-1B cap). USCIS then randomly selected from among the registrations properly submitted and notified petitioners with selected registrations.

Registrants’ online accounts now show one of the following statuses for each registration:

  • Submitted: A registration status may continue to show “Submitted” after the initial selection process has been completed. “Submitted” registrations will remain in consideration for selection until the end of the fiscal year, at which point all registration statuses will be Selected, Not Selected, or Denied.
  • Selected: Selected to file an FY 2021 H-1B cap-subject petition.
  • Denied: A duplicate registration was submitted by the same registrant for the same beneficiary, or a payment method was declined and not reconciled. If denied as a duplicate registration, all registrations you submitted for this beneficiary for the fiscal year are invalid.

An H-1B cap-subject petition must be properly filed within the period indicated on the relevant registration selection notice (at least 90 days). Online filing is not available for H-1B petitions, which must be submitted by paper with a printed copy of the applicable registration selection notice with the FY 2021 H-1B cap-subject petition.

Selection in the registration process does not relieve the petitioner from submitting evidence or otherwise establishing eligibility for petition approval, as registration only pertains to eligibility to submit the H-1B cap-subject petition.


  • Due to COVID-19, USCIS will temporarily accept all benefit forms, including Form 1-129 for H-1B cap petitions, with reproduced original signatures. (Employers must still retain the original documents containing the “wet” signature to provide to USCIS if requested at a later date.)
  • Effective 20 March 2020 USCIS has temporarily suspended premium processing service for all Form I-129 and I-140 petitions until further notice. This means that all H-1B cap petitions must be submitted under “regular” processing. If premium processing is later reinstated, employers may have the option of interfiling a premium processing request (with the applicable $1440 filing fee) to obtain a decision in 15 days.

Our Advice

Employers who may be affected are encouraged to contact a Newland Chase immigration specialist for case-specific advice.

For general advice and information on immigration and business travel to the US, please contact us.