H-1B Cap 2020 (FY2021) – Information for Our Clients

The 2020 (Fiscal Year 2021) H-1B cap marks a shift in how H-1B cap subject petitions will be accepted. In the past, a full H-1B petition was required to be submitted for processing in the first week of April. This year, H-1B cap subject cases will be submitted via an online registration process for a $10 fee between March 1st and March 20th. A lottery will be held at the end of March, and those who are selected must submit a petition within 90 days.

For more information from USCIS on the new process, please see: USCIS Announces Implementation of H-1B Electronic Registration Process for Fiscal Year 2021 Cap Season

Note that at the time of writing, many of the details are still being worked out. We expect to update this page as more information is released.

Here are answers to some of the Frequently Asked Questions:

How many H-1B visas are available?

There are 65,000 regular H-1B cap visas, and an additional 20,000 U.S. Master’s H-1B cap visas. If you hold a U.S. Master’s degree or higher, you have two chances to be selected – first in the U.S. Master’s cap, then again in the regular cap.

What are my chances of being selected?

Last year in FY 2020 (filed in 2019), 190,098 applications were received for the 85,000 available H-1B visas. There may be more applicants this year due to the inexpensive registration process, but we will have to wait and see.

When will I find out if I’ve been selected? 

USCIS has indicated the lottery will be conducted on March 31, 2020. We expect to hear that day or soon after, but are waiting for more information from USCIS to be sure.

If I am selected, what happens next?

Once you are selected in the registration lottery we will work closely with you and your employer to put together a full H-1B petition (and H-4 dependent application if required). We will work together to file as quickly as possible. We will have 90 days to complete this step, but anticipate filing most cases well before 90 days have passed.

How long will it take to receive a decision on my case?

USCIS is reporting that H-1Bs are taking 6.5-8.5 months to process at this time. Please note that this time frame will change based on the volume of cases received, and may speed up or slow down based on USCIS workload. If premium processing is requested (if available – please see the following FAQ), you can expect an initial decision within 15 calendar days of filing.

Can I upgrade to premium processing?

In years past, premium processing has been suspended for H-1B cap petitions. At this time, premium processing is available. Please contact us to upgrade your petition. If premium processing is suspended for H-1B cap petitions we will let you know.

What happens if my case receives a request for evidence (RFE)?

If your case receives a request for evidence, we will work with you and your employer to respond. Please know that RFEs are increasingly common, and should be expected as a strong possibility.