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DHS Finalizes H-1B Cap Registration Fee

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is moving forward with plans to impose a $10 non-refundable fee for each H-1B registration submitted by petitioning employers in the forthcoming H-1B cap registration portal, according to a rule that will be published in the Federal Register on November 8.  The $10 fee will become mandatory when USCIS implements the new H-1B cap registration requirement, the timeline for which has not yet been announced.

Earlier this week, Acting USCIS Director Kenneth T. Cuccinelli indicated that his agency plans to implement the registration requirement for the FY 2021 cap season, provided that the online registration technology is ready for public use. The agency is expected to announce before the end of this year whether it will use the registration tool in the upcoming cap season.   

Making a payment in the H-1B cap registration portal

Employers will be required to pay a $10 non-refundable fee for each H-1B cap registration at the time of submission in the H-1B online registration portal. This payment – which can be submitted by the employer or an attorney with a G-28 Notice of Entry of Appearance on file – can be made by credit or debit card, or from a checking or savings account. Cash, certified (bank) checks and money orders will not be accepted. 

If registration is implemented for the FY 2021 cap season, USCIS is expected to conduct stakeholder outreach and training on the payment process. 

What this means for employers

It is still not certain whether USCIS will implement H-1B cap registration and the related $10 fee during the FY 2021 cap season, which begins in early 2020, though clarity on this is expected by the end of this year. Because USCIS could elect to postpone implementation once again, employers should prepare for the possibility that they will need to file complete H-1B petitions for all foreign nationals they intend to sponsor for the H-1B cap, as in past years.

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