Washington D.C. , Dec 7 : The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on Friday (local time) said that it has completed the process to implement the H-1B electronic registration process for the 2021 cap season.
The people seeking to apply for the H-1B visa for the fiscal year 2021will have to first electronically register and pay a processing fee of $10, the agency said.
H-1B is considered the most sought-after work visa among highly-skilled Indian professionals. It is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.
However, the visa does not provide any permanent path to citizenship for immigrant workers coming to the US.
An initial registration period for the visas will be opened from March 1 to 20, next year.
Only those with selected registrations will be eligible to file H-1B cap-subject petitions, the agency said.
"By streamlining the H-1B cap selection process with a new electronic registration system, USCIS is creating cost savings and efficiencies for petitioners and the agency, as only those selected will now be required to submit a full petition," said USCIS Deputy Director Mark Koumans.
"The agency completed a successful pilot testing phase, which included sessions with industry representatives, and implementation of the registration system will further the goal of modernising USCIS from a paper-based to an online-filing agency," Koumans added.
The USCIS will post step-by-step instructions informing registrants how to complete the registration process on its website along with key dates and timelines as the initial registration period nears.
The federal agency will also conduct public engagements and other outreach activities to ensure registrants and interested parties are familiar with the new registration system, it said.
The USCIS may determine if it is necessary to continue accepting registrations, or open an additional registration period, if it does not receive enough registrations and subsequent petitions projected to reach the numerical allocations, it added.
The H1B visa has an annual numerical limit cap of 65,000 visas each fiscal year as mandated by the Congress. The first 20,000 petitions filed on behalf of foreign nationals with a master's degree or higher from US universities are exempted from the cap.
In addition, institutions of higher education, nonprofit organisations that are related or affiliated to institutions of higher education, nonprofit research organisations, and governmental-research organisations are exempt from H-1B annual quotas.
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