January 2020

USCIS has confirmed they will open the new H-1B Lottery pre-registration portal on March 1, 2020. The H-1B visa is available to companies wishing to hire a foreign worker to fill a “specialty occupation” which is defined as a position that requires “(a) theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and (b) attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.”

The pre-registration portal will close on March 20, after which the regulatory allotment of 65,000 H-1B petitions and 20,000 advanced degree exceptions cases will be selected via lottery for processing.  Applicants selected will then be notified of the 90 day filing window to submit the full H-1B petition.

While the pre-registration process will simplify some of the front-end paperwork required to submit an H-1B cap case, we encourage employers to start now identifying the employees who need H-1B sponsorship to allow for proper vetting of H-1B applicants and positions prior to submission in the pre-registration portal. 

Suggestions for Employers

  • Review hiring needs and current employment rosters to identify those employees who will need H-1B work authorization for continued employment. 
  • Identify employees who are currently employed on F-1 OPT or CPT authorization, or other classification (such as L-1, TN, H-4 EAD) and determine if the company intends to employ them beyond the current work authorization expiration.
  • Determine anticipated job titles, job duties, work location and rate of pay.
  • Notify your immigration attorney with the list of employees the company wishes to sponsor for evaluation of qualifications for H-1B status.


For more information on the H-1B process, contact your Polsinelli attorney or a member of the Polsinelli Immigration practice group.