Virginia, US

Mar 06 2020

H-1B Cap Update: First Week of Cap Registration Sees Some Technical Issues, New Terms of Use

United States

At a glance

  • Employers and immigration counsel experienced system slowdowns and other technical issues during the first week of H-1B cap registration for FY 2021, but USCIS has been working to resolve these issues. As with any new online system, continued technical problems are possible during the remaining weeks of the registration period.
  • Days before the March 1 opening of cap registration, USCIS unveiled new Terms of Use (TOU) for the online system, which confirm that users may not share passwords or grant others access to their registration accounts.  Employers should be sure to read the TOU carefully to ensure that they are in compliance.

The issue

Since USCIS opened the H-1B cap registration system on March 1, employers and immigration counsel have been preparing cap registrations amid some system slowdowns and technical problems.  USCIS officials have been working to resolve these issues, but as with any new online system, further slowdowns and issues are possible during the remaining weeks of the registration period, which closes on March 20.

Just before the system was opened to FY 2021 cap registrations, USCIS issued new Terms of Use (TOU) for all accountholders, including company representatives and immigration counsel.  The new TOU reaffirms that system users may not share passwords or grant others access to their registration accounts.  Only the individual who owns the account may use it to draft, approve, sign and/or submit H-1B cap registrations.

With two weeks remaining in the FY 2021 cap registration period, employers should take the following steps to minimize problems and delays during the registration process.

Read the new Terms of Use for the USCIS cap registration system 

Each company official with a USCIS cap registration account must review the new USCIS TOU to ensure that they are in compliance. Keep account logins and passwords secure, and do not share them with others.

Review draft registrations promptly

When your organization’s Fragomen attorney finishes drafting an H-1B cap registration, the company’s designated signatory must log into the USCIS system to review, approve and e-sign the registration. This is also the time to determine whether any changes need to be made to the company’s registration. 

The registration period is brief, so each company signatory should review registrations as soon as requested to do so by the Fragomen attorney. All H-1B cap registrations for FY 2021 must be approved and submitted by noon ET on March 20. See Fragomen’s H-1B cap registration guide for instructions on reviewing and approving registrations.

Make sure you have an “H-1B registrant” account in the USCIS system 

You will not be able to review or approve cap registrations drafted by your immigration counsel unless your USCIS account type is “H-1B registrant.” If you do not recall whether you selected the H-1B registrant type when you set up your account, you will be able to determine whether your account is the correct type when you enter a registration passcode provided by your immigration counsel. The passcode should be accepted by the system if you have an H-1B registrant account. If you have any other type of USCIS account, you should receive an error message informing you that your account is the wrong type.

If you mistakenly created the wrong type of USCIS account – e.g., as an “applicant, petitioner or requestor” – you will need to set up a new account as an H-1B registrant. The USCIS system does not permit you to change the account type of your existing account.  If you have not yet created a registrant account or need to create a new account, follow Fragomen’s instructional guide. You will need a unique email address for any new account you create; an email address cannot be used for more than one account.

Troubleshoot and report technical issues

If you are experiencing problems using the USCIS registration site or your account, try the following:

  • Clear your browser cache. 
  • Avoid using your link history to access the USCIS registration site.  Each time you access the cap registration site, use the main URL for the site - https://my.uscis.gov/. Using links from your browser history can lead to problems in accessing or viewing your account.
  • Enter registration passcodes manually.  When your immigration counsel provides you with a passcode to review a draft registration, enter each character manually. Using the copy-and-paste function may cause the passcode to be rejected.
  • Report persistent technical problems.  If you experience any persistent technical problem with the cap registration system, send an email to the USCIS help desk at https://my.uscis.gov/account/v1/needhelp and notify your Fragomen attorney.



Fragomen is closely monitoring the H-1B cap registration process and will provide updates throughout the registration period. 

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions about cap registration, please contact the immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen.