The H-1B visa program allows US companies to become employers for foreign employees that are taking on occupations that are specialized. These specialty occupations require the specialized knowledge of the candidate and are seen in positions such as economist, scientist or engineer. There is a very limited number of visas available for new H-1B workers each fiscal year (October 1 to September 30). Because of the high demand, the USCIS conducts an annual “lottery” to allocate these visas (H-1B cap registration). With some exceptions, most employers must participate in the H-1B CAP registration and selection process.
The online registration period for H-1B cap selection for the upcoming fiscal year began on March 1st and lasts until this Friday, March 18th. Registrations are to be submitted electronically through the USCIS portal website. There is a registration fee of $10 which is non-refundable. Employers who are filing this on behalf of their foreign nationals will have to first electronically register each potential candidate and then pay a $10 fee as mentioned above.
The H-1B cap consists of 85,000 allotted visas. 65,000 of which are issued to the general bachelor's degree candidate pool whilst the additional 20,000 are issued to those holding a US master's degree or higher. The lottery results of who has been selected will be announced on March 31st. Those selected must file petitions between April 1 and June 30, with an employment start date of October 1, 2022.
Filings that are not selected in this preliminary computer-generated lottery will be held “in reserve” in case visas become available because initial petitions are not filed or approved. Depending on how the numbers look, the USCIS can repeat this process to fill their annual quotas for each lottery.
For a chance of selection in this year's H-1B cap lottery, employers must apply now as the March 18 deadline is firm. Below are resources on how to register for the H-1B lottery.
This article is provided as an educational service and is not legal advice. Consult with an attorney for your specific circumstances. For a comprehensive evaluation of your immigration situation and options, you are invited to email us at [email protected] or complete our contact form.