It’s time to start planning for the annual H-1B cap lottery, set to take place in just over a month.
As a reminder, there are a limited number of H-1B visas available each fiscal year under federal regulation, with each year’s quota becoming available April 1 for employment commencing October 1. Every year, the number of H-1B registrations greatly exceeds the number of cap-subject H-1B visas available, and it’s unlikely this year will be any different. We are encouraging our clients to begin preparing now, especially as H-1B candidates this year may have multiple employment offers to choose from.
Once again, employers interested in sponsoring H-1B workers will need to register each candidate during a two-week registration period in March. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has not announced the exact dates yet for this year. Prior to registration, employers must create an account with the USCIS online. For first-time registrants, we recommend contacting our office for assistance.
After registration closes, USCIS will conduct the random lottery selection process, and employers whose registrations are selected will be able to file H-1B petitions for the selected registrations over a 90-day filing period from April 1 to June 30.
Last year the USCIS conducted additional lottery selections during July, and again in November, due to low filing volume from the initial selections. We expect a similar protocol will be followed this year.
If you are planning to file an H-1B cap petition this year and would like our firm’s assistance, please contact me or any member of our Immigration Practice Group, so we can ensure you are prepared for the upcoming registration process.