On October 1, 2020 the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS) will release the H-1B visa numbers for the 2021 fiscal year. While October may seem like a long way away, H-1B cap-subject petitions must be registered between March 1 - 20, 2020 in order to be included in the lottery.
This will be the first year that H-1B cap-subject petitions will be pre-registered. Following the March registration period the USCIS will then conduct the lottery and notify us of which individuals were selected. We should then have at least 90 days to prepare and file the H-1B petitions for individuals who were selected in the lottery.
As with last year, the USCIS will first conduct the lottery for the 65,000 quota. Thereafter, any individuals not selected and who have earned a masters degree or higher from a U.S. university will then be included in the advanced degree quota for an additional 20,000 visas. Conducting the lotteries in this order favors those with advanced U.S. degrees.
The U.S. advanced degree must be completed before the H-1B petition is submitted to the USCIS. It does not have to be completed at the time of the registration in March.
There are still not a lot of details available regarding the new H-1B lottery process, and the system that will be used to register the petitions has not yet been released. As more information becomes available, we will provide additional updates.
Last year, over 201,011 petitions were received by the USCIS during the first week of April 2019. At the end of that week the USCIS conducted a lottery to determine which of the petitions received would be awarded one of the available H-1B visa numbers. Following the conclusion of the lottery, approximately two thirds of the petitions that were submitted were rejected as the H-1B quota had been exhausted.
This year, it is anticipated that a similar (or indeed greater) number of H-1B petitions will be registered for the lottery.
If you need to include any individuals in the lottery
and have not informed me about them, kindly send
an email with the information/documents listed below for each person you would like us to register for the H-1B lottery this year. This includes F-1 students whom you currently employ under Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT), as well as employees who may be working under a different visa category such as J-1, L-1, E, TN, etc. Any individual who has not previously held H-1B status is subject to the H-1B quota.
- Full name
- Email address
- Up-to-date, detailed resume/CV
- Proposed job description with title
- Address(es) of all work location(s)
Please provide this information by January 31, 2020.
Due to high demand for the limited number of H-1B visa numbers, employers should not wait until an employee has only one chance left for an H-1B visa.
We have been maintaining a list of potential H-1B petitions for any employees that you have already brought to our attention and will contact the representatives of each employer shortly so that you can determine if you ant us to proceed with registering those individuals for the lottery and/or if there are any additional individuals you would like added to the list. We will then plan to register those individuals in the H-1B lottery in March.
USCIS has indicated that the lottery will be completed by March 31, 2020. Once the USCIS notifies us regarding the results of the lottery, we will then send case initiations to those who were selected to collect the additional information and documents we will need to prepare and file the H-1B petitions (including the LCAs) during the filing window.
If an individual is not registered for the H-1B lottery during the March 1 - 20, 2020 registration window, they will not be included in the lottery this year.