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H-1B Lottery Season Is Approaching H-1B Lottery Season Is Approaching

H-1B Lottery Season Is Approaching

The H-1B Visa is the “workhorse” of nonimmigrant visa classifications, allowing employers to attract or retain highly skilled IT professionals, accountants, architects, business/operations analysts, designers, doctors, engineers, lawyers, researchers, teachers, and many other professionals to work in the United States. 

The H-1B Registration Lottery is held each year for foreign national talent employed or offered a specialty occupation position (a position that requires a bachelor's or higher degree in a related academic field) to provide for the opportunity to work in H-1B status. The reason for the lottery is to provide the government a mechanism to randomly allocate the limited number (85,000) of H-1B visas to the approximately 490,000 annual lottery registrants. In 2022, on average there was a 17 percent chance of securing a selection through the H-1B lottery. Given this reality, it is wise for employers to register for the H-1B lottery at the first opportunity, notwithstanding the fact that the employee’s work authorization may not be expiring in this upcoming year. It is also wise to do contingency planning should the employee be nearing their employment authorization expiration date.    

The H-1B Visa Lottery Works as Follows: Using an online registration system, employers will enter their employees in a lottery during the first two or three weeks of March. Registrants will be selected at the end of March. Following selection, there will then be a 90-day window for employers to file any H-1B petitions for employees selected in the H-1B lottery. 

Consider the Following Foreign National (FN) Employees: (1) FN employees who were not selected in previous lotteries; (2) FN employees who are currently working abroad; (3) FN employees in F-1 student status currently using OPT, STEM OPT, or CPT work authorization; (4) FN employees in TN, E-3, or a dependent to a principal visa holder (H-4, L-2, E-3D, etc.) working on an EAD; and finally, (5) FN employees who you may consider for green card sponsorship in the future.

H-1B Registration Timeline:
  • February: Work with the Ice Miller legal team, company stakeholders, and foreign national candidates to ensure the best immigration strategy.
  • Last week in February: Employers can begin creating H-1B registrant accounts (if you are new to the H-1B lottery, we will guide you through this process). 
  • First two weeks in March: H-1B registration period whereby registrants can complete and submit for the H-1B lottery.
  • March 31: Date by which USCIS intends to notify selected registrants.
  • October 1: The earliest possible start date for a successful H-1B petition (if your registration was selected and the petition approved).
If you have questions about the H-1B lottery process, please reach out to Ken Robinson or the Workplace Solutions lawyer you regularly work with. 

This publication is intended for general information purposes only and does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice. The reader should consult with legal counsel to determine how laws or decisions discussed herein apply to the reader's specific circumstances.
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