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H-1B Lottery Season Is Here Again H-1B Lottery Season Is Here Again

H-1B Lottery Season Is Here Again

The H-1B visa is the “workhorse” of nonimmigrant visa classifications, allowing 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 lottery is held each year for those employed in a specialty occupation role (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 300,000 annual lottery registrants. In 2021, there was a 27.8 percent chance of securing a selection through the H-1B lottery. Given this reality, it is wise to register for the H-1B lottery at the first opportunity, notwithstanding the fact that the employee’s work authorization may not expire for two years or more.    

The H-1B visa lottery works as follows: Using an online registration system, companies will enter their employees in a lottery that will be held between March 1 – 18. Applicants will be selected at the end of March. 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 employees: (1) employees who were not selected in previous lotteries; (2) employees who are currently working abroad; (3) employees in F-1 student statuses using OPT, STEM OPT, or CPT work authorization; (4) employees in TN, E-3, or a dependent to a principal visa holder (H-4, L-2, E-3D, etc.) working on EAD; and finally, (5) employees who you may consider for green card sponsorship in the future.

H-1B Registration Timeline:

  • February: Work with legal team, company stakeholders, and foreign national candidates to ensure the strongest possible case strategy.
  • February 21: Petitioners and registrants can begin creating H-1B registrant accounts. 
  • March 1 – 18: 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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