There is a saying that “a person is more likely to become a U.S. President (1 in 10 million) than to win the lottery”.

But, don’t worry, chances to win an H-1B lottery are not that low for those who meet specific requirements.

Moreover, we are here to encourage you to participate in the H1B lottery for the year 2023, and since the opening date is approaching, we are equipping you with up-to-date information to help you get prepared.

Advance planning is essential and this article can help you get ready for form submission by March when the registration period starts so you can ensure on-time filing and, hopefully, get your petition approved.

 

What is an H-1B Lottery?

What is an H1B Lottery?

H-1B lottery acts as a “random selection process” used to select a sufficient number of H-1B applicants from a larger pool of potential employees.

Through the lottery selection process, USCIS intends to select enough employees to meet the H-1B Annual Cap.

Each year there is a fixed number of H-1B visa slots available (total around 85K) for new applicants.

If U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services USCIS receives more than 85,000 applicants applying for an H1B visa in a year, then the H1B Lottery process takes place for the fiscal year.

Unlike just buying a ticket to participate in the lottery, the USCIS lottery has different rules: a prospective employee who wants to move to the United States and employers seeking to hire such professional using the H 1B visa lottery needs to meet some requirements.

A CAP number limits the number of H-1B petitions available per fiscal year:

  •  There are 85,000 visas in total;
  • 20,000 are reserved for those with a master’s or doctorate held in the United States.

Also, it should be noted that the fiscal year ends on September 30 of each year and starts in October.

Who Can Participate in H-1B Lottery for FY 2023?

As we mentioned above, not anyone can use the lottery selection process to come to work in the United States or employ an immigrant worker on this visa.

An H-1B visa is intended for foreigners offered a job by a U.S. company because the company couldn’t fulfill the position with a U.S. professional.

This means it is necessary to prove that the position intended for the foreigner was first offered to U.S. professionals during the visa application process.

Only if U.S. candidates do not possess the required qualifications for the job, the position can be offered to a foreigner.

As you may conclude, when foreign nationals intend to apply for an H-1B visa, they need to get an offer from the U.S. company to sponsor the visa application before USCIS.

Therefore, The H-1B visa is aimed at a specialized workforce that is not easily found in the U.S. and to the employees who would perform services in:

  1. A specialty occupation
  2. Services of exceptional merit and ability (relating to a Department of Defense cooperative research and development project)
  3. Fashion industry (as a fashion model of distinguished merit or ability).

Since the foreigner needs to have particular experience in their field, to fit the term of specialized labor and be eligible to apply for the H1B visa, the professional must:

  • Have the necessary training and skills to apply their knowledge theoretically and practically when exercising the offered position
  • And hold a bachelor’s degree or a diploma of higher-level related to the activities to be developed in this position (in this sense, the Labor Department will understand that this professional can perform the activities described in the vacancy).

H-1B Specialty Occupations

Requirements:

  • Theoretical and practical application of highly specialized knowledge; and
  • A bachelor’s degree or higher in the specific specialty (or its equivalent)
    • A U.S. bachelor or master’s degree from an accredited college or university;
    • It can be a foreign degree, as well, if it is the equivalent to a previous one;
    • A degree is not mandatory if a person possesses an unrestricted state license, registration, or certification.

H-1B2 DOD Researcher and Development Project Worker

Requirement:

  •  A bachelor’s or higher degree, or its equivalent.
    • A U.S. bachelor or master’s degree from an accredited college or university;
    • It can be a foreign degree, as well, if it is the equivalent to a previous one;
    • A degree is not mandatory if a person possesses an unrestricted state license, registration, or certification.

Additionally, a petitioner has to enclose to the petition one of the following:

  1. A verification letter from the DOD project manager proving:
    1. The engagement on cooperative research and development projects or
    2. The engagement on a co-production project under a reciprocal Government-to-Government agreement administered by DOD.
  2. A general description of duties and the dates of the employment;
  3. A statement showing:
    1. The names of currently employed noncitizens on the project
    2. Dates of their employment
    3. The names of previous noncitizens whose employment ended within the past year.

H-1B3 Fashion Model

The position or services require a fashion model of prominence, and only fashion models of distinguished merit and ability are eligible for this visa category.

How to Participate in the Lottery for H-1B Petitions FY2023?

Starting in 2020, USCIS implemented an electronic registration process. The electronic registration process is for U.S. companies that want to register a foreign employee.

The U.S. employer simply needs to submit basic information about the potential employee. Once selected in the lottery, a complete petition is then filed to get a H 1B visa for the employee.

Before 2020, the process required employers to submit a complete petition to register an employee for the lottery.

Now, the process is more user-friendly and reduces the administrative burden for the agency.

In the past, USCIS should have handled physical packages of thousands of petitions that could not be selected or analyzed.

H-1B Lottery Timeline FY 2023

According to the USCIS Alert announced on January 28, important dates to follow (in the first selection round) are:

  1. February 21: Employers can create my USCIS account which they will use for registrations of beneficiaries electronically for the selection process
  2. March 1: USCIS begin accepting registrations at noon Eastern
  3. March 18: The initial registration period closes at noon Eastern
  4. March 31: After USCIS conducted a random selection process, it will notify account holders about the results.

H-1B Lottery Caps FY2023

USCIS takes into consideration historical data related to approvals, denials, revocations, and other relevant factors. This data helps USCIS to calculate the number of registrations needed to meet the H-1B cap for a given fiscal year.

As mentioned above, there are two categories of H-1B visas:

  • Regular
  • Master Cap

The current annual cap is 85,000 H-1B selected registrants.

But, the reserved numbers are not the same for each cap.

Instead:

  • The regular annual limit is 65,000, out of which 6,800 petitions are reserved for Singapore and Chile Free trade agreement
  • H-1B Master’s cap is 20,000

If you want to know what data USCIS uses to determine the annual cap, visit the H-1B Cap Season page.

 

Cap Exempt

The H-1B lottery is not the only route to obtaining H-1B status. Some employers or companies can hire foreign nationals through H-1B visas without going through the H1B lottery process.

These employers are usually referred to as cap-exempt H-1B employers.

Cap-exempt refers to jobs exempt from the annual cap on immigration workers with an H-1B visa.

This exemption allows a foreigner to obtain sponsorship from a U.S. employer even if every regular visa is taken.

In general, cap-exempt positions are available to institutions of higher learning, nonprofits associated with higher education, and nonprofit research or government organizations.

These visas have no annual limit, no specific filing dates, and required employment start dates.

H-1B Lottery Fees

USCIS believes that the new electronic pre-registration system for the lottery should reduce its costs, but also, it should reduce the overall cost for petitioners.

Each sponsoring company can send only one registration per professional during the Electronic Pre-Registration, and the fee for participating is 10$.

H-1B Electronic Registration Process

H-1B Electronic Registration Process

Since the H-1B cap electronic registration process was well-received by users in the past years, USCIS continues to use this strategy in 2022, as well.

Here is an overview of the H-1B visa registration process:

  1. Create an account: H-1B employers or their representatives have to create an online account to process the registration. It is highly recommended to complete this process during February before USCIS begins accepting registrations. USCIS will allow registrants to create my USCIS account starting from February 21.
  2. Get a confirmation number: H-1B employers intending to sponsor H-1B new employees will first electronically register through the online account for each immigration employee during the registration period, from March 1 to March 18. After registering, they will receive a confirmation number.
  3. USCIS determines whether lottery takes place for the fiscal year: In case the number of registered potential employees exceeds the annual H-1B cap, USCIS will randomly select a number of registrants projected to reach the FY2023 H-1B cap- using the H-1B Lottery process.
  4. USCIS conducts selection: USCIS will conduct registration selection, indicating that petitioners are eligible to file H1B and issue selection notice to registrants by March 31.
  5. First selection round: After the first selection round, employers will have 90 days to file H-1B cap petitions.
  6. Second filing period: In case by the end of the first filing period in March USCIS has not received enough registrations required to reach the annual H-1B cap, there may be subsequent filing periods until all the visa numbers are allocated.

How to Register H-1B Lottery?

To submit an H-1B registration, a U.S. employer must first create a USCIS online account that will be used to submit registrations. Note that after you select the “I am an H-1B registrant” account type, you will not be able to add additional information until the initial registration period opens.

Experienced employers may not need an attorney to help them register potential employees. Still, for others, it is good to know that the USCIS registration portal allows representatives to create an account and register beneficiaries on behalf of U.S. employers. So if you think that you might need a lawyer, contact Herman Legal Group.

What Happens Next?

Submitting Petitions

After the lottery (that takes place after the initial registration period closes on March 18), if the professional is eventually selected, employers will submit their petitions to USCIS for processing.

Paying the Fee and Filing Supporting Documents

Besides, employers have to pay appropriate registration fees and submit supporting documentation. The deadline for paying the fee and submitting additional documentation is usually 90 days, or USCIS may establish the deadline.

The Approval

After USCIS selected your petition, your employee gets an H-1B visa, meaning that the beneficiary’s start date will be in October of the same year.

Second Registration Period

If there wasn’t a sufficient number of selected registrants, USCIS will open the second round. Additionally, it is possible that in the second semester, H-1B petitions that weren’t previously selected may take the place of those who were previously selected but had their petition denied or did not submit their visa application.

Common Mistakes

As the economy continues to expand, it is expected that more employers will file H-1B petitions for their potential employees this year. But besides being “the lucky one”, first you need to make sure that you did the registration appropriately.

If you decide to submit the application on your own, be aware of two common mistakes people make:

  • Creating the wrong type of account and
  • Entering the same beneficiary more than once and

There are three account types:

  1. Applicant/petitioner/requestor account – used only for preparation and filing applications, petitions, or other benefit requests, but not to prepare or submit H-1B registrations.
  2. Attorney/representative account – for attorneys or accredited representatives submitting H-1B registrations on behalf of a prospective petitioner.
  3. Registrant account – for prospective petitioners who wants to participate in the H-1B registration process.

It’s not unusual for employers and companies to create the wrong account. In that case, USCIS intends to take out of consideration registered employees which results in losing the chance to participate in the selection.

On the other side, as we previously mentioned, employers can file only one form per employee. If the employer enters the same beneficiary more than once, USCIS will remove all registrations submitted for that beneficiary. Furthermore, you will not be able to appeal such invalidation.

Here is the video about H-1B Visa Lottery FY 2022

Do I Need A Lawyer?

To avoid any undesirable scenario and ensure on-time filing and proper form submission, you should consider hiring an immigration attorney. An experienced immigration lawyer will lead you through the process and raise the chances to get your petition approved.

Richard Herman and his team of immigration lawyers have extensive experience in providing services in the field of immigration law and have helped clients from all around the globe to get immigrant and nonimmigrant visas and bring their families to the U.S., as well. Also, we speak more than 12 different languages, so since March is just around the corner, call us now to request your consultation.

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