It’s that time of the season – March is approaching, and many U.S. employers are preparing to bring foreign professionals to their projects. Now, when we have the complete information on last year’s H-1B lottery results, as well as some information on the upcoming H-1B initial period registration, it’s time to have a look at your lottery chances on winning H1B visa in the 2022-2023 season.
Under the H1B visa regular cap, there are again 65,000 petitions to be selected in addition to 20,000 for the masters cap. In this article, you’ll find what trends were in the previous years and what, according to it, your current H-1B lottery odds are.
At the beginning of every H-1B cap filing period, H-1B employers and candidates have some essential queries:
- Will there be an H1B lottery this year at all?
- What are the odds of getting selected in the H1B lottery process?
- Is there going to be a second lottery process or even the third lottery?
Looking at the H-1B lottery FY 2022 and the past helps us predict what to expect in the upcoming H-1B Cap filing season, and here are our thoughts.
What Are My Odds to Win the H1B Lottery in 2022?
What is the H-1B Regular Cap?
The H-1B Visa cap is a limited number of H-1B visas that allow U.S. employers to bring foreign professionals to the United States. This number of visas is limited to 65,000 for the regular cap per year.
There is an additional 20,000 visas intended for advanced degrees, including 6,800 visas set aside for Chile and Singapore citizens.
What are My H-1B lottery chances for Fiscal Year 2023?
The USCIS does not disclose the exact number of advanced degree exemptions, so it’s not possible to calculate the precise odds of being selected in the H1B visa lottery. But, we can use the information about the total number of petitions that USCIS discloses to calculate the chances of being selected in the general visa cap.
According to the H1B visa lottery results in previous years, we can conclude that the H-1B Cap 2022 will certainly reach during the initial registration period in March 2022, resulting in another H-1B lottery.
Moreover, the competition is expected to be even more intense this year compared with previous years.
H1B Lottery Trends in The Past Years
First, we will look at how the lottery selections took place over the years, and then, we will know how to strategize H-1B Cap FY 2023 filings successfully.
1#H-1B Visa Lottery FY 2022
During the H-1B Cap FY 2022 initial registration period, USCIS received over 308,000 unique registrations. This number also included registrations under the advanced degree exemption.
USICS conducted a new selection process, and on April 1, 2021, it began accepting H-1B cap-subject petitions on behalf of selected registrations in the first round.
As we mentioned above, the H-1B probability can be hard to calculate since the selection is random. To determine your H1B lottery chances in 2022 or chances of getting selected, we first need to have the number of the submitted petitions in the lottery for the fiscal year 2023. Since the initial period hasn’t started yet, we can only make estimations based on previous years.
The number of applications received by USCIS has been slightly different each year- some years, it is higher than others, but due to high demand, we can expect more petitions and that the lottery numbers will go up.
For example, in the 2019–2020 lottery season, there were 201,011 petitions. We know that 65,000 are designated for the regular visa cap, which means there was a 32 percent chance of being selected that season.
But, after we removed the 6,800 petitions allocated for Chile and Singapore according to the Free trade agreement, the odds were a bit lower than 32%.
However, if you are a candidate who qualifies for the advanced degree exemption, your chances of selection are a little higher since you’re entered into both pools for the lottery. Bear in mind that your exact H-1B lottery odds will depend on how many submissions USCIS received and whether you qualify for the master’s quota or regular cap.
Here is the video about H-1B Visa Lottery FY 2022:
2#H1B Visa Lottery FY 2021
During the H-1B Cap 2021 registration period in March 2021, USCIS received around 275,000 unique registrations. This number included registrations under the advanced degree exemption.
By April 1, USCIS conducted H1B lottery and issued a selection notice to all registrants selected in the process and began accepting their H-1B cap-subject petitions.
Considering the available H-1B visas, every 2.3 H-1B cap applicants was selected in the H1B lottery 2021.
3#H1B Visa Lottery FY 2020
During the H-1B Cap 2020 filing period USCIS received 201,011 H1B petitions (including registrants subject to the advanced degree exemption).
4#H-1B Visa Lottery FY 2019
In 2018 (fy 2019) 170,098 H1B visa petitions were approved, and 65,000 were allocated for the regular cap, resulting in a less than 38% chance of being selected for H1B visa.
5#H-1B Lottery FY 2018
During the H-1B lottery fy 2018, USCIS received 199,000 H-1B petitions, including petitions filed under the advanced degree petitions.
How the H-1B Lottery Process Works?
While the USCIS approves around 200,000 H1B visa petitions each year, only 65,000 are granted visas through the lottery.
Just for the reminder, 20,000 additional petitions are for advanced degree exemption. The advanced degree petitions program is intended for applicants with Masters’s and Ph.D. degrees.
Here’s a brief overview of how the H-1B cap lottery functions and your H-1B lottery chances for the fiscal year. There are xxx steps:
- The advanced degree petition lottery– USCIS conducts random selection using the computer program to select 20,000 petitions from the pool of H-1B advanced degree petitions. Those petitions not selected in the first pool are subsequently transferred into the general visa cap pool for another chance at selection.
- The general visa cap lottery– again, a random (computer-generated) selection process picks 65,000 applicants from the entire pool of cap-subject petitions registered during the first round. Petitioners that weren’t accepted but were eligible for the advanced degree exemption would be transferred to the master’s cap pool.
- Citizens from Singapore and Chile have 6,800 spots specifically reserved for them.
- Cap-exempt petitions– petitions that are not subject to the cap. Those are:
- Petitions previously counted
- Visa extensions- used to extend or lengthen the H-1B worker’s time in the country.
- Changes of the employment terms of the current H-1B employees (i.e.responsibilities, location, duties, etc.)
- Petitions for transferring an H-1B status to a new employer
- Petitions that allow the foreign worker to be employed in a second position
- Petitions filed by a cap-exempt sponsor (an institute of higher education institution, or a nonprofit organization associated with an institute of higher education, or a governmental research center)
All petitions submitted during the initial registration period had equal chances of selection in the lottery and were processed regardless of when in that time frame it was submitted.
How the Registration Process Works- Is the H1B Lottery Random?
Currently, the selection process through the lottery conducted by USCIS is entirely random. The H-1B pool contains registrations filed accurately during the initial registration period.
Due to demand, USCIS from this pool randomly selects 85,000 registrations for processing (65,000 for regular cap and 20,000 for master cap). But, this could be changed if the Prevailing Wage Rule comes into force.
In January 2021, the USCIS announced a final rule that would change the cap affecting the H1B lottery selection process. The aim was to shift to a wage-based system, instead of the current random selection process, which would prioritize the highest salary levels. Fortunately, in March, Biden Administration requested postponing any new rules, and most probably it will remain till November 2022.
The reason for the increasing demand for H-1B visas is due to the relatively low eligibility criteria than other nonimmigrant visas.
The H-1B visa requirements are:
- Having a job offer from a U.S. company or other U.S. employer for a specialty position requiring a bachelor’s degree. Usually, those are students who graduated from one of the U.S. universities and work on OPT for an employer who is now willing to sponsor H1B visa.
- Possessing at least the required bachelor’s degree to be eligible for regular cap
- Not being the sole proprietor of the U.S. company offering the job.
The sponsoring employer must fill out Labor Certification Application, making four attestations to the Department of Labor that:
- The employment of the new employee does not have a detrimental impact on the currently employed workers
- The employer notified current employees of intentions to hire a beneficiary
- Employers will pay the prevailing wage as a minimum
- The job location is not experiencing a lock-out or strike.
How to Increase H-1B Lottery Odds?
You might get discouraged by seeing these numbers of registrations that USCIS receives each year, but don’t be! There are still some ways that can help you increase your H-1B lottery odds in 2022.
1#Qualify for the Master Cap
The first and the most obvious way to help your chances, as you can conclude, is to qualify for the master’s degree cap exemption. Gaining the master’s or Ph.D. degree will bring your petition to the master’s degree cap-exemption pool, increasing your chances of at least a few percent. Individuals with advanced degree exemptions stand a better chance of being selected since they participate in both lotteries.
2#Promptly submit your petition
Prepare your petition on time because if you miss the cutoff window, you will lose your chances of obtaining an H-1B visa this time.
3#Consider hiring an Immigration Attorney
To effectively plan your H-1B cap filings, you might consider hiring a lawyer who knows how to develop a unique strategy to help H-1B employers and H-1B applicants improve their odds of H1B lottery selection and approvals. Our attorneys have helped clients’ secure approvals with H-1B Cap filings in the past years by developing personal strategies for each candidate making their chances in H1B visa lottery selection and approvals. Schedule your free consultation with Richard Herman now.
Avoid Decreasing Your H-1B Probability
As there are certain things that you can do to increase your chances in the lottery, more importantly, there are some steps that you shouldn’t undertake.
1#Submitting more than one application
The most significant impact on the decrease of the H1B visa lottery odds is the employer’s mistake who submitting more than one application for the same potential employee resulting in USCIS’s rejection of both registrations. In other words, this will automatically eliminate an employee’s H-1B lottery chances.
Also, some people wrongly think that filing multiple petitions will increase their chances, but it only raises red flags with USCIS.
Remember that the foreign employee is legally allowed to have more than one job offer by multiple employers but need to make sure they are legitimate.
2#Using Premium Processing to Increase H-1B Lottery Odds
Premium processing is an optional service, and it will not increase your H-1B probability. USCIS offers premium processing for specific petitions, such as I-129. Last year this option wasn’t available, so we cannot tell for sure whether USCIS will allow it this year. But, in case that besides normal processing, premium processing is available, you can expect the fee of $2,500. These petitions are processed in 15 calendar days rather than the standard amount of time, which can take six months.
What To Expect After You Are Selected?
1#File the I-129 petition
Once a foreign worker is selected in the H-1B lottery, the sponsoring employer will receive the approval notice and it must file the I-129 petition. The deadline to do so is typically 90 days after receiving the selection notification.
2#Prepare H-1B Labor Condition Application
One of the required documents is the H-1B Labor Condition Application. The U.S. employer (or the sponsor) needs to file this application with the Department of Labor. Also, this complete H-1B package has to contain details about you- the beneficiary.
3#Submit Complete Petition
Be careful- it’s not that rare for people to submit incomplete petition packages, which can result in denying your application. This is a good reason to look for experienced immigration who can handle the submission packet on your behalf and ensure all necessary details are included.
4#Get a Receipt Notice
Once USCIS receives the complete application packet, you’ll receive a receipt notice. Sometimes USCIS needs more information, so e prepare to submit any required evidence of beneficiary’s qualifications, the relationship between the employee and employer, or similar.
If you want your petition to be processed in 15 business days, you can use Premium processing available for an additional $2,500. If you want your petition to be regularly processed, be aware that it can take up to six months.
The best-case scenario is when you see two case statuses:
- “Case was Received” and then
- “Case was Approved”
5#Get a Visa Stamp
If you live outside the U.S., you cannot start working until you obtain H1B visa stamp. In most cases, you can apply for an H1B visa stamp as early as 30 days prior to the start date indicated on the Form.
H-1B Visa Lottery 2022-23 Important Dates
USCIS announced on January 28 important dates to follow in 2022 (in the first selection round for the fiscal year 2023).
So, since the new process of H1B visa lottery starts in a few weeks, save the following dates for the USCIS fiscal year 2023:
- February 21: If you don’t have myUSCIS account, you can create one to use for registrations of eligible beneficiaries during the electronic registration process. To ensure on-time filing, you can start creating your page before the registration period. Planning is essential, so ensure you have all the necessary details before registration submission.
- March 1: USCIS begins accepting registrations at noon Eastern. By using MyUSCIS account, submit basic information for potential employees. Note that only one registration can be submitted per eligible employee.
- March 18: The initial registration period closes at noon Eastern, whether the number of registrations exceeds the cap-subject earlier. Only complete H-1B cap petitions will be considered.
- March 31: If the H-1B cap-subject is reached and more complete registrations are filed after the submission period, USCIS will conduct the lottery. After USCIS conducts a random selection process, it will issue a selection notice notifying each registrant about the results via their account page.
You can use the USCIS website to follow any future updates on H1B visa lottery.
How to Know if You Were Selected in the H-1B Lottery?
There are several ways to find out if USCIS selected your petition in the H-1B lottery.
1#Checking Your Records With SEVIS
If you or your potential employee are a student applying under the advanced degree cap (depending on who reads our article), you can see if you were selected by checking your records with the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System.
This record will be updated immediately if you have been chosen through the lottery.
Remember that you have an option to apply for a 24-month extension of your post-completion OPT employment authorization if you have earned a degree in certain science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. You can extend your OPT if:
- You are an F-1 student who received a STEM degree listed on the STEM Designated Degree Program List (PDF);
- Your employer is enrolled in and is using E-Verify; and
- You received an initial grant of post-completion OPT employment authorization based on your STEM degree.
2#Checking if USCIS has Processed a Fee Check
When filing your application, you had to pay H-1B filing fees in the form of a check. All unselected petitions have refunded fees, so if you were selected in the lottery, you would know it by not being refunded.
3#Looking for The Receipt Number
Each candidate selected in the H-1B lottery is assigned a 13-digit receipt number. Once the foreign employee is selected, the employer receives this receipt notices by mail, this is firm proof that you were selected in H1B visa lottery.
4#Checking the I-797 Form
Lottery winners also get a visa stamp on their I-797 Form. You will receive this official proof of H-1B status from the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
5#Use one of the H-1B Tracking Systems
You can track your H1B visa status on the U.S. Department of State Consular Electronic Application Center or USCIS.
When you log on to the USCIS case status online tool, one of the following statuses will be next to your case number:
- Submitted: Your application is still being considered by USCIS. This status may stay like this until the end of the fiscal year, so it doesn’t mean your application has been rejected or approved.
- Selected: Congratulations, you are selected! Now, the sponsoring employer has to file the I-129 petition within the appropriate deadline, noted on your file.
- Not Selected: Unfortunately, this will mean that your petition wasn’t selected through the lottery. This status will also remain until the end of the fiscal year.
- Denied: This status will appear when there are reasons for rejecting your application. Usually, it is because the employer registered the same employee more than once in which case USCIS denies the application immediately. If the H-1B petition of an individual who works on OPT is denied, this employee no longer has Cap-Gap protection. In this case, the employee should stop working once the OPT expires to avoid issues of unauthorized employment.
Do I Need A Lawyer To Guide Me Through H1B Lottery Process?
If you want to avoid any undesirable scenario and ensure on-time filing and proper form submission of your registration, you should consider hiring an attorney. Your immigration lawyer can lead you through the registrations and filing process and advise you on what other documents you should prepare to increase your odds in H-1B lottery.
Richard Herman and his team of immigration lawyers can be your right hand if you want to file an H-1B petition. Our team has extensive experience in providing services in the field of immigration law. With each client, we build a strong attorney-client relationship, ensuring it is one of trust. In this manner, we have had the privilege to help a number of clients from all around the globe to get H-1B visa.
Also, when we say that we speak your language, we really mean it- our dedicated team of lawyers speaks more than 12 different languages. March 1st is only a few weeks far, so call us now and book your consultation.
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