February 22, 2021

How to Prepare for the H-1B Cap Lottery

Employers who plan to hire or retain potential H-1B employees should prepare now for the H-1B cap registration period (“H-1B Cap Lottery”), which runs from March 9 through March 25, 2021.  Registrants who are selected will have the opportunity to apply for an H-1B visa between April 1, 2021 and June 30, 2021.   USCIS intends to select from the registrations no later than March 31, 2021. 

The H-1B quota  for this fiscal year is 65,000 for those with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. In addition, 20,000 H-1B visas are set aside for those who hold a U.S. master’s degree or higher.  The H-1B selection process is very competitive. Last year, the USCIS received about 275,000 registrations for these visas.  It’s expected that this year’s registrations will be even higher.

An employer may only submit one registration for each employee, Submitting more than one registration for the same employers will invalidate all registrations for the beneficiary.  However, an employee can have multiple registrations from different employers.

Here are the key steps employers and employees need to take now to register for the extremely competitive H-1B cap lottery:

  • Identify potential employees, particularly those with expiring F-1 OPT employment authorization, who need an H-1B visa.
  • Gather the necessary data required such as the federal employer identification number (FEIN) for your company, the  employee’s passport information, detailed job description, and the employee’s degree certificates. If you have multiple entities, be sure to register the one that will actually employ and pay the employee.
  • Determine whether the employee is eligible for master’s cap or bachelor’s cap.  Note that master’s degrees from for-profit U.S. universities generally do not qualify for the master’s cap.
  • Designate a company representative responsible for the electronic registration.
  • Calendar the deadline for registration and don’t miss it!

If your registration is not selected, consult with an immigration attorney to determine whether other viable options are available.

This article is intended to help you understand immigration basics,  is offered only as general information and education, and is not legal advice or legal opinion about your specific circumstances. You should not act or rely upon the information in this article without seeking the advice of an immigration attorney.

For a comprehensive evaluation of your immigration options, you are invited to call us at 214-494-8033, or complete our contact form below.