U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that the initial registration period for this year’s H-1B lottery will open on March 1st, and close on March 18th. We recommend that employers and employees interested in pursuing the H-1B lottery contact us in February to prepare for this process. The announcement is linked and pasted below. Of course, if anything changes, we will be on top of it, but this has been the process for H-1B selection for the last two years.
For those unaware, the H-1B is the nonimmigrant “specialty occupation” work status utilized to employ foreign national professionals. There are other statuses, like the L intracompany transfer, O-1 extraordinary alien, E-2 manager or essential personnel, and the TN professional that sometimes work for noncitizens, but the H-1B program is the standard for many professionals. It is favored for STEM graduates of universities and is widely used in the IT and health care sectors. H-1Bs are capped at roughly 85,000 spots per year, and the demand far outpaces the supply of slots in recent years. The odds of selection in the annual lottery have been less than 50%. The lottery itself has been the ongoing subject of litigation. Nevertheless, each year many are selected in the lottery. The earliest possible start date is October 1st for registrants that are selected, although in some cases students working on optional practical training may continue to work until a change of status take effect on that date.
Here is the USCIS announcement:
Release Date 01/28/2022
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced that the initial registration period for the fiscal year 2023 H-1B cap will open at noon Eastern on March 1 and run through noon Eastern on March 18, 2022. During this period, prospective petitioners and representatives will be able to complete and submit their registrations using our online H-1B registration system.
USCIS will assign a confirmation number to each registration submitted for the FY 2023 H-1B cap. This number is used solely to track registrations; you cannot use this number to track your case status in Case Status Online.
Prospective H-1B cap-subject petitioners or their representatives are required to use a myUSCIS online account to register each beneficiary electronically for the selection process and pay the associated $10 H-1B registration fee for each registration submitted on behalf of each beneficiary. Prospective petitioners submitting their own registrations (U.S. employers and U.S. agents, collectively known as “registrants”) will use a “registrant” account. Registrants will be able to create new accounts beginning at noon Eastern on Feb. 21.
Representatives may add clients to their accounts at any time, but both representatives and registrants must wait until March 1 to enter beneficiary information and submit the registration with the $10 fee. Prospective petitioners or their representatives will be able to submit registrations for multiple beneficiaries in a single online session. Through the account, they will be able to prepare, edit, and store draft registrations prior to final payment and submission of each registration.
If we receive enough registrations by March 18, we will randomly select registrations and send selection notifications via users’ myUSCIS online accounts. We intend to notify account holders by March 31.
An H-1B cap-subject petition, including a petition for a beneficiary who is eligible for the advanced degree exemption, may only be filed by a petitioner whose registration for the beneficiary named in the H-1B petition was selected in the H-1B registration process. Last Reviewed/Updated: 01/28/2022