H-1B VISA Cap Season Starts March 1, 2023
By Jan Pederson
The USCIS Annual Cap Season for Fiscal Year 2024 is just around the corner! USCIS can grant 85,000 H-1B cap subject visas per year to qualifying foreign nationals through a lottery system. Of the 85,000, 20,000 are reserved for those with U.S. graduate degrees from qualifying institutions. H-1B workers are professional workers who are offered professional positions requiring the H-1B worker’s qualifications. The Fiscal Year 2024 initial registration period will open March 1, 2023 at noon Eastern Standard Time and will close on March 17, 2023 at noon.
There are two parts to the H-1B process; registration, and the H-1B petition filing if the H-1B worker is selected in the lottery. The H-1B workers selected in the FY ‘24 lottery start date for employment under the petition is October 1, 2023.
The USCIS has implemented an electronic registration system to streamline the process of identifying the H-1B lottery winners without the actual filling of an H-1B petition, a great benefit to employers who no longer have to file the H-1B petition to join the H-1B lottery. The technology in the registration process is fairly simple; however, assessing whether to file a registration requires careful analysis with an expert immigration attorney. The online registration must be submitted no earlier than noon Eastern time on March 1, 2023 and no later than noon Eastern time on March 17, 2023.
It is recommended that an experienced immigration attorney register all desired H-1B workers for any employer. Neither the employer nor the FN should attempt to register. If there are multiple registrations by the same employer for the same FN and job, the application will be disqualified. One registration per worker whom an employer wishes to sponsor must be filed. The registration fee is $10.00 and expected to increase to $215 in the future.
If the USCIS receives “sufficient registrations” by March 17, 2023, the initial registration period will effectively close. If not, there will be an additional selection period. USCIS intends to notify H-1B lottery winners by March 31, 2023.
Selection in the Lottery—What Next?
If selected in the lottery, the employer has 90-days after being notified of selection to file the H-1B petition with USCIS for an October 1st start date. Listing a start date earlier than October 1st on the H-1B petition will result in the denial of the petition.
The lottery will only be held if the number of registrations exceeds 85,000. If the registrations do not exceed 85,000, then USCIS will continue selecting those registered during the initial period or even open a new registration period. The USCIS received 483,927 H-1B registrations and initially selected 126,600 H-1B worker during FY 2023. It would not be wise to rely on USCIS re-opening the registration period.
Jan Pederson is a partner at Wright, Constable & Skeen in the firm’s Immigration Law group. She has decades of experience in all areas of H-1B sponsorship. If you are interested in sponsoring an H-1B worker contact Jan by emailing Corey Goettsch firstname.lastname@example.org or calling at 240-583-0003.