February 22, 2023
Immigration Update: H-1B Visa Lottery Registration Opens March 1, 2023 for H-1B Visa Slots for FY’24
By Jan Pederson
Clients have reported difficulties in registering for a USCIS account during the past few days, due to the system overload of anxious H-1B lottery applicants. Lawyers should file the registrations for clients; however, employers must also open a USCIS account at uscis.gov. USCIS is aware of the problem and is working to fix the system glitch. We advise clients to keep trying to register.
The following briefly describes the streamlined process and early decision on those selected in the H-1B lottery.
To file H-1B petitions subject to the FY 2024 cap for an employee, you must first electronically register and pay a $10 fee for each electronic registration. The electronic registration includes basic information about the employer and employee. If prepared by an attorney, the process requires an electronic handshake between the employer and attorney. Registrations must be submitted between March 1 and March 17, 2023.
When you register, you must pay a non-refundable $10 fee online for each registration using the pay.gov portal. Payment can be made via ACH transfer from a bank account, a credit card, or a debit card. This fee is in addition to the filing fees you will have to pay later with the petition if the employee is selected in the cap lottery. If an attorney is filing on your behalf, please consult with the attorney about how this payment will be made.
Please note: Employers are prohibited from submitting more than one registration for the same prospective H-1B employee. If an employer or the attorney submits more than one registration for the same H-1B candidate in a fiscal year, all registrations for that candidate will be invalid. USCIS has created a tool to allow employers and their attorneys to check for duplicate registrations. However, multiple employers can file H-1B petitions for the same H-1B prospective employee. Having an H-1B registration selected in the Lottery does not mean an H-1B petition will be approved. The petition must meet all requirements for H-1B (professional/specialty) occupations. Many employers are exempt from the H-1B cap, thus making a consultation with an expert immigration lawyer even more important.
The Lottery and Filing Petitions
After the registration period, USCIS will randomly select registrations from the ones it has received and will electronically notify you or your attorney if your employee has been selected. This will happen no later than March 31, 2023. If your employee’s registration is selected, then you will have at least 90 days to file a fully prepared H-1B cap-subject petition for the employee starting April 1. If your employee’s registration is not selected, the registration will be maintained until USCIS determines that it has received enough petitions to meet the cap. Once the cap has been reached, registrations that were not selected will be updated online as “not selected.”
What Should I Do Now?
Schedule a meeting with the immigration team at Wright, Constable and Skeen, LLP, led by Jan Pederson, before the registration period to discuss prospective H-1B petitions and whether the job and the individual would qualify for an H-1B. You should also discuss the timing of filing your H-1B petition with your attorney.
To do this, you should:
- Gather all relevant information about the job and the prospective employee’s qualifications
- Set up an employer account on USCIS.gov as an “H-1B registrant.”
- Call our Immigration Team at WCS at 240-583-0003 for a consultation.
Be prepared to discuss your expectations for processing your registration and how quickly a petition needs to be filed if selected. Your attorney can also discuss options if your registration is not selected
If you have questions about the H-1B visa process, we encourage you to reach out to our office by emailing Corey Goettsch at email@example.com or calling him at 240-583-0003 to schedule a consultation with our immigration law expert, Jan Pederson.