H1B Visa Lottery in 2021: What You Need to Know
In this guide, I will explain what you need to know about the H1B visa lottery and the H1B visa registration process. If you have any questions, feel free to email me directly at Michael@AshooriLaw.com. I’m very responsive via email and I would be happy to help you.
In order to qualify for a chance to submit an H-1B cap-subject petition, you must first be selected through a randomized lottery. The quota for this lottery includes 65,000 slots for standard H-1B petitions, and an additional 20,000 slots for workers with a master’s degree.
This lottery process begins with being registered with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). In previous years, petitioners could file an H-1B cap-subject petition in its entirety and then wait to see if they were selected. However, beginning last year, USCIS changed its selection process by requiring petitioners to first register potential beneficiaries through an online portal.
USCIS made this change with the goal of reducing paperwork, creating a database for all applicants, and making the process more efficient overall.
The registration process now remains the same, and is necessary for all petitioners, including those sponsoring workers with advanced degrees. There is a non-refundable $10 fee for each registration.
- How does the H1B registration process work, and what have numbers looked like in the past?
- What will the process look like in 2021?
- What is needed to complete the registration?
- Who must complete the registration?
- When do you need to register?
- When will the selection occur, and how do you know if a registration has been selected?
1. How does the H1B registration process work, and what have numbers looked like in the past?
All petitioners who want to hire H-1B workers must first go through the registration process. The system selects those who have registered at random to determine who may petition for cap-subject H-1B. Last year, USCIS received 275,000 registrations. Compared with the 65,000 standard workers allowed in the quota, and the additional 20,000 of those holding a master’s degree, that means roughly 30% of those who registered were allowed to petition for the cap-subject H-1B visa in 2020.
2. What will the process look like in 2021?
USCIS measures H-1B eligibility by fiscal year, so for the calendar year of 2021, those selected for H-1B will be under the umbrella of the 2022 fiscal year (also written as FY2022).
USCIS announced earlier this month that the registration processes this year will run from March 9, 2021 at noon to March 25, 2021 at noon, a two-week window. It is highly important that all registrations are filed on time. There are no exceptions for registrations filed after this period, so scheduling is critical. The same random selection process used last year will determine who is selected in this year’s H-1B lottery.
Historically, the number of H-1B applicants has increased every year, although it remains to be seen how many will be attempting to register this year.
3. How do you complete the registration process?
Petitioners can create a USCIS account well before registrations are opened, or they can wait if they prefer to do so. It is a simple process that is done by going to the website uscis.gov and creating an online account, which will give each petitioner access to their portal once registrations begin.
Once registration is open, the online portal will ask for basic information about the petitioner, the nature of their business, and the potential beneficiary. Petitioners can submit an unlimited amount of registrations for different applicants, but if they submit a registration for the same beneficiary twice, both registrations are automatically denied. For workers looking to apply with multiple companies, however, they are allowed to have a registration for each company. As mentioned earlier, the fee for each registration is $10. This fee is required for every beneficiary. For example, 1 petitioner submitting registrations for 25 beneficiaries would be required to pay $250.
4. Who must complete the registration?
The registration process must be completed by the petitioner or their accredited attorney or representative.
5. When do you need to register?
As stated, registrations for 2021 will be open from March 9th at noon to March 25th at noon. It is not possible to register before or after then, so timely filing is critical.
6. When will the selection occur, and how do you know if a registration has been selected?
The random selection process will occur between March 25th and March 31st. There will be four different statuses that can show up for each registration:
- Submitted (indicates that a registration has been filed properly and appears after successful registration)
- Selected (indicates that a registration has been selected and will appear no later than March 31st)
- Not Selected (indicates that a registration has not been selected and will appear no later than March 31st)
- Denied (only shown when a petitioner has submitted multiple registrations for one beneficiary)
The 2021 H-1B registration process will resemble last year’s process, and may possibly have some new features due to changes made by USCIS based on previous results. It is mandatory that petitioners complete this registration process for potential H1B cap-subject beneficiaries.
If you have any questions or would like assistance with the H1B registration and application process, my team and I would be happy to assist. Please feel free to email me directly at Michael@AshooriLaw.com. I am very responsive via email and would be happy to help you.
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Michael Ashoori, Esq.
U.S. Immigration Lawyer
I’m a U.S. immigration lawyer and I help families, professionals, investors, and entrepreneurs get visas, green cards, and citizenship to the United States.
Since starting my law firm, I’ve helped hundreds of people from all over the world with their immigration needs. I’m very passionate, hard-working, and committed to my clients.
Got a question? Send me an email.