The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that the window for U.S. employers to submit online registrations for the Fiscal Year 2024 H-1B quota will open at 12:00 PM (noon) Eastern Time on Wednesday, March 1, 2023, and close at 12:00 PM (noon) Eastern Time on Friday, March 17, 2023.
USCIS Registration Protocol
During this window, registrations may only be completed by employers (“Prospective Petitioners”) or their authorized attorneys/representatives. Employees and candidates (“Prospective Beneficiaries”) are not eligible for self-registration. Registration requires an employer or attorney/representative account with the USCIS, and payment of a non-refundable registration fee of $10.00 per Beneficiary.
The USCIS exercises strict control to limit a Prospective Petitioner (or their authorized attorney/representative) to only one registration per Prospective Beneficiary in a fiscal year. If the USCIS discovers a duplicate registration for a Prospective Beneficiary in the same fiscal year, it invalidates all registrations for that Prospective Beneficiary in that fiscal year.
The H-1B quota is established under section 214(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. It allows for issuance of up to 85,000 new H-1B visas in a fiscal year, of which 20,000 are reserved for foreign nationals with a master’s degree or a higher degree from a college or university in the United States.
H-1B visas are highly coveted visas for specialty occupation workers. The annual demand for new H-1B visas far exceeds their supply. For Fiscal Year 2023, the USCIS received 483,927 H-1B registrations, and randomly selected 127,600 registrations, which equates to a 26% selection rate. In Fiscal Year 2022, the USCIS reported 308,613 H-1B successful registrations, and randomly selected a total of 131,970 registrations, amounting to a selection rate of 42%.
The H-1B Lottery Process
Once the H-1B registration window closes, the USCIS conducts two lotteries if (as expected) the number of registrations exceeds 85,000. One lottery is for all registrations to be randomly selected for a visa from the regular cap of 65,000 visas. The second lottery is exclusively for random selection from the advanced degree cap of 20,000 visas.
By mid-April, USCIS sends notifications to those employers and their authorized attorneys/representatives whose registrations have been selected in the H-1B lottery. The employers then have 90 days within which to submit H-1B petitions on behalf of those beneficiaries for a requested start date of October 1 or later.
Harris Sliwoski works with clients to evaluate their H-1B eligibility, ensure proper registration, craft a persuasive case, and confirm the timely submission of their H-1B petition. Please reach out to discuss how we can help.