The H-1B visa is a nonimmigrant visa suitable for individuals who have a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent and a job offer from a sponsoring employer in a specialty occupation that is related to their field of study. Currently, the H-1B visa cap stands at 85,000 visas for college graduates, 20,000 of which are allocated solely to applicants with U.S. master’s degrees. The number of applications each year significantly exceeds the number of available visas. In 2020, a total of 201,011 H-1B applications were submitted to USCIS. As a result, USCIS runs a lottery every year to select 85,000 total applications to adjudicate. To learn more about the H-1B visa and your eligibility, please click here.
The initial registration period for the FY2022 H-1B cap will open at noon Eastern Standard Time on March 9 and run through noon EST on March 25. During this time, prospective petitioners and legal representatives will be able to fill out the petitioner and beneficiary information and submit their registration. The registration fee is $10.
If USCIS receives more than the quota of 85,000, USCIS will conduct two lotteries to select enough beneficiaries to meet the 85,000 annual cap. The first lottery will include all registered beneficiaries and will select enough registrations to meet the regular cap of 65,000. The second lottery would include registered U.S. advanced-degree holders who were not chosen in the first lottery, and would select enough registrations to meet the advanced-degree cap exemption of 20,000. Applications have far exceeded the 85,000 quota by 3 or 4 times in the last few years.
USCIS will begin to accept cap petitions for selected beneficiaries on April 1, 2021. The petition filing period will close no earlier than June 30, 2021. In the coming weeks, USCIS is expected to announce whether premium processing will continue to be available during the FY 2022 H-1B cap petition filing period.
All prospective H-1B applicants must first be registered online on the USCIS myUSCIS website in order to be in the pool for the H-1B visa lottery. Online account creation is now available for prospective petitioners and legal representatives. To learn more about the different account types, please click here. To learn more about the registration process, please click here.
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