The USCIS will switch to a "beneficiary-centric" selection process, rather than a "registration-centric" selection process. This means that each individual will have the same chance of being selected in the H1B master's cap or in the H1B regular cap process, regardless of how many employers file a registration. This new selection process is designed to prevent fraud and misuse of the system and create more fairness in the selection process.
Because the USCIS is selecting based on the beneficiary, employers will need information about the foreign national's passport or valid travel document to submit their registration. The passport information will be unique identifier used to select a person in the H1B cap lottery system. Each beneficiary will be entered only one time in the H1B lottery, even if multiple registrations were filed on their behalf.
We expect that the USCIS will receive many more H1B cap registrations than the 65,000 regular H1B cap and 20,000 master's H1B cap visas available. Once the registration is complete, the USCIS will first select enough beneficiaries from all registrations to meet the regular cap. They will then conduct a second lottery of just those registered in the master's H1B cap to fill that quote.
Once USCIS completes the lottery selection process for the H1B visa, the agency will notify employers and their immigration attorneys if their registered beneficiaries are selected by March 31, 2024. If more than one employer filed for that beneficiary, each potential employer that filed a registration will be notified and be able to file an H1B petition for that beneficiary.
When will employers have to file an H1B petition for beneficiaries selected in the H1B cap lottery?
USCIS will begin to accept H1B cap petitions for selected beneficiaries on Monday, April 1, 2024. Employers have up to 90 days to file an H1B petition for selected beneficiaries. This means that the filing period for H1B cap petitions will be open at least through June 30, 2024. Employers can file their petitions at any time during this period.
If a selected beneficiary is on F1 Optional Practical Training, employers should file the H1B petition before the expiration date on their Employment Authorization Document ("EAD") if the EAD expires between April 1 and October 1, 2024. This ensures that the beneficiary's work authorization is extended through the "cap-gap" provisions through the October 1 start date of the H1B visa.
Should employers use the online filing process available through USCIS to file H1B petitions?
USCIS has announced a new online filing process will be available for both cap and non-cap H1B petitions. However, we strongly recommend that employers not use the online filing system for cap-subject H1B petitions. Online filing has not been tested and will experience high volume during the H1B cap season. The online filing process also has serious limitations and requires manual data entry. We believe that the new USCIS online filing system has too many potential risks for use with this time-sensitive filing of H1B cap petitions.
What are the filing fees if a beneficiary is selected for the H1B cap lottery?