H-1B Lottery Begins on March 6, 2024: It’s Time to Prepare

The H-1B Lottery Registration Window Opens March 6, 2024.  The ending date of the registration will be March 22, 2024.  Employers and potential H-1B workers should determine now, whether they will enter and start preparing the necessary information and documentation for the submission. While an immigration attorney is not required for employers to submit their entries, it is highly recommended to have counsel for the process, as the USCIS online system can be confusing and prone to snafus.

Employers should consider entering any foreign workers who are on Optional Practical Training (OPT), STEM OPT, or who hold other nonimmigrant statuses, such as TN and O-1into the lottery. Evaluating the job description, salary requirements and credentials of each potential entry is important, as well as determining whether the foreign national might qualify for the master’s cap, giving them a better chance of selection. Experienced H-1B counsel can also assist in determining whether a particular candidate in a particular position, will have a successful H-1B application after being selected.

Understanding the Lottery Process: As demand for H-1B visas often surpasses the annual cap, a lottery system is employed to select petitions that will move forward in the process. With advancements in technology, the H-1B lottery has transitioned to an electronic registration system. Employers and their attorneys are required to create accounts on MyUSCIS.gov for the process. Passport and education information for each foreign national is then entered into the electronic system, and a $10 registration fee is paid.

The information needed for the registration is as follows:

      • Employer’s name, employer identification number (FEIN), and address,
      • Employer’s representative contact information;
      • Foreign National’s full name, date of birth, country of birth, country of citizenship, gender, and passport number;
      • Whether the beneficiary has obtained a master’s degree from a U.S. institution of higher education;  and
      • Employer’s attorney information.

Employers will be notified of any successful selections by April 1, 2024. Then, employers have until June 30, 2024 to submit the full H-1B Petition to USCIS. If applications are approved, those foreign nationals will change status to H-1B on October 1, 2024. It is important to consider ending dates for OPT, STEM OPT and other forms of work authorization to make sure employees do not have gaps in their work authorization, or issues with foreign travel during the application process.

New Anti-Flooding Measures: The total registrations in the 2023 lottery were 780,884, a significant jump in submissions from the 483,927 submissions in 2022. Investigations into the 2023 Lottery revealed that a large part of the increase was due to multiple registrations for the same foreign national by affiliated employers. In other words, various companies were working together to try to increase the chances that certain foreign workers would be selected. To try to curb this practice, USCIS has added a new attestation employers must agree to for their submission:

I further certify that this registration reflects a legitimate job offer and that I or the organization on whose behalf this registration is being submitted have not worked with, or agreed to work with another registrant, petitioner, agent, or other individual or entity to submit a registration to unfairly increase chances of selection for the beneficiary or beneficiaries in this submission.

New Lottery regulations introduced in 2023, but not yet enacted require lottery selections to be tracked by the foreign national’s passport number. If a particular beneficiary is selected, then all employers associated with that applicant will also be selected, and they will have to determine which of those employers will submit applications on behalf of the worker. This new method raises many questions for employers, such as will they be notified if a foreign national has multiple employers in the Lottery? What if more than one application is approved for the same applicant at the same time or at different times? As of this writing, it is not yet clear whether these new regulations will be in place for the March 2024 Lottery.

Additional Resources

USCIS H-1B Lottery Page: Check back regularly for updated on new rules and registration dates.

USCIS Webinar on H-1B Lottery Registration; Systematic instructions on how to create an employer account and register for the Lottery.

H-1B Occupations and Requirements: Information on which occupations qualify period of stay, status for family members and the petition filing process.

For assistance with the 2024 Lottery or consultation on the eligibility of particular employees, contact Valentine Brown or the Duane Morris attorney with whom you normally work.



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The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.

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