U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the dates for submitting registrations for the yearly H-1B cap lottery. The registration period will be open from March 1, 2022 to March 18, 2022, with selections to be announced by the end of the month. All employers who wish to file an H-1B petition under the cap – that is on behalf of an individual who has not previously been counted against the annual limit on new H-1B visas – must register in the system.
The Electronic Registration System
Under the registration system, employers must submit an electronic registration between March 1 and March 18, 2022 and pay the associated $10 fee for each individual that they will sponsor for an H-1B classification during the annual filing period. Employers that have used the registration system in prior H-1B cap lotteries may continue to use their existing accounts for this year’s cap registration. Employers setting up new accounts may do so beginning Monday, February 21.
The registration will include basic information about the employer, such as its name, tax identification number, primary office location, authorized signatory and an attestation that the company intends to file an H-1B petition, if selected, for the individual beneficiary, as well as the name of the individual that the employer will sponsor, and that individual’s date of birth, country of birth and citizenship, passport number and whether the individual has a Master’s degree or higher level degree from a U.S. institution.
This system does not change the annual numerical limit on H-1B visas. As in prior years, there will be 65,000 slots available under the “regular cap,” which includes those with U.S. or foreign-earned Bachelor’s degrees or advanced degrees earned outside the U.S. and an additional 20,000 slots available for those with advanced degrees earned from a U.S. institution.
At the end of the registration period on March 18, 2022, if USCIS has received more registrations than there are visas available, the agency will conduct a lottery and notify employers if their registration was selected in the lottery. If a case is selected during the lottery, the employer will be notified by March 31, 2022. Selection in the lottery allows the employer to file an H-1B petition but does not guarantee approval of the petition.
Employers will have a 90-day window, expected to open April 1, 2022, in which to file a petition. If USCIS has not received enough petitions by the end of this filing window to meet the quota, USCIS may run additional lotteries and designate new filing periods as appropriate.
Practical Implications of the System
An employer must collect basic information and file a registration by noon ET on March 18, 2022 to participate in the coming year’s annual H-1B cap. Thus, employers should review their population of current and potential employees to identify those for whom they would like to file an H-1B petition. This often includes employees working pursuant to student status such as F-1 OPT or STEM OPT, as well as other employees and candidates. Employers are able to register multiple individuals at once, but may only submit one registration per intended beneficiary.
Please feel free to contact us to discuss the new system and employees for whom you would like to file an H-1B petition or with any follow-up questions.