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How to Prepare for the H-1B Cap Lottery

Posted by Ann Badmus | Feb 22, 2021 | 0 Comments

Employers who plan to hire or retain potential H-1B employees should prepare now for the H-1B cap registration period (“H-1B Cap Lottery”), which runs from March 9 through March 25, 2021.  Registrants who are selected will have the opportunity to apply for an H-1B visa between April 1, 2021 and June 30, 2021.   The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) intends to select from the registrations no later than March 31, 2021. 

The H-1B quota  for this fiscal year is 65,000 for those who hold at least  a bachelor's degree or its equivalent. In addition, 20,000 H-1B visas are set aside for those who hold a U.S. master's degree or higher. The H-1B selection process is very competitive. Last year, the USCIS received about 275,000 registrations for these visas.  It's expected this year's registrations will be even higher.

An employer may only submit one registration for each employee, Submitting more than one registration for the same employee will invalidate all registrations for that employee.  However, an employee can have multiple registrations from different employers.

Here are the key steps employers need to take now to register for the extremely competitive H-1B cap lottery:

  • Designate a company representative responsible for the electronic registration.
  • Identify potential employees, particularly those with expiring F-1 OPT employment authorization, who need an H-1B visa.
  • Gather the necessary data required such as the federal employer identification number (FEIN) for your company, the  employee's passport information, detailed job description, and the employee's degree certificates. If you have multiple entities, be sure to register the company that will actually employ and pay the employee.
  • Determine whether the employee is eligible for the master's cap or bachelor's cap.  Note that master's degrees awarded by for-profit U.S. universities generally do not qualify for the master's cap.
  • Calendar the deadline for registration and don't miss it!

If your registration is not selected, consult with an immigration attorney to determine whether other viable options are available.

This article is intended to help you understand immigration basics,  is offered only as general information and education, and is not legal advice or legal opinion about your specific circumstances. You should not act or rely upon the information in this article without seeking the advice of an immigration attorney.

For a comprehensive evaluation of your immigration options, you are invited to call us at 214-494-8033, or complete our contact form .

About the Author

Ann Badmus

Principal and Managing Attorney


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