In 2020 USCIS implemented an electronic registration process for the H-1B cap. Prospective petitioners seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions, including for beneficiaries eligible for the advanced degree exemption, must first electronically register and pay the associated $10 H-1B registration fee for each beneficiary.
The electronic registration process has streamlined processing by reducing paperwork and data exchange, and has provided overall cost savings to employers seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions.
Under this process, prospective petitioners (also known as registrants), and their authorized representatives, who are seeking to employ H-1B workers subject to the cap, complete a registration process that requires only basic information about the prospective petitioner and each requested worker. We will open an initial registration period for a minimum of 14 calendar days each fiscal year. The H-1B selection process will then be run on properly submitted electronic registrations. Only those with selected registrations will be eligible to file H-1B cap-subject petitions.
Selections will take place after the initial registration period closes, so there is no requirement to register on the day the initial registration period opens.
FY 2023 H-1B Cap Registration Timeline
- January/February: Work with a qualified legal team to ensure the strongest possible case strategy
- February 21, 2022: Registrants (employers and their attorneys) will be able to create new USCIS accounts at noon Eastern
- March 1, 2022: Initial registration period for the FY2023 H-1B cap lottery. During this period, employers and legal representatives will be able to complete and submit their registrations using USCIS’ online H-1B registration system
- March 18, 2022: H-1B registration period closes at noon Eastern
- March 31: Date by which USCIS intends to notify selected registrants
- October 1: The earliest possible start date on your petition, if your registration was selected
After the first round of selection, Employers will have a 90-day window during which to file H-1B cap petitions for selected registrants. The petition filing period is expected to start no later than April 1, 2022.
If by the end of the first filing window USCIS has not received enough petitions to reach the annual quota, they may designate subsequent filing windows until all the visa numbers are allocated.
H-1B Categories and Annual Quotas
H-1B petitions generally fall within two categories:
- “Standard” Cap Petitions. The minimum educational requirement for a standard H-1B petition is a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. Standard cases are capped at 65,000 visas annually with approximately 6,800 reserved for nationals of Chile and Singapore.
- Advanced Degree Petitions. The beneficiary must hold an advanced degree, defined as a master’s degree or higher, awarded by a U.S. university. USCIS allocates an additional 20,000 H-1B visas for U.S. advanced degree holders each fiscal year.
H-1B Petitions Not Subject to the Cap
Certain H-1B petitions are not counted against the annual cap, including:
- Individuals in H-1B status previously counted against the cap. In most instances, individuals who were counted against the cap in a previous fiscal year are not subject to the current cap. This includes extensions of status for current H-1B visa holders, changes in the terms of employment for current H-1B workers, and most petitions for changes of H-1B employers and petitions for concurrent employment in a second H-1B position.
- Petitions filed by cap exempt organizations. H-1B petitions for employment at institutions of higher learning or related/affiliated nonprofit entities, nonprofit research organizations, and governmental research organizations are cap-exempt, and may be filed any time throughout the year.
If you are interested in applying for an H-1B visa, it is highly recommended to consult with an experienced immigration attorney. An immigration expert can assess your case, provide viable advice and guide you through the process as well as help to avoid unnecessary complications along the way, which increases your chances of being approved. Here, at Root Law Group, we offer a free consultation with our knowledgeable immigration attorneys. Call us at (323) 456 7600 to schedule your appointment. Let’s talk about your immigration case today!