On March 27, 2023, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it had completed the selection process for the Fiscal Year 2024 H-1B cap lottery and that all employers for whom an H-1B was selected have been notified. Immigration law sets an annual limit on these coveted work visas, doling out only 65,000 regular H-1B visas and an additional 20,000 H-1B visas for those with a U.S. Master’s degree or higher each year. Historically, the demand for these visas exceeded the supply and has grown exponentially since 2021, when the lottery became electronic. USCIS received 308,613 registrations in 2021 and 484,927 in 2022. USCIS has not yet announced the number of registrations received this year, but anecdotally it appears that the number grew again given the low percentage of cases selected among attorneys and employers.
The USCIS portal (my.USCIS.gov) lists the following statuses for everyone registered in this year’s H-1B lottery:
Employers are only able to proceed with filing H-1B petitions for those marked “Selected.”
USCIS will begin accepting H-1B petitions for those who were selected in the H-1B lottery on April 1, 2023 and continue to accept them until June 30, 2023. All FY 2024 H-1B cap petitions must be filed during this time and failure to file in this window will result in forfeiting the selection. Once filed, USCIS may take months or weeks to review and adjudicate the H-1B petition, depending on whether it was filed with regular processing or premium processing. Premium processing requires paying USCIS an additional $2500 and results in a response within 15 days. If approved, the individual may begin working for the employer in H-1B status as early as October 1, 2023 (or later if approved later).
If an individual’s registration was not selected in this round, it will remain eligible for subsequent lotteries, should USCIS determine that it needs to conduct additional lotteries because it did not receive a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to meet the 85,000 annual quota during the filing period between April 1, 2023 to June 30, 2023. USCIS held 2 lotteries in 2020, 3 lotteries in 2021, but only 1 lottery in 2022. There is no way of knowing whether USCIS will conduct additional lotteries at this point in time and it may be months before we know.
Given the abysmal rate of selection this year and in recent years past, the vast majority of those who registered were not selected in the lottery and now have to explore other options for working or continuing to work in the U.S. You may learn more about alternatives to the H-1B visa:
You may also schedule a consultation with an attorney at Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan, P.C. to discuss your options in detail.