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Be Ready for the H-1B Lottery: USCIS’ New Proposed Process

Bridge Team Member

With the H-1B lottery season quickly approaching, we want to outline USCIS’ new proposed process and ensure that you have all the information to make the best choices for your company and employees.

What You Need To Know:

⇒ What is the H-1B lottery?

The H-1B lottery is held once annually for those holding a bachelor’s degree or higher, and will be employed in specialty occupations in the United States for a temporary period.

⇒ How has it worked previously?

Historically, USCIS has accepted fully prepared petitions the first week of April. They then randomly select 20,000 visas from a master’s cap, and then 65,000 from a mix of both master’s and bachelor’s degree applicants. The 85,000 randomly selected petitions are then adjudicated throughout the summer, and the unselected petitions and filing fees are returned.

⇒ How is it changing this year?

USCIS is introducing an online registration system for companies to enter their employees electronically prior to physical petition submission at the cost of $10 per entry. The registration period will be held March 1st through 20th, and applicants will be selected at the end of March. A new change in the ordering of the lottery process will slightly improve the odds of master’s candidates being selected vs prior years. There will then be a 90 day window for USCIS to receive physical petitions after selection.

To learn more you can read the Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the New Electronic H-1B Registration Process from the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

What is Bridge doing to ensure a best-in-class employee experience?

We’ve spoken to our attorney partner network, and given the unknowns associated with this year’s lottery, recommend the following filing plan:

H-1B Lottery Plan

Includes:

  • Registering the international employee for the electronic H-1B lottery system.
  • Full preparation of the entire H-1B lottery petition to print, prior to lottery selection.
  • Expedited filing upon selection notification.

Why our experts recommend this plan:

  • Ensures timely filing after lottery selection as the case has already been reviewed and prepared.
  • Adjudicated on a “first come, first served” basis with USCIS, ensuring that important dates are preserved.
  • Mitigates the industry's concerns of the brand new USCIS lottery registration system failing. Should there be deficiencies in the registration system due to high submission volume, we expect USCIS will default to paper petition submissions as they have previously done for the past 15 years. With this plan, we’ll be ready!

If selected:

Bridge will bill the required government fees and file the printed H-1B petition within 5 business days of payment receipt.

What to Do Next

You can access the Bridge Platform and begin your application processes as early as today. Even if you are not certain about a candidate or their eligibility, please kick off the process so the legal team can begin an initial evaluation.

You can open cases directly from your dashboard, but if you need assistance, contact our Client Services team who can help!

If you don't have an access to our platform yet, talk to one of our experts and we'll get you started right away!

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