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Tips for the H-1B Lottery: How to Prepare

Emma Cibula
Client Services Associate

In 2020, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) unveiled its new process for selecting registrations in the 2020 H-1B Cap lottery. Under this new system, all registrants seeking to apply for an H-1B for the first time were entered into USCIS’ my.USCIS.gov website by their company and/or company’s legal representative. 

From there, USCIS conducted its selection rounds to choose 85,000 new H-1B applicants in the lottery. These applicants then had the opportunity for their company to submit a full H-1B petition to be adjudicated by USCIS.

While USCIS has yet to confirm the exact process that will follow for the 2021 H-1B Cap lottery, here are some helpful tips based on last year’s system to help companies prepare for next year’s process:

1. Start considering H-1B Cap sponsorships for eligible employees now

   a. While we don't expect the H-1B registration period to open until March 2021, companies should begin to proactively think about which employees they may wish to sponsor in this year's lottery. Start collecting basic details for these employees such as: 

               i. Position description

               ii. Proposed salary

              iii. Work location(s)

              iv. Education required for the role (e.g. bachelor’s degree, master’s degree etc.)

    Your immigration team will need this information to help complete the registration process.

2. Note which employees have the option for a work authorization extension

     a. Make sure to pay close attention to employees’ current status and work authorization expiration dates. Some employees may have upcoming expiration dates before 10/01/2021, the first possible date these individuals can switch over to H-1B status. If you notice any upcoming expiration dates, please contact your immigration team for further advice on how to proceed, and how to prepare in case any of these employees are not selected in the upcoming H-1B lottery.

3. Collect documentation for the H-1B petition filings for selected employees

      a. In 2020, clients had 90 days from the notice of selection to submit the full petition for selected registrants. The selection notices issued for all individuals with a “selected” status will indicate the filing period for these H-1B petitions. While any “selected” petition properly received within the filing window will be considered for adjudication, in 2020, these petitions were generally adjudicated on a first-come, first serve basis. Prepare in advance by working with employees to collect necessary documentation such as official diplomas and transcripts, copies of a valid passport etc. in order to file the H-1B petitions as soon as possible.

4. Stay vigilant for updates to the H-1B Cap lottery/registration process!

     a. The above tips are based on the 2020 H-1B Cap registration and lottery process. While there have been alternative proposals to adjust the H-1B Cap. process in recent months, no new information for next year’s process has been confirmed. Be sure to look out for Bridge’s updates as more announcements are rolled out by USCIS for the 2021 H-1B Cap registration and lottery processes.

Do you need help applying for the lottery this year for your international employees? Find out more about what our full service team can do to help you register and, if selected, file your petition.

Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult a Bridge-affiliated partner attorney or another qualified legal professional.


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