What You Need To Know About the H-1B Lottery
What is the H-1B lottery?
The H-1B lottery is held once annually for those employed in a specialty occupation role (a job that requires a bachelor's or higher degree in a related major) in the United States for a temporary period.
How does the H-1B Lottery Process work?
Companies can now use USCIS' online registration system (my.USCIS.gov) to enter their employees in the lottery electronically. Last year, the registration period was held between March 1st through the 20th, and applicants were selected at the end of March. There was then a 90-day window for employers to file any H-1B petitions for employees selected in the H-1B lottery.
USCIS hasn’t yet released the official 2023 (FY 2024) H-1B lottery dates, but we suspect that the timeline will be similar to last year.
Which employees should we consider for the lottery?
- Employees who were not selected in previous lotteries
- Employees who are currently working abroad
- Employees in F-1 student statuses using OPT, STEM OPT, or CPT work authorization
- Employees in TN, E-3, or EAD status as a dependent to a principal visa holder (H-4, L-2, E-3D, etc.)
- Employees who you may consider for green card sponsorship in the future
What are next steps if I have an employee who I want to enter in the lottery?
We've updated this timeline modeled after USCIS' FY 2024 guidelines*
- January/February: Work with relevant managers, legal team, and international candidate to ensure the strongest possible case strategy.
- February 21, 2023: Registrants (employers and their attorneys) will be able to create new USCIS accounts at noon Eastern
- March 1, 2023: Initial registration period for the FY2023 H-1B cap lottery opens at noon Eastern. During this period, employers and legal representatives will be able to complete and submit their registrations using USCIS’ online H-1B registration system.
- March 17, 2023: 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
Consider starting the conversations about filing as early as possible and collecting the relevant data and documentation so as to avoid increasing additional anxiety or urgency into the process for all stakeholders. Check out more FAQs about H-1B Cap lottery.
*updated with recently published USCIS FY2024 timelines
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.