USCIS will soon be announcing the opening of the fiscal year (FY) 2025 H-1B Lottery. We are anticipating the process will be similar to years past, whereby employers seeking to file FY 2025 H-1B cap-subject petitions, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption, must first electronically register and pay a registration fee for each electronic registration they submit to USCIS using a MyUSCIS registrant online account. Under this process, employers or their authorized representatives will complete a registration that will require basic information about their company and each requested H-1B cap worker. USCIS will run a random selection on those electronic registrations. Only those with selected registrations will be eligible to file H-1B cap-subject petitions within 90 days of selection. The start date cannot be earlier than October 1, 2024.
H-1B Cap and Lottery Registration Process
The H-1B is available to employers seeking to hire a foreign national worker with at least a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in a relevant field for a position that requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in the field (also known as a specialty occupation). The employee must also be paid the prevailing rate of pay for the occupation. Under the rules, 65,000 new H-1B’s are issued each fiscal year, which begins on October 1, with an additional 20,000 for graduates of U.S. master’s degree programs. USCIS has historically accepted applications for cap-subject petitions beginning on April 1.
USCIS utilizes a lottery registration process for H-1B cap numbers, which normally opens in early March as there is more demand than there are visa numbers issued. Once the registration period closes, USCIS randomly selects a sufficient number of registrations filed during the registration window to meet the H-1B cap for the next fiscal year. Registrants are only allowed to submit one registration per beneficiary in any fiscal year.
How Should an Employer Prepare for the 2025 H-1B Lottery Season?
Employers should contact the Fredrikson Immigration Group as soon as possible with information about the employees who should be registered in the H-1B lottery. We will assess employees’ eligibility, confirm the position qualifies as a specialty occupation, and then prepare the registration to be submitted on the applicable date. If the registration is selected, we will prepare and file the formal H-1B petition with USCIS. Information about the employee should include job title, duties and proposed salary, as well as passport ID page of the employee and copies of diploma/transcripts. Once we are notified of the employees to be entered in the lottery, we will send a detailed registration checklist for each employee.
Identifying Candidates Who Need H-1B Sponsorship
The H-1B cap applies in most situations to new H-1B petitions for foreign workers who have not had H-1B status before. To avoid missing out on filing an H-1B petition under the FY 2025 H-1B cap, it is important to identify candidates who need sponsorship and are in professional positions. Some of the candidates may already be employed and working under temporary work authorization. Below are examples of cases where an employee or job candidate may need an H-1B sponsorship:
- Students who are working under Optional Practical Training (OPT) or Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and will need H-1B sponsorship to continue with their employment in the U.S. once their OPT or CPT expires.
- Candidates currently in H-1B status with an H-1B cap-exempt employer (institutions of higher education or a related or affiliated non-profit entity, non-profit research organizations, or governmental research organizations) who are seeking employment opportunities with cap-subject employers.
- Candidates who are in other nonimmigrant work status, such as TN, H-3, H-2, O-1 and J-1, but need to change their status to H-1B.
- Candidates who are in dependent status with work authorization, such as H-4 or J-2 with a valid EAD, L-2 spouse, or E-2 spouse, for whom H-1B would provide work authorization independent from their spouse’s immigration status.
Please contact us if you would like our assistance in registering, preparing and filing a cap-subject H-1B petition. We strongly recommend starting the H-1B registration process by identifying registration candidates as soon as possible. Fredrikson will provide further guidance regarding the registration process for FY 2025 as soon as USCIS releases its final guidance.