2022 H1B Visa Lottery Frequently Asked Questions

In this blog, we will cover all the aspects of the H-1B visa fiscal year 2022 season

We will cover the following:

  • A brief overview of The Quota Cap
  • A Brief Overview of the Registration process
  • New Rule
  • Possible Lottery Dates
  • Fees

We will also continue to update this blog as there are new updates

H-1B Visa Quota FY 2022

There are two categories of H-1B visa:

  • Regular
  • Master Cap

H-1B Quota Cap aka Congressional limit for H-1B is 85000

  • The regular Quota is 65,000
  • H-1B Master Quota is 20,000

Special Note about Regular Cap: H1B regular quota includes 6,800 petitions that are for Singapore and Chile free trade agreement

How is the Regular Quota Cap Counted?

Presume Current fiscal year Regular Cap quota = X (65000)

Presume Singapore + Chile Free Trade agreement Petitions (H1-B1 Cap) filed in Previous Fiscal Year =Y

Hence, H-1B Regular Cap for the Year 2022 = 65000-(6800+ Unused H-1B1 numbers from Previous year Y  + Additional petitions accepted by USCIS as a buffer for denials, rejections).

  • Historically, USCIS accept/select in the lottery a few extra petitions for a year to account for the petitions that may get denied, rejected, or withdrawn during a fiscal year
  • The unused H-1B1 petitions for the previous year are first added to the cap and consumed
  • So, when USCIS publishes a cap count of X number that number already includes the unused H-1B1 number of the previous year
  • The count of petitions for the current fiscal year only includes petitions that reached USCIS prior to the final receipt date (if already declared) and which are either pending processing or have been approved
  • The “current number” doesn’t include any petitions that have already been denied, rejected, or withdrawn on the cap publication date

What is Order of Filling Quota Cap?

It might so happen that the advanced degree cap fills up before the regular cap, in that case, eligible petitions for this cap are routed to the regular Cap.

History of Cap Selection

  • Cap Selection is random as a regular lottery
  • Until the fiscal year 2020, USCIS used to accept the petitions under the H-1B cap for the first 5 days, from the start date of the season (April 1st to April 5th)
  • If the cap reached within the first 5 days of the new filing season, USCIS would use a computer-based random selection to select the H-1B petitions to meet the cap
  • This process was followed for an advanced degree or master’s cap. The ones that didn’t make it through this were added to Regular Cap, and another random selection was done for these
  • This process changed from FY 2021 season, since the introduction of H-1B Registration Rule

What Does the Current Process Look Like After H-1B Registration Rule Has Been Introduced?

  • Since, H-1B Visa 2021Season, USCIS has introduced the H-1B registration rule
  • The concept of the H-1B lottery still in place, If USCIS receives more petitions than the total cap
  • The order of the lottery has changed now, where first the lottery is done for the regular cap and then unselected masters cap petitions are separated and the lottery is done for them again

What are Cap-Exempt Petitions?

  • Cap Exempt is not dependent on the lottery or the time of the year
  • The only caveat to a few Cap- exempt petitions is they cannot be converted to cap-subject categories. Hence are not as flexible as regular H-1Bs
  • These petitions can be filed anytime during the year, and are not subject to April 1 filing date and October 1 start date

H-1B Cap-Exempt Petitions Fall Under the Following Categories:

  • It can be used to extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the US (aka H1B extension)
  • It can also be used to change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers (aka H-1B amendment)
  • It is often used to allow current H-1B workers to change employers (aka H-1B transfer)
  • It is a useful tool to allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position (aka concurrent H-1B)
  • This is a popular visa for an exempted employer like a non-profit, hospital, university, etc.

H-1B 2022 Lottery Predictions

  • DHS is planning to make changes to the general rules of the lottery, by introducing wage level
  • This is still a proposed rule and not a final rule yet. So, we do not know yet, if this will be applicable for FY 2022 season or not
  • We expect that there would be an H-1B lottery for FY 2022 year as well based on historical data & demand patterns
  • Nearly 275,000 unique registrations were submitted during the initial registration period for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021
  • Roughly 46% of all registrations were for prospective beneficiaries with U.S. advanced degrees. There were more than 40,000 registration accounts created, and nearly 81% of submitted registrations were for potential beneficiaries from India (67.7%) and China (13.2%)

Original USCIS press release published on 04/01/2020 could be found here

H-1B 2022 Registration Process for Lottery

  • In the past, employers had to send an H1B package with a fee, H-1B LCA, supporting documents to be eligible for the H-1B lottery
  •  It was an immense time & money investment for employers and USCIS to handle this
  • To save time and effort for everyone, starting from H-1B 2021 season, USCIS implemented a registration process
  •  The fiscal year 2021 was the first season USCIS successfully implemented and rolled out the H-1B registration process
  •  In the new process, employers do not have to send the H-1B package, but they have to submit H-1B registrations for their applicants using an online system
  • Once the petition is selected, then the employer will need the complete petition along with other documents
  • H-1B Registration fee is $10 USD per applicant, to be paid by the employer
  • H-1B Sponsors/ Employers need to register the applicant, they plan to file H-1B for, by filling out basic information related to the applicant

Below are the Details that Employer Need to submit for each H-1B applicant:

  1. Legal Name of the H-1B applicant – First, Middle, and Family Name
  2. Gender of the applicant
  3. Option to select, if the applicant is eligible for US Masters H-1B Quota
  4. Date of Birth
  5. Country of Birth
  6. Country of Citizenship
  7. Passport Number

We have prepared a document checklist for both Registration and Petition:

You Can use this H-1B Registration and Petition Checklist here

Proposed New Rule: H-1B Lottery Based on Wage Levels?

  • DHS published a proposed rule in the Federal Register seeking comments to change the current H-1B Lottery process
  • The current process is random selection hence no preference given to anyone with a particular skill or wage level
  •  In the proposed new lottery process, they want to select H-1B registrations based on the wage levels of H-1B applicant
  • The goal is to hire the best and the brightest
  •  DHS believes that skilled H-1B workers are paid higher wages and in higher-wage levels

We wrote in detail about Wage Levels here.

Part of that rule has already been ruled out for existing H-1Bs

As per the proposed H-1B lottery selection process, they will sort the H-1B registrations in descending order from Wage Level IV, followed by Level III, Level II, and Level I

They will pick the H-1B registrations of Level IV, followed by Level III, then Level II, and lastly Level I to meet the H-1B quota cap of 85,000

As mentioned before, this rule has not been finalized, so we don’t have a definite idea about the implementation timeline

H-1B 2022 Dates for Registration, Lottery, and Result Timelines:

H-1B season used to start on April 1st when USCIS accepted paper application

But, since the introduction of the registration process, the dates have changed to handle the new online process and lottery

USCIS is yet to announce the dates for FY 2022 on H1B Electronic Registration Process

Until we get official dates for FY 2022, we have used FY 2021 dates as a baseline for planning purposes. We will update the below dates, once we have official dates

  1. H-1B Employer Account Registration

    • Very likely from Feb 24th, 2021
    • Starting from this day, employers can create new accounts on the USCIS website to submit the H-1B registrations during the registrations filing window
  2. H-1B Registrations Submission Period:

    • Very likely from March 1st, 2021 through March 20th, 2021
    • During this period, employers can submit registrations for the applicants, that they plan to sponsor H1B visa if they would be selected in the lottery
  3. H-1B Registration Selection Results:

    • Very likely by March 31st, 2021.
    • The lottery results for the first round of selections would be announced. Whoever is selected would be electronically notified and they can download H1B Registration Selection Notice, which they would need to use for filing the H-1B petition.  There may be a second-round lottery depending on the demand and non-submissions of applications by selected employers
  4. H-1B Cap-Subject Application Filing Dates

    • Very likely from April 1st, 2021 until June 30, 2021
    • If you get selected in the H-1B registration lottery, you would get 90 days starting from April 1st, to submit the entire H1B Package to USCIS with the required fee, LCA, and supporting documents

H-1B Visa 2022 Filing Fee

  • During the first step of registration, there is only a $10 fee for the employer
  • Once the registration is selected, then the employer needs to submit the complete H-1B filing fee based on their status
  • Also, H-1B visa petition filing involves two things, one is the fee your employer pays to USCIS, second is the fee that they may need to pay an Immigration attorney if they do not have an in-house immigration team
  • The overall H-1B fee can vary anywhere from $1,720 USD to  $8,970 USD + the Immigration Attorney Fee

 

Note: USCIS based filing fees were supposed to go up by $95 to be $555 from October 2020, but it was blocked by Court.  As of now, there is no new update on the same and USCIS continues to accept the previous fee schedule.

 

If you have any question or comments about H-1B registration, eligibility, or have questions about the Green Card procedure in general, you can schedule a consultation with us:

Schedule a call at 469-994-9407  or contact us using the form.