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 Updates
- Lottery Dates
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:
- 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in the lottery a few extra petitions for a year to account for the petitions that may get denied, rejected, or withdrawn during a fiscal year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- The “current number” doesn’t include any petitions that have already been denied, rejected, or withdrawn on the cap publication date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 the H-1B Registration Rule
What Does the Current Process Look Like After the 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(not this year)
- 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:
- Legal Name of the H-1B applicant – First, Middle, and Family Name
- Gender of the applicant
- Option to select, if the applicant is eligible for US Masters H-1B Quota
- Date of Birth
- Country of Birth
- Country of Citizenship
- 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 the 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
Updates On the Implementation of Wage Level Rule
DHS published the final rule related to the above-described change in the lottery selection process on Jan 8th, 2021
The rule was set to be effective from March 9, 2021
Biden administration delayed the effective date to December 31, 2021, and clarified that it will not be applicable for FY 2022 Season
USCIS will follow standard registration and random selection based lottery for the upcoming H1B 2022 season, same as last year
H-1B 2022 Dates for Registration, Lottery, and Result Timelines:
USCIS has announced the dates for the H1B Electronic Registration Process
H-1B Registration Process Timelines
- March 9: H-1B registration period opens at noon ET
- March 25: H-1B registration period closes at noon ET
- March 31: Date by which USCIS intends to notify selected registrants
- April 1: The earliest date that FY 2022 H-1B cap-subject petitions may be filed
Registration Selection Notifications
USCIS intends to notify registrants and their representatives with selected registrations via their USCIS online accounts no later than March 31, 2021.
A registrant’s USCIS online account will show one of the following statuses for each registration:
The registration has been submitted and is eligible for selection. If the initial selection process has been completed, this registration remains eligible, unless subsequently invalidated, for selection in any subsequent selections for the fiscal year for which it was submitted.
Selected to file an H-1B cap petition.
3. Not Selected:
Not selected – not eligible to file an H-1B cap petition based on this registration.
Multiple registrations were submitted by or on behalf of the same registrant for the same beneficiary. If denied as a duplicate registration, all registrations submitted by or on behalf of the same registrant for this beneficiary for the fiscal year are invalid.
5. Invalidated-Failed Payment:
A registration was submitted but the payment method was declined, not reconciled, or otherwise invalid.
Things to Look for After Registration
- H-1B cap-subject beneficiaries, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption, must have a valid “Selected” registration notification for that specific fiscal year in order for a registrant or representative to properly file an H-1B cap-subject petition
- The status of registrations that are not selected as part of any initial random selection process, and not denied or invalidated, will remain as “Submitted.”
- Registrants and representatives that are not selected will not be notified until after USCIS has determined that they have reached the H-1B cap for that fiscal year
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:
Due to popular demand (and a few e-mails from people who could not join the H-1B webinar I hosted 2 weeks ago), I decided to have another H-1B CAP webinar on February 25, 2021, at 12pm (CST).
I will cover the following topics:
1. H-1B Registration
2. Information about the selection process
3. H-1B Requirements for the Employer and the Employee
4. Tips to avoid an RFE
5. Considerations for OPT students
6. Q &A
If you are interested, and could not make the previous webinar, you can register here: