H-1B Lottery Process for FY 2025 Begins March 6

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has met the deadline it set for itself just a few weeks ago and published guidance about the 2025 H-1B lottery process. The lottery opens at Noon EST on March 6, 2024, and concludes at noon EST on March 22, 2024. It is only during this 17-day period that employers or their representatives can register potential new cap-subject H-1B visa recipients through an online USCIS account

When the registration process is completed, USCIS will run a randomized computer program to select the new cap-subject 2025 H-1B visa recipients based on the annual cap. The cap is set at 65,000 for regular H-1B visas, with an additional 20,000 under the “master’s exemption,” a distinct lottery for individuals with advanced degrees from an accredited university in the United States. 

Selected registrants will be notified on March 31. 

New Selection Process 

On January 30, 2024, USCIS published a final rule “to strengthen integrity and reduce the potential for fraud.” Instead of the old employer-centric petition registration process, the new beneficiary-centric selection process enables multiple employers to submit a petition for the same noncitizen, but USCIS will only select an individual noncitizen once

Employers intending to file H-1B petitions must also complete an electronic registration for every case. This year, the employer must enter each registrant’s valid passport or travel number. If selected, the information used in the H-1B petition filing must be the same as that used in registration. The USCIS believes their new approach — focusing on the individual registrant rather than the employer – will make the selection odds more equitable. 

Individual registrants not selected in the H-1B lottery may be suitable for another visa program, depending on specific qualifications and the nature of the job offer. 

Act Fast 

If you have job candidates that you want entered in the 2025 H-1B lottery, you’ll need to act fast. The application fee remains $10.00. Next year, the fee will increase to $215. If you need help with the new registration process — including preparing and filing selected petitions — don’t hesitate to contact Orr & Reno for assistance.

Emily A. White

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