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December 13, 2019
3 minute read

Registration for H-1B Lottery Starts 1 March 2020

USCIS, announced last Friday, that it will be using a new electronic registration system for all those wishing to participate in the lottery for H-1B Visa numbers. Electronic registration will run between 1 March 2020 and 30 March 2020. If selected through the lottery, an employer will then have a short window to complete the application process for filing an actual H-1B Petition.

While the H-1B numbers for the next fiscal year will not be available until 1 October 2020, employers may file petition to request numbers as early as six months in advance, i.e., 1 April 2020. Historically, employers prepared complete and filed petitions during the first week of April. USCIS then conducted a lottery to see which of the petitions would be selected for processing.

Friday’s announcement included a change in USCIS procedure. Employers must register between 1 March 2020 and 20 March 2020 to see if they are selected. Registration will include providing information about the employer, the employee and the job opportunity. It is only through this registration process that allocation of an H-1B visa number may occur. If one is selected, then USCIS will provide a window for completing the petition process. If not selected, one would have to consider other options.

We are writing to encourage employers to review their hiring needs and determine whether they need to initiate H-1B processing for anticipated hires or even recent hires in other nonimmigrant status now.

Please contact us no later than 1 February 2020 to ensure sufficient time for us to be able to assist you.

For fiscal year 2018-2019 as well a all recent prior years, USCIS ran out of H-1B numbers within the first five days of the window filing! We anticipate that the numbers will run out again this year.

Employers should consider registering for the H-1B lottery this March under the following circumstances:

  • You are looking to hire an individual who is not in H-1B status already
  • You are hiring an individual who is already in H-1B status, but is currently employed with a college/university (this situation requires a new H-1B number)
  • You are hiring an individual who is already in H-1B status, but is with a non-profit or a government research organization (this situation requires a new H-1B number)
  • Your employee is in F-1 student status
  • Your employee is in L-1B status and is considering seeking legal permanent residency in the United Statues

Please contact Hodkinson Law Group at your earliest convenience if you have any questions concerning the above and how the information may apply to your particular circumstances.

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