FREE DOWNLOAD: Click Here To Download The Employers Guide to the H-1B Process.

FREE DOWNLOAD: Click Here To Download The Employers Guide to the H-1B Process.
How the H-1B Lottery Works for FY 2024

Registration for H-1B visas is open from March 1st through the 17th of this year. However, registering is just the first step in a much longer process. Before a registrant can begin the application process, they must be chosen in the annual H-1B lottery. 

This lottery system is the most equitable way USCIS has found to manage the influx of prospective H-1B applicants. However, it can be confusing to many potential employers and employees who would like to apply for an employment visa. Here’s what you need to know about how the H-1B lottery will work for fiscal year (FY) 2024 and how to minimize the risk of an unsuccessful registration or application.

The H-1B Lottery Process for FY 2024

The H-1B visa is one of the most valuable offered by the U.S. because it is flexible, provides a clear path toward a green card, and allows workers to bring their immediate family with them. It also has a strict cap, with only 65,000 regular visas available and an exemption for up to 20,000 additional individuals with advanced degrees. 

As such, demand often outpaces supply. For example, during the registration period for FY 2023, USCIS received 483,927 registrants – nearly six times more than the number of available visas. Previous years saw similarly high levels of demand. That is why USCIS implemented the lottery system. 

The H-1B lottery randomly selects prospective applicants from among the pool of completed registrations. For a potential candidate to be considered, they must register in the 17-day open registration period, and their submission must be accurate, complete, and correct. 

Once the registration period closes, USCIS spends a few weeks analyzing the submissions, getting rid of duplicates, and performing a random lottery. Registrants chosen in the drawing will be notified by March 31st, and applications can be submitted starting April 1st

Sometimes, a second and even a third drawing may be performed if people selected in the lottery decline to apply for a visa or have their applications denied. For example, USCIS conducted three total lotteries for FY 2022 to fill the quota. If a registrant was eligible but not chosen in the first round lottery, they might still be selected in later rounds. 

Can You Improve Your H-1B Lottery Odds?

Making a registrant more likely to be chosen in the lottery is impossible because it is a random process. However, it is possible to hurt your odds or be disqualified. For example, if your registration is not complete, true, and accurate, it may not be considered. 

Furthermore, USCIS has tightened the rules on registering for FY 2024. All potential registrants must attest that they have not “worked with, or agreed to work with, another registrant, petitioner, agent, or other individual or entity to submit a registration to unfairly increase chances of selection for the beneficiary or beneficiaries in this submission.” 

In other words, registrants or their sponsors may not submit duplicate registrations for a single individual to increase their chances of selection. If it is found that someone has been registered multiple times, they will be removed from consideration for the FY 2024 period entirely. This cannot be appealed. 

Applying for H-1B Visas After Lottery Drawings

While registering for the H-1B visa lottery is essential, it is just the beginning of the process. The real work to acquire an H-1B visa occurs after a registrant is selected. This is when they and their sponsor must submit all the necessary paperwork to apply for the visa.

The potential candidate is not returned to the drawing pool if an application is denied. They must reregister and hope to be chosen again the next year. However, if the application is completed and the sponsor and applicant can demonstrate they fully qualify for the visa, they are guaranteed to receive one. 

That’s why it’s critical to ensure your application is submitted correctly. At Litwin & Smith, our skilled immigration attorneys understand how the process works, what needs to be done, and when. We can ensure your FY 2024 H-1B registration and application are completed fully and accurately to minimize your risk of denials. Learn more about how we can assist with the H-1B visa lottery by scheduling your consultation today. 

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