Employers take note that the H-1B lottery for fiscal year (FY) 2025 will take place in just a few weeks. The H-1B is a work-based visa that allows foreign nationals to work for a U.S. employer in a position that requires a bachelor’s degree or above. There are only 65,000 available each year, so registrations are submitted into a lottery system. If you have any employees or potential employees who may benefit, you must register between March 6, 2024 and March 22, 2024.

Who may benefit from an H-1B

Recent graduates who are currently working for you pursuant to optional training status (OPT) or STEM OPT Candidates or employees who are in another nonimmigrant status, or applying for another nonimmigrant status who may instead benefit from the H-1B Candidates who are employed pursuant to a dependent visa and would like status independent of their spouse Candidates currently residing outside of the U.S. who you would like to employ in the U.S.

H-1B Cap and Registration Process

There is a congressionally mandated annual cap for new H-1B beneficiaries, which means there are only 65,000 new cap-subject H-1B visas issued per year. Only petitions filed for beneficiaries who have not previously been counted against the H-1B cap within the last six years are subject to the H-1B cap.

In 2020, USCIS implemented an electronic registration system to improve the randomized selection of H-1B cap subject submissions. The registration process requires basic information about the employer and beneficiary. There is a small non-refundable fee for each H-1B registration submitted (this year, only $10). At the end of the registration period, USCIS conducts a random selection process and notifies all selected registrants usually by March 31 of the given year. Those selected have three months to choose to file an H-1B petition. Employers have no obligation to file an H-1B petition, even if selected.

What’s new this year?

This year USCIS announced that they have launched the option to create organizational accounts for non-cap filings and the FY 2025 H-1B cap season. Organizational accounts will allow multiple individuals within an organization, and their legal representatives, to collaborate on and prepare H-1B registrations. In addition, for the first time Forms I-129 and I-907 can be filed online. These changes have been implemented to streamline the H-1B petition process. Today, February 28, 2024 is the first day U.S. employers may set up their organizational accounts for this cap season.

Don’t miss this year’s registration

Employers, if you have not already done so, now is the time to identify current and potential foreign national employees, or potential employees, who may benefit from registering for the annual H-1B cap as this registration only comes around once a year.