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H-1B Lottery to Open on March 6 With Notable Changes

The annual H-1B electronic registration period (often known as the H-1B lottery) for Fiscal Year 2025 will open March 6 and run through 12 p.m. EST March 22. During this period, prospective H-1B employers and their representatives will be able to submit registrations for potential H-1B candidates.

The H-1B is one of the few work authorization options that allows foreign nationals to gain temporary permission to live and work in the United States for a qualifying U.S. employer. There are numerical limitations on the number of new H-1Bs approved each year, and the demand generally greatly exceeds the supply.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) runs an annual electronic lottery where submissions are selected at random for further adjudication. As a result of the lottery system, it could take applicants several tries over the course of years to be selected.

  • This year, USCIS is launching new organizational accounts that will allow multiple people in an organization and their legal representatives to collaborate on and prepare H-1B registrations and some related filings.
  • Also, for those selected in the lottery, USCIS will begin accepting online filing for H-1B cap petitions – a long-awaited change to past practice that required voluminous paper filings.
  • Finally, successful lottery petitioners will encounter increased H-1B petition filing fees this cycle and a longer ‘premium processing’ clock.

Employers should take this opportunity to review their U.S. workforce and prospective hires to identify potential H-1B candidates, and ensure their lottery submission is prepared and submitted on time.

Potential H-1B candidates can include employees in the U.S. pursuant to another temporary immigration status, global employees who currently sit abroad, or candidates who require work authorization to assume employment in the U.S. Note that the H-1B criteria involves demonstrating that the individual will be employed in a “specialty occupation”– a professional role requiring at least a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in a specific field of study.

Read More: Orrick 

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