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USCIS Releases Selection Numbers for the FY 2025 H-1B Cap

At a Glance

  • USCIS received eligible registrations for 442,000 unique beneficiaries in the FY 2025 H-1B cap season and selected 114,017 – or 25.8% – of these beneficiaries. 
  • The overall number of registrations submitted in FY 2025 decreased sharply from last year; 470,342 eligible registrations were filed this year, while a record 758,994 registrations were filed last year, which raised concerns about abuse of the H-1B cap registration system and prompted significant changes in the system this year.
  • In the FY 2025 cap, there was also a significant decrease in the number of registrations submitted for foreign nationals with multiple registrations, another factor of concern in last year’s cap season.
  • USCIS is not expected to make a decision on whether to conduct a second cap lottery until at least July 2023, after the current H-1B filing period closes.

The issue

USCIS announced today that it received H-1B cap registrations for approximately 442,000 unique beneficiaries for FY 2025. The agency selected 114,017 of these beneficiaries – or approximately 25.8% of those registered -- to meet the annual H-1B quota of 85,000. This is comparable to prior cap years; 24.8% of eligible registrations were selected in the FY 2024 cap season and 26.9% in the FY 2023 season. USCIS has not yet disclosed how many beneficiaries were selected against the H-1B cap exemption for individuals with U.S. advanced degrees, which comprises 20,000 of the 85,00 total cap numbers.

A closer look

This year, USCIS conducted a new beneficiary-centric cap selection process instead of the registration-centric selection conducted in prior cap years. In response to last year’s concerns regarding misuse of the H-1B registration process, the change to a beneficiary-centric system was meant to reduce the incentive for entities to collaborate to submit multiple registrations on behalf of the same foreign national, and therefore unfairly increase the foreign national’s chance of selection the lottery. 

According to USCIS, data from the FY 2025 registration process indicate a reduction in this type of misuse under the new beneficiary-centric system. The agency cites a drastic decrease in overall registrations submitted – 479,342 eligible registrations submitted in FY25, down from a record high of 758,994 submitted in FY24 – as well as a 38.6% decrease in the average number of registrations submitted per beneficiary. In FY24, there was an average of 1.7 registrations submitted per foreign national; in FY25, the average is 1.06 registrations per foreign national. The agency notes that it continues to make law enforcement referrals resulting from the FY 2023 and FY 2024 H-1B cap seasons, and will deny, revoke, investigate and possible refer to law enforcement any FY 2025 registrations or petitions that are found to have violated the process rules to obtain an unfair advantage.

Approximately 442,000 unique beneficiaries were registered for the FY 2025 cap, which is comparable to the approximate 446,000 registered last year. Similarly, the number of unique employers submitting registrations in FY 2025 (approx. 52,700) is comparable to the FY 2024 number (approx. 52,000). 

Will USCIS conduct a second cap selection lottery for FY 2024?

USCIS normally selects more registrations than needed to meet the annual 85,000 H-1B quota, to account for cases for which no petition is ultimately filed, as well as cases that are denied, rejected, withdrawn, or revoked.  However, should the initial selection not yield sufficient petitions filed for unique beneficiaries to meet the annual quota, the agency may decide to conduct a second lottery among submitted FY 2025 registrations for unique beneficiaries.

It is unlikely that the agency will make a decision on whether to conduct a second lottery until July at the earliest, after the petition filing period for selected beneficiaries closes.  USCIS’s decision is likely to depend heavily on the number of H-1B cap petitions the agency receives for unique beneficiaries during the current H-1B filing period, which ends on June 30.

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