U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) has announced that the initial registration period for the fiscal year 2022 H-1B cap season lottery will open at 12pm EST on March 9, 2021 and will run through March 25, 2021.
Because the demand for H-1B visas typically exceeds the number of visas available for a given year, USCIS conducts an annual lottery in order to determine which petitions will be selected for full adjudication to receive an H-1B visa. Importantly, the agency will not be implementing a new rule that was pushed through by the outgoing Trump administration that would alter the random selection process by giving a preference to petitions paying a higher prevailing wage to the sponsored employee (implementation of this new rule has been postponed until December 31, 2021).
This year, USCIS will be using the same electronic registration process that it implemented last year. During the registration period, attorneys and employers will submit an electronic registration for all employees that they seek to sponsor for the upcoming fiscal year through their myUSCIS online account. The registration fee is $10. To register, basic company and biographic information about the beneficiary is entered into the system, which will generate a unique confirmation number. At the close of the registration period, USCIS will conduct the random lottery selection process. The government states that it intends to notify selected registrants by March 31, but historically, the notifications have bled over into April. Selected registrants will have 90 days from the date of notification by which to submit the complete H-1B petition to USCIS for processing.
USCIS has not yet confirmed whether Premium (expedited) Processing will be available this year. The earliest effective date for a FY 2022 H-1B petition to activate is October 1, 2022.