h1b lottery results

We have the full information on last year’s H-1B lottery results as well as some information on your H-1B lottery chances in the 2021-2022 season. Under the regular cap, 65,000 petitions will be selected in addition to 20,000 for the advanced degree exemption. Here you’ll find what your current H-1B lottery odds are, and we’ll update once the registration period ends to narrow down H-1b probability.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: USCIS closed H-1B Lottery registration on March 25 and has already started notifying employers or their attorneys whether or not they were selected. We have received several selections from the H1B registration we had submitted. USCIS is expected to complete sending notifications by March 31. Those selected will have until June 30 to submit their petition with the necessary paperwork. Submission requirements are included in the H-1B cap Registration Selection notice PDF received by the selected petitioners or their attorneys. Although USCIS has not released the final number, the number of registrations for the H-1B lottery is expected to have exceeded the 85,000 cap amount. If you were not selected in the FY 2021-2022 H-1B lottery, learn about your other options in this post.

What are My H1B lottery chances in 2021?

With a completely random selection, H-1B probability can be hard to calculate. To determine your H-1B lottery odds or chances of getting selected, we would need first to have the number of petitions submitted into the lottery pool. Since we do not have that figure yet, we can only estimate based on prior years. We will update this post as soon as we have the number of registrants in the H-1B lottery for USCIS.

Some years, the number of applications received has been higher than others.

For the 2019–2020 lottery season, 201,011 petitions were received. Since 65,000 are designated for the visa cap, that’s a 32 percent chance of selection. However, you need to subtract the 6,800 petitions allocated for Chile and Singapore, so the odds were a bit lower than 32% for that year. If you qualify for the advanced degree exemption, you have a little higher chance of selection since you’re entered into both pools for the lottery. Again, your exact H-1B lottery odds will depend on how many submissions are received and if you qualify for the master’s cap or regular cap.

How the H1B Lottery Works

Here’s a brief overview of how the H-1B cap lottery functions and your H1B lottery chances for the fiscal year.

  1. The computer-generated selection process picked 65,000 from the entire pool of cap-subject petitions. Those that were not accepted and were eligible for the advanced degree exemption were transferred to the master’s cap pool for a second chance at selection. Because the regular cap is done first, followed by the master’s cap, USCIS has stated that your odds of selection as an advanced-degree holder increase by up to 16% versus the old cap ordering system.
  2. The second lottery selection picked 20,000 to meet the master’s H-1B cap.
  3. Singapore and Chile citizens have 6,800 spots specifically reserved for them.
  4. Not all petitions are subject to the cap. Cap-exempt petitions are those that:
  • Previously counted against the cap
  • Are intended to extend or lengthen the H-1B worker’s time in the country (visa extension)
  • Change the employment terms for current H-1B employees (i.e., location, responsibilities, duties, etc.)
  • Transfer an H-1B status to a different employers
  • Allow the worker to be employed in a second position
  • Are filed by a cap-exempt sponsor, which is either an institute of higher education, a nonprofit organization associated with an institute of higher education, or a governmental research center.

Petitions received by USCIS between April 1st, 2019 and April 5th, 2019, had equal chances of selection in the lottery. This means that all petitions submitted within the given time frame were processed regardless of when in that time frame it was submitted.

How to Increase Your H1B Lottery Odds

There are a few ways to increase your H-1B lottery odds. The most obvious way to help your chances is to qualify for the master’s degree (or higher) cap exemption. Being in the master’s degree cap-exemption pool increases your chances of at least a few percentage points. Don’t file your petition after the cap is reached because then you have zero chance of obtaining an H-1B visa for the 2021–2022 fiscal year.

Another way to increase your H-1b lottery chances is to promptly submit your application and all necessary documents. If you procrastinate and miss the cutoff window, your chances will be zero.

How to Avoid Decreasing Your H-1B Probability

The fastest way to decrease your H-1B probability is if your employer submits more than one application for you. If USCIS receives multiple applications from an employer for one employee, they will reject them both. Having two applications submitted for you by one employer will eliminate your H-1B lottery chances.

Also, don’t try to skirt the system by having multiples applications filed by different employers for identical projects. This will raise red flags with USCIS. You are legally allowed to have more than one job offer by multiple employers but make sure they are legitimate.

The Best Way to Increase Your H1B Lottery Chances

There is one way to definitely increase your H-1B probability: don’t take part in the lottery. The lottery is only for cap-subject H-1B visas, but there are cap-exempt H-1B visas available for you.

h1b master's cap

What is the H-1B Visa Cap?

The H-1B Visa cap, enforced by USCIS, has a congressionally mandated limit of 65,000 for the regular pool. An additional 20,000 for the advanced degree (6,800 visas are also set aside for Chile and Singapore citizens).

Who is Exempt from the H-1B Cap?

To be considered a cap-exempt registration, you must have either been previously counted against the cap or have a position with a cap-exempt employer. Note that certain positions with qualified employers are not subject to the H-1B annual quota even if the candidate has not been counted against the cap previously.

A cap-exempt employer generally falls into one of the following categories:

  • Higher education institution
  • Non-profit organization associated with a higher education institution
  • Non-profit research organization  or government research organization
  • A for-profit company that seeks to hire an individual for specialty occupation services to be provided to any of the three entities listed above

Below are the qualifications for an institution of higher education based on USCIS criteria. According to Section 101 (a) of the Higher Education Act, an institution of higher education must:

  • Be considered a public or non-profit institution
  • Provide admission to students who have earned a secondary education
  • Be licensed by the proper institution to provide education beyond secondary school
  • Offer educational programs that award bachelor’s degrees or, at a minimum, two-year educations towards a degree (Associate’s degree)

A non-profit organization or entity is tax-exempt and either of the following under the Internal Revenue Service (IRS): section 501(c)(3), (c)(4), or (c)(6) (see 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3), (c)(4), or (c)(6)). Also, the non-profit should be approved as a tax-exempt organization for research or educational services by the IRS.

Additionally, if you are already an H-1B visa holder and want to transfer employers or extend your status, then you have already been counted against the cap, and your registration will be considered cap-exempt.

Keep in mind that transferring your status from one employer to the next has a caveat. If you originally came to the U.S. through a cap-exempt employer, transferring to another cap-exempt employer is not a problem. However, if you decide to transfer to a cap-subject employer, you will need to go through the lottery process.

Is the H1B Lottery Really Random?

The H-1B lottery is currently completely random. USCIS selects randomly from those that completed the H-1B registration accurately. Due to demand, USCIS randomly selects 85,000 registrations to be sent to processing. If the Prevailing Wage Rule is implemented for the 2022–2023 season, it eliminates some of the lottery’s randomness.

The demand is so high because the H-1B may seem easier due to the relatively low eligibility criteria compared to other nonimmigrant visas.

The H-1B visa requires you to:

  • Have a job offer from a U.S. employer for a specialty position requiring a bachelor’s degree.
  • Possess at least the required bachelor’s degree.
  • Not be the sole proprietor of the sponsoring company.

The potential H-1B employer must fill out Labor Certification Application for you.

This means that your employer must make four attestations to the Department of Labor:

  1. Your employment must not have a detrimental impact on the workers currently employed.
  2. The current employees must be notified of your employer’s intent to hire you.
  3. You must be paid the prevailing wage as a minimum. This is a wage that is calculated based on your position and geographic location.
  4. The job location must not be experiencing a lock-out or strike.

Does Premium Processing Increase My H1B Lottery Odds?

Premium processing does not increase your H-1B probability. It is an optional service that the USCIS offers for certain petitions, the I-129 being one of them. It may or may not be available this year. It was not available initially last year. If it is allowed, the fee is $2,500, and USCIS will process a petition in 15 calendar days rather than in the standard amount of time, which can take upwards of six months.

What Happens if You’re Selected in the H-1B Lottery?

If you are selected in the H-1B lottery, your sponsor needs to file the I-129 petition within 90 days of receiving the selection notification. One of the documents needing to be filed and approved is the H-1B Labor Condition Application with the Department of Labor. Also included in the complete H-1B package are details about the beneficiary. An immigration lawyer is the best person to handle the submission packet to ensure all necessary details are included. Once USCIS receives the complete application packet, you’ll receive a receipt notice. Premium processing is available for an additional $2,500, and it ensures USCIS will process it in 15 calendar days. After USCIS sends out the receipt notices, they’ll adjudicate the petitions, and you may receive more updated statuses plus any requests for evidence, if applicable. Sometimes USCIS needs more information on the beneficiary’s qualifications and the relationship between the employer and employee, among other documents.

The ideal scenario you will see is two case statuses, the first being “Case was Received” and then “Case was Approved.” Just remember that if you don’t select premium processing, then there’s really no telling how long processing your case will take, and it can sometimes take upwards of six months.

H-1B Visa Lottery 2021-22 Important Dates

Petitioners can expect to find out if they were selected in the lottery on or before March 9th.  Those petitions that have been selected are to be sent to the adjudicating service center. Afterward, a USCIS case number will be issued to monitor the ongoing status.

Another way to determine whether your H-1B petition has been selected in the lottery is to look at your bank statement to see if USCIS cashed the H-1B filing fee check. If it is cashed, be sure to make a note indicating the date.

April 1st, 2019, was the official filing date for petitions. It is important to note that any petitions submitted before this date will be rejected. 

 

H1B Visa 2021 Timeline

How to Check H1B Lottery Results

There are a few ways to find out if you were selected in the H-1B. Here’s how to check your lottery status:

  • One of the easiest ways is to see if USCIS deposited your H1B application fee check. All petitions that are not selected have their fee refunded, so if USCIS cashed your check, then that’s one indication that it was chosen.
  • Another way is to see if your employer received a 13-digit receipt number. This is mailed to them after your petition has been selected. If they didn’t receive one, then you were not selected. Once you obtain your 13-digit number, go to USCIS Case Status Tool Online. Enter the case number, and it should tell you the status.
  • Lottery winners all receive a stamped I-797 Form from Immigration and Naturalization services to indicate they’ve been chosen in the lottery.
  • If you’re a nonimmigrant student who applied under the advanced degree pool, then you can check your status by visiting the Student and Exchange Visitor Information (SEVIS) website. This site is kept very up-to-date as winners are selected.

Understanding Your Status on USCIS Portal

After you log on to the USCIS case status online tool, you will see one of the following statuses next to your case number. Here’s what they mean:

  • Submitted: If you see the word submitted, it’s still being considered by USCIS, and you may see this up until the end of the fiscal year. Your case hasn’t been rejected or approved yet.
  • Selected: Celebrate because you were chosen in the lottery! Your sponsor needs to file the I-129 petition after April 1st, 2021. There may be staggered filing deadlines for individuals selected in the lottery to ease the registration process for USCIS. Your filing deadlines will be noted on your file, so be mindful of them.
  • Not Selected: Unfortunately, you were not chosen. This status will remain like this until the end of the fiscal year (October 1, 2021).
  • Denied: You will see this if your sponsor sent USCIS more than one registration for the same beneficiary.

After March 25, 2021, all registrations will say “submitted.” After March 11, 2021, some will change to “selected,” “denied,” or stay “submitted.” If USCIS needs to increase the registrations for either cap during the remainder of the fiscal year, it will select more registrations from the “submitted” pool. After October 1, 2021, the remaining “submitted” registrations will change to “not selected.”

What if the H1B Lottery Results Reveal I Wasn’t Selected?

If your petition is not selected in the lottery, USCIS will return your petition and filing fee unless determined to be a duplicate filing, in which case USCIS will return it without the fee.

If your petition was marked as “wait-listed,” it may replace an initially selected petition later found to be ineligible or denied. The USCIS has confirmed that it selects more petitions than are given in the cap in anticipation of some being withdrawn or rejected.

Current Filing Fees – H1B 2021-2022

We will keep you up-to-date with any changes to these filing fees, but it is always a good idea to consult with your immigration lawyer to see the best course of action for your situation. We have some of the most competitive filing fees including responding to RFEs. Please see this page for a more detailed outline of our H1B attorney fees. 

Here are the fees as of the date of this article:

Fee

Amount

Responsible for Fee

Registration Fee

$10

Employer

Premium Processing (optional

$2,500

Employer or Employee

Public Law 114-113 Fee

$4000

Employer

Basic Filing Fee

$460

Employer

USCIS Anti-Fraud Fee

$500

Employer

ACWIA Education and Training Fee

$750 (less than 25 employees)  

$1500 (more than 25 employees)

Employer

Attorney Fee

Variable

Employer

Note that the Public Law fee only applies to employers who have greater than fifty employees. Over half of those employees have to be H1B holders for the fee to be imposed.

Immi-USA will report any new immigration developments as they arise. Stay tuned for an update on the current H-1B lottery season coming soon! If you have additional questions about your H-1B lottery chances, please contact us today to schedule your consultation.

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