The H-1B Visa 2024-25 cap filing season is right around the corner. It’s time to look at the H1-B visa lottery, including H-1B registration, requirements, and potential changes. Use this guide as your one-stop shop for all your H-1B visa 2024 information, news, and updates.

VisaNation Law Group’s team of highly experienced attorneys specializes in H-1B and employment-based immigration. We have helped countless skilled workers worldwide and from all backgrounds obtain H-1B visas. We want to keep you apprised of the latest news concerning this highly sought-after visa. For more information about the H-1B visa 2024 season, contact us directly to see if you qualify for a free consultation. We will be regularly updating this post to keep you up-to-date on the H-1B cap 2024-2025 filing season.

H-1B Visa Petition Graphic

Important Update

USCIS has released an official statement affirming the selection process for Fiscal Year 2025. Individuals who have received a selection notice are encouraged to promptly reach out to our office. Employers can access the official selection notice, which includes crucial instructions for both beneficiaries and employers to ensure the timely submission of a thoroughly prepared H-1B petition. The full H-1B application can be submitted either online or by mail to USCIS from April 1, 2024, through June 30, 2024, which marks the submission deadline. Reflecting on the number of selections received by our firm, it appears that the selection rate hovered around 15-16%. This percentage suggests a substantial influx of H-1B registrations this year, underscoring the continued demand for skilled foreign workers in the United States.

If You Received an H-1B Selection Notice

The first step is to contact our office so we can begin your complete H-1B filing! When preparing your H-1B petition, we will ensure that a copy of the official selection notice is included, per USCIS requirements. It’s also important to note that only the employer listed on the notice is authorized to file the petition on behalf of the beneficiary. Also, the Beneficiary’s passport or travel document used in Registration should be included in the H-1B petition. Any discrepancy or variance must be explained in the H-1B filing such a company legal name change or renewal of the passport or travel document.

H-1B Cap Lottery 2024-2025 Explained

The H-1B visa lottery is a process used by the USCIS to randomly select applicants when the number of H-1B visa applications exceeds the annual limit. There are 85,000 visas available each year, divided into two categories: 65,000 for the regular cap and 20,000 for holders of advanced degrees from U.S. institutions. First, a lottery is held for the 20,000 visas set aside for advanced degree holders from U.S. institutions. Applicants not selected in this lottery are then included in the regular cap lottery. Following the master’s cap lottery, the regular cap lottery is held for the remaining 65,000 visas. This includes both advanced degree applicants not selected in the first round and all other applicants.

For the 2024-2025 lottery, the H-1B lottery registration window is from noon E.S.T. on March 6 through noon E.S.T. on March 25, 2024. Employers and their attorneys/representatives can create new accounts on the new USCIS online system for H-1B lottery registrations beginning at noon E.S.T. on February 28, 2024.

Employers seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions for the fiscal year 2024-2025 cap, must first electronically register. Then, they need to pay the associated $10 H-1B registration fee (this changes to $215 when the USCIS fee increase goes into effect April 1, 2024 after the initial FY 2025 H-1B cap registration period).

This includes those eligible for the advanced degree exemption. Each employer can only submit one entry per H-1B employee. If their submission is selected, the employer must attest that they’ll file a complete H-1B petition.

If you were selected in the 2024-25 H-1B visa lottery, contact VisaNation attorneys for filing your H-1B petition.

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H-1B Visa lottery FY 2024-2025 cap season Graphic

What to Expect

There have been a lot of updates from USCIS that are crucial for you to understand the H-1B lottery.

  1. Projected Increase in Registrations: The H-1B 2024-25 season is expected to witness a significant rise in registrations, continuing the trend from previous years. In FY 2024, a total of 780,884 registrations were received, a substantial increase from the 483,927 in FY 2023. This trend suggests that the competition for H-1B visas will be more intense for the 2024-25 cycle.
  2. Selection Rate and Additional Rounds: The selection rate for FY 2025 hovers around 15-16%. Given the high volume of registrations, USCIS might conduct additional rounds of selections later in the year to fill unused quotas, although this is not guaranteed.
  3. Filing Deadline and Online Submission: For those selected in the initial lottery, complete H-1B applications can be submitted online or physically mailed to USCIS between April 1, 2024, and June 30, 2024. The newly introduced online filing system offers a streamlined, efficient alternative to traditional mail submissions.
  4. Updated Filing Locations and Online Organizational Accounts: USCIS has introduced lockbox filing addresses for physical submissions and launched new online organizational accounts for collaborative preparation of H-1B registrations and petitions. This shift emphasizes a more digital-focused approach in handling H-1B applications.
  5. Travel and Status Considerations: Beneficiaries in F-1 OPT status must file timely to avoid gaps in status. Travel during the change of status for an H-1B petition is advised against, as it can negatively impact the application process.
  6. Advisory Services: Given the complexities and evolving nature of the H-1B visa process, employers and beneficiaries are advised to seek guidance from experienced immigration attorneys to navigate the registration and application procedures effectively.

H-1B Cap Registration 2024-2025

USCIS uses an online pre-registration system to make the H-1B lottery more manageable. H-1B season FY-2021 was the first fiscal year USCIS implemented the online application system. Before that, employers needed to send hard copies of the H-1B application packet, supporting evidence, fee, and Labor Condition Application. The online filing system is much more efficient and timely.

Employers must register their beneficiaries (foreign-born workers) with the USCIS online registration system during the registration window of March 6 to March 22, 2024. Under this registration process, employers and their representatives/attorneys only need to submit basic information about each beneficiary.

Certain employees do not need to go through the H-1B registration process. Those include professionals who have had H-1B status and are changing employers with time still left in their 6-year H-1B allocation. Moreover, professionals that have been counted against the cap and need an extension of their approved status. Also, those who work for cap-exempt organizations (not-for-profits, educational organizations, etc.)

New Rules for H-1B 2024-2025 Lottery

USCIS has announced a final rule aimed at reducing potential fraud in the H-1B cap registration and lottery process for the H-1B visa 2024-25 lottery.

Key changes: 

  • A beneficiary-centric selection process
  • Linking registrations to valid passports or travel documents
  • More than one employer can register for the same beneficiary so long as each employer only files one registration

The H-1B registration fee will continue to be $10 for the current registration period (FY 2024-2025), but the H-1B filing fees (and premium processing fee) will increase. The registration fee will increase to $215 starting April 2024 and will apply to the next fiscal year (2025-26).

In addition to those changes, USCIS is set to launch a new online tool allowing collaborative preparation of the H-1B visa lottery registration and petitions. A new edition of Form I-129 will be required starting April 1, 2024. Premium processing fee increases are effective from February 26, 2024. The final rule also emphasizes anti-fraud measures, invalidating registrations with duplicate entries and allowing USCIS to deny or revoke petitions for various reasons.

Other notable points include:

  • Legal reps and organization reps will have separate online accounts that need to be linked
  • Online payment will be available with a daily limit on credit card transactions (cannot be $40,000 or more per day)
  • Online tools cannot be used for physical filings
  • Physical filings will continue to be accepted
  • No dependent online filings available (H-4 or EAD)

H-1B Lottery 2024-2025 Explained Infographic

New Organizational Accounts

  • USCIS has rolled out organizational accounts specifically for non-cap filings during the fiscal year (FY) 2025 H-1B cap season.
  • These organizational accounts will enable multiple individuals within an organization, be it a company or another business entity, along with their legal representatives, to collaborate and prepare various documents, including H-1B registrations, Form I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker), and the associated Form I-907 (Request for Premium Processing Service).
  • The launch of organizational accounts and online filing for Forms I-129 and I-907 will be on February 28, 2024.

If you were selected in the 2024-25 H-1B visa lottery, contact VisaNation attorneys for filing your H-1B petition.

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H-1B Cap-Exempt Applications

For the H-1B 2024-25 season, most predictions are calling for over half a million registrations in the upcoming lottery. USCIS conducts the regular cap lottery first, followed by the U.S. master’s cap lottery. The drawing order gives individuals with a U.S. master’s degree an even higher chance of being selected. Due to such low submission rates (not enough to meet the quota), USCIS conducted three rounds in past H-1B seasons so it is a possibility for it to happen again.

Learn about H-1B Cap Exempt Employers in this guide!

H-1B Cap Lottery Final Rules in 2024 Infographic

Key Dates for H-1B Visa Lottery Timeline in 2024

Employers must register their beneficiaries with the USCIS database before the start of the filing window. The registration window will open on March 6, 2024, and end on March 22, 2024. After that, petitions will still be used, but only once a beneficiary has been selected in the lottery to make things more efficient. Here is how this system will work:

  1. On or after February 22, 2024, at noon E.S.T. create an online account with USCIS.
  2. At noon E.S.T. on March 6. 2024, registration opens, and USCIS account holders can submit their registrations along with the non-refundable $10 registration fee.
  3. At noon E.S.T. on March 22, 2024, registration closes.
  4. USCIS conducts the H-1B 2024 lottery, starting with the regular cap and ending with the master’s cap.
  5. On or by March 31, 2024, USCIS notifies lottery winners.
  6. If your petition is selected, the earliest that you can file your petition is April 1st, 2024.
  7. If the petition is approved, the H-1B visa will be issued, and the beneficiary’s start date will be October 1st, 2024.

Within 90 days of being selected, the selected registrants’ employers will then file their petitions with the USCIS for processing along with the appropriate filing fees and supporting documents. Form I-797C, Notice of Action is issued by USCIS to communicate information pertaining to receipt, rejection, transfer, reopening or an upcoming appointment.

H1B Lottery 2024-2025 Timeline and Dates Infographic

Certain employees do not need to go through the H-1B registration process. Those include professionals who have had H-1B status and are changing employers with time still left in their 6-year H-1B allocation. Moreover, professionals that have been counted against the cap and need an extension of their approved status. Also, those who work for cap-exempt organizations (not-for-profits, educational organizations, etc.)

Employers should begin identifying as soon as possible prospective employees who have not had H-1B status in the past but may need to have it starting October 1, 2024. Individuals to keep in mind might include:

  • Students or interns who have F1 visa status (working under OPT) and want to change to H-1B
  • Some L-1 Intracompany Transferees who are not qualified for green cards as multi-national managers
  • Certain E-3 visa holders
  • Spouses in H-4, L-2 or E-2 status
  • Foreign nationals not selected in past H-1B seasons
  • Proof of bachelor’s degree or equivalent
  • Employer must demonstrate not enough qualified workers in the U.S. for the role

Learn about H-1B dependent employer qualifications.

Remember, after March 22, 2024, all registrations will say “submitted.” Around mid-March, some will change to “selected,” “denied,” or stay “submitted.” If USCIS needs to increase the registrations for either cap during the fiscal year, it will select more registrations from the “submitted” pool. After October 1, 2024, the remaining “submitted” registrations will change to “not selected.”

What happens after the H-1B 2025 lottery selection?

Once an employer receives notice that USCIS has selected the registration for further processing, the employer will have to file the H-1B petition with all supporting evidence during the period allowed by the USCIS. Next, the package will be sent to a service center for approval or rejection. Then,  USCIS assigns a tracking identifier called an E.A.C. number to each petition.

The first three letters of your petition’s E.A.C. number indicate the service center location processing your petition. For example, W.A.C. would mean the Western Adjudication Center in California. The two numbers that appear next correlate to the year followed by the working day. The last five numbers indicate your case number. An example would look like this: WAC-18-021-56974.

If you were selected in the 2024-25 H-1B visa lottery, contact VisaNation attorneys for filing your H-1B petition.

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H-1B Visa Fees 2024-25

The USCIS released its Final Rule regarding fee increases on 1/31/24. The final rule will become effective on April 1, 2024. It’s important to note that the H-1B visa fee for initial registration will continue to be $10 for the 2024-25 season. Take a look at our complete guide on H-1B Fees.

USCIS Fees (if selected):

·  $780 H1B filing fee ($460 for companies with 25 or less employees)

·  $1,500 ACWIA training fee ($750 for companies with 25 or less employees)

·  $500 USCIS anti-fraud fee

·  $2,805 premium processing fee (+$175 legal administrative fee)

H4 Dependent Fees (if applicable):

·  $470 USCIS fee

·  $550 legal fee

VisaNation Legal Fees:

1. $300 for initial registration.

2. $2,600 if selected, includes form/support letter preparation and case filing.*

3. $500 — $1600 estimate for post-filing RFE response if needed (depending on complexity).**

4. $250 fee to upgrade to premium processing after filing the initial petition.

Asylum Program Fee – This is a new fee that will be assessed on all Form I-129 and I-140 petitions to help cover the costs of asylum adjudications. This fee should also help free up SCOPS and FOD resources that have been diverted from EB adjudications to asylum adjudications.

  • $600 for employers with 26 or more Full-Time Employees (FTEs)
  • $300 for small employers (25 FTEs or less)
  • $0 for nonprofit organizations

What if My H-1B is Denied?

USCIS often denies H-1B visas to those it deems unqualified. However, you can optimize your approval chances if USCIS selects your petition in the H-1B 2024 lottery by taking the proper precautions.

There are essentially two refusal states: rejection and denial. The first prong involves having an immigration officer look over your case to determine whether all of your information is complete, consistent, accurate, you have provided enough evidence and documentation and your employer has paid the appropriate fees to the right places.

If your petition does not pass this phase, USCIS will likely reject it without a refund. Fortunately, you can simply re-file.

If your petition passes this phase it will go on to phase two, which means that the officer will determine if your evidence, background, occupation, and qualifications meet the H-1B visa requirements for 2024. If not, then you may experience an H-1B denial. In this case, re-filing may not be the solution.

It is occasionally possible for petitioners to file legal motions for an unfavorable outcome. Petitioners can either make a motion not reconsider or motion to reopen.

Occasionally, the USCIS will send a Request for Evidence (R.F.E.) rather than deny your petition outright. If the evaluating officer feels that some supporting documentation would make your case clear, an R.F.E. is usually the way to go. If you receive an R.F.E., you will need to respond within the given time window—usually up to three months.

Alternatives to H-1B Lottery

If you’ve determined that you are not eligible for an H-1B visa, consider some of these alternatives:

  • O-1 visa is suitable for individuals who have extraordinary ability or achievement in fields of science, arts, education, business, athletics, or motion picture and television.
  • L-1 visa for intracompany transfers, allowing multinational companies to transfer employees from an overseas office to a U.S. office.
  • The TN visa was created under NAFTA agreement (updated as the USMCA agreement) which allows certain citizens of Canada and Mexico to enter the U.S. under the non-immigrant TN status.
  • If your goal is to start or invest in a business in the U.S., the E visa may be a viable option.

Learn more about H-1B Alternatives & Options for Sponsorship. 

H-1B Visa Sponsors 2024-25

Finding the appropriate H-1B visa sponsor is often one of the biggest challenges. One viable source for finding a suitable sponsor is an H-1B Visa Sponsor Database. You can filter your search by city or zip code and see information detailing what sorts of jobs they have filed in past years. We expect more employers to seek H-1Bs this year due to the labor shortages in the U.S. and the increases in demand for specific industries due to the pandemic.

*Please note that we take no responsibility for the accuracy of the information in the link above.

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H-1B Visa 202425 Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some H-1B visa F.A.Q.s that we commonly receive.

What is USCIS doing to combat fraud?

Hear what our attorneys think in this editorial piece, “Is the H-1B Multiple Registration Fraud Crisis an Opportunity?”

If I would like to work in the United States, can I just apply for an H-1B visa by myself?

You must have a job offer from a U.S. company or organization to apply for an H-1B visa. If you are a business owner, you will need to set up an entity within your company that controls your employment. That entity must file the petition on your behalf. Learn more in these top filing tips.

How does premium processing work?

Purchasing premium processing only reduces the processing time for your I-129 petition. It does not make you cap-exempt, nor does it guarantee you a spot in the lottery. If your petition happens to be selected, then your start date will still be October 1, 2024, like all other applicants.

If I have an Associate’s (two-year) degree plus one year of work experience as an engineer, can I qualify for the H-1B visa?

You must have at minimum a U.S. bachelor’s (four-year) degree or its equivalent to qualify for the H-1B visa. Regarding work experience, three years of working is equal to one year of university. For example, if you had six years of work experience plus two years of college, you could qualify if your work experience and the degree are relevant to your occupational title.

I currently have a job with a public school system as a teacher. Are schools subject to the annual quota?

Only if the school district has an approved petition based on the university cap exemption after 2006.

Are there provisions for the continuity of H-1B petitions if there is a restriction of the company?

There is continuity in this case. An amended H-1B petition isn’t required when a new entity takes over the originally approved employer’s interests and responsibilities and whereas the conditions of employment are the same.

Under section 105 portability provisions, how does my employer complete the I-9 verification requirement?

This example is comparable to the 240-day grace period of 8 C.F.R. section 274.12(b)(20), which permits employment with the same employer for up to 240 days after an extension petition is filed.

Can I file multiple or duplicate petitions? What happens if I do?

Employers may not file more than once or duplicate H-1B visa petitions for the same employee. USCIS will deny multiple or duplicate petitions filed by an employer for the same H-1B worker to ensure fairness.

Will USCIS refund my fees for filing twice?

You will not receive a refund for these filing fees. The only time that USCUS will issue a refund is if:

  • USCIS has asked for an unnecessary form that required a fee
  • You submitted a fee that was greater than what is listed
  • USCIS fails to process a petition filed with premium processing in the 15-day time period

Where do I mail my H-1B petition?

Your lawyer should have the correct service center’s information to file with, which will depend on the beneficiary’s work locations specified on the petition application. You can find the correct mailing address for the service center named on your Registration Selection Notice through this USCIS address page.

What is the H-1B visa 2024 lottery date?

The H-1B visa 2024-25 submission period is March 6–22, 2024.

What are the advantages of preparing early?

There are many advantages to preparing early. As with most situations in life, when you plan ahead of time, you’re better able to respond to challenges down the road. Employers can begin considering which one of their workers might require H-1B cap-subject filings. Foreign nationals and their respective employers should work side-by-side throughout the process to meet all criteria.

What has the average denial rate been?

The average H-1B denial rate in past years has been 17.9% Why do they fluctuate so much? One of the biggest reasons is due to the changes in U.S. administration and the policies they enact.

Why work with an attorney for the H-1B registration process?

First, the USCIS will not consider a cap-subject H-1B petition filed adequately unless the petition is based on a valid, selected registration for the same beneficiary and the appropriate fiscal year.

Proper H-1B registration includes ensuring the candidate is classified correctly under the master’s or bachelor’s cap. Only specific individuals qualify for the master’s cap despite having U.S. master’s degrees. In addition, only a certain number of years of work experience equals a bachelor’s degree. Applicants cannot make corrections after submitting H-1B registrations. USCIS will deny incorrect H-1B registrations if the case is selected for filing.

Second, although petitioners can register multiple aliens during a single online submission, a petitioner may only submit one registration per beneficiary in any fiscal year. Suppose a petitioner submits more than one registration per beneficiary in the same fiscal year. In that case, all registrations filed by that petitioner relating to that beneficiary for that fiscal year will be considered invalid.

Third, petitioners have a small window to ensure the cases have the proper strategies and all documents required. Having an adequate case foundation at the outset is essential whether the case is ultimately selected or not.

Hiring a qualified attorney to ensure that stage one of the process is handled correctly will prevent issues if the case is selected for filing.

What is the length of stay on an H-1B visa in 2024?

USCIS grants the visa for up to three years with the option to extend it to a maximum of six years. There are special cases where the government may give a stay longer than six years. This is usually in conjunction with a pending I-140 petition so that you can maintain your status.

If you were selected in the 2024-25 H-1B visa lottery, contact VisaNation attorneys for filing your H-1B petition.

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What fees are my employer responsible for?

Per immigration law, the employer is responsible for paying the training fee when applicable and the fraud fee.

Is premium processing an option?

Yes, you have the option to elect for premium processing at a cost of $2,805.

Could I avoid being subject to the cap if I filed for premium processing?

Filing for premium processing does not make you exempt from the cap. Premium processing is simply a way to expedite the process. The USCIS explicitly ensures 15 business days for processing those petitions, or the USCIS will issue a refund of the service fee.

Who is responsible for setting the H-1B Visa 2024 cap amounts?

Congress determines the current annual cap for the H-1B visa category. Also, remember USCIS sets aside 6,800 visas for citizens of Chile and Singapore following the Free Trade Agreement.

Certain H-1B workers who perform services for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and Guam may also be exempt from the cap under certain circumstances.

What is a Labor Condition Application (L.C.A.)?

A Labor Condition Application is what your employer must certify and send when filing your petition. USCIS will also accept a copy of this document. Always be mindful of the L.C.A. processing times and plan your documentation accordingly.

To get an L.C.A., your employer must make all of the four attestations required for this application:

  1. The H-1B employee will be paid the prevailing wage for the requested position according to the position’s geographic location.
  2. The H-1B employee’s employment will not negatively impact the current employees working for the employer.
  3. The employees currently working for the employer have been notified of the intent to hire the H-1B employee.
  4. The location in which the H-1B employee will be working is not under a strike or a lockdown.

Ultimately, the L.C.A. protects the current employees from incursions on their employment. By attesting that your employment is not to subvert or replace current employees’ work, this tells the USCIS that your employment will benefit the U.S. job economy rather than damage it.

Note that if USCIS certifies an application for multiple workers, you’re required to give the name and case receipt number of any worker who previously used the L.C.A.

Does USCIS permit more than one sponsor for my H-1B Visa?

According to current regulations, if you as a foreign worker intend to perform services for more than one employer, each one must file a separate petition. However, if USCIS approved both petitions and you select one employer but later decide to leave that employer for the second one, no new petition is necessary.

However, if you choose to transfer your employment to an employer that has not yet filed a petition, you will need to have that employer file a new petition on your behalf.

How do I speed up or expedite my H-1B transfer?

An H-1B transfer must follow the same process as you would for filing a new petition. However, one big difference between the regular H-1B filing and a transfer is that a transfer is not subject to the cap since it already has an H-1B status. Because of this, premium processing may be an effective way to shorten your H-1B transfer processing time in 2024.

Can I work for my employer anywhere in the country once USCIS approves my status?

When USCIS approved your H-1B visa, they considered the specific employment location, qualifications, and prevailing wage for the area.

If the worksite changes, you must submit an amendment with certification for the new location during your employment. In some situations, you may be exempt from filing the amendment, but it’s best to contact your lawyer if the terms of your job suddenly change.

Is there a reason some H-1B petitions take longer than others?

Many people have questions regarding this topic. Say, for example, you submit two petitions at the same time. That doesn’t mean USCIS will necessarily approve it within the same time frame.

Why? Each USCIS service center has a different workload for H-1B visas in 2024, so it’s hard to know when USCIS will process the paperwork. For short-on-time cases, it’s best to consider premium processing.

How VisaNation Law Group Can Help

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VisaNation Law Group attorneys have an excellent track record of gaining approvals in complex H-1B cases, including those sponsored by startup companies. VisaNation Law Group attorneys offer free consultations to specific individuals and businesses looking to retain a law firm for employment-based immigration petitions as a courtesy to prospective clients.