USCIS announced that they received 308,613 H1-B registrations for the 2022 fiscal year and selected 87,500 in the lottery. This is almost a 13% increase from last year when the total was 274,237 over the required 85,000. However, their acceptance rate has been quite low compared to previous years. This year only 28% of the total submitted registrations were accepted by USCIS compare to the 45% last year.
The continued increase in USCIS data demonstrates the continued popularity and high demand for the H1-B employment visa program. Despite many restrictions put in by the previous administration coupled with the pandemic, the United States continues to be a popular destination for global employment.
The agency had begun to accept H1-B cap petitions on behalf of lottery selectees starting April 1, 2021. They continue to accept these completed petitions until June 30, 2021. After this date, USCIS will review all submitted petitions and if there are denials or rejections in excess of 85,000, they will conduct a second H1-B lottery in August. Those not selected in the previous lottery will be given a chance if there are vacancies available after the current completion.
USCIS uses historical data related to approvals, denials and revocations when determining how many registrations to select.
How Do You Know If You Have Been Selected In The H1-B Lottery?
To find out if you have been selected, you should check your online account created at the time of registration. The following updated status will reveal your results:
- If selected and ready to file a FY 2022 H-1B cap petition for the beneficiary, the status will say “Selected”.
- If USCIS finds a duplicate registration for the same beneficiary, the online status will read “Denied”.
- If the payment method was declined and not reconciled or otherwise invalid, the status will say “Invalidated – Failed Payment”.
- If the beneficiary was not chosen in the initial lottery selection, the online status will read “Submitted”. However, this does not mean a denial as USCIS keeps additional candidates for until the end of the fiscal year should they decide to conduct a second lottery to fill the quota of 85,000 for the year.
Under this situation, the employer can file a petition only when the agency notifies them that the beneficiary is selected for the second round.
USCIS will continue to monitor filing rates this year to determine the need to select additional registrations to meet the FY 2022 numerical limitations. The annual quota for cap-subject petitions is 85,000. Off this, 20,000 is reserved for U.S. advanced degree holders, also called the ‘master’s cap’. This year, out of the total 308,613, over 48% of the FY 2022 registrations were assigned for petitioners with U.S. advanced degrees.
USCIS is accepting premium processing for all categories of employment visa applications. Unlike last year, when they had suspended the premium processing option, this year USCIS is accepting them for all eligible application types.
It is important to keep in mind, that Service Centers and Field Offices (as well as U.S. consulates abroad) are opening up slowly and accepting most applications. But it is always important to be prepared to expect service delays or announcements of suspensions if the Covid-19 pandemic surges.