Update: USCIS has determined that they needed to select additional registrations to reach the fiscal year (FY) 2022 H1-B numerical allocations. This requirement included the advanced degree exemption as well. To that goal, USCIS conducted round No.3 of the H1-B lottery on November 19, 2021 and selected 16,753 additional H1-B registrants that submitted their petitions online.
Deadline For Petition Filing
Those selected may file their completed H1-B petitions starting November 22, 2021, and until February 23, 2022. Individuals with selected registrations will have their myUSCIS accounts updated to include a selection notice, which includes details about when and where to file.
Second Round: H1-B Lottery
USCIS has had to conduct a second round of H1-B lottery for the Fiscal year 2022 registrations that were submitted in March 2021. A total of 27,717 additional registrants were selected from the initial set that was waitlisted from the first lottery round.
Deadline: The selected registrants had until November 3, 2021 to submit their completed H1-B petitions with USCIS.
Why Did USCIS Conduct A Second Round Of H1-B Lottery?
USCIS uses historical data related to approvals, denials, revocations, and other factors to calculate the number of registrations needed to meet the H-1B cap for a given fiscal year. Per those regulations, the annual requirement of 85,000 including the Master’s cap of 20,000 was not met in the initial round.
There was a total of 308,613 H1-B registrations filed by applicants between March 9, 2021 and March 25, 2021 for the H1-B lottery cap, fiscal year 2022. There were 87,500 registrants selected in the first-round lottery conducted in March 30, 2021. However, only 37,000 selected H1-B registrants filed completed H1-B petitions by the deadline of June 30, 2021. Given that the total H1-B quota in the fiscal year 2022 is 85,000, USCIS had to conduct a second round to fill this quota.
How Can You Find Out If You Were Selected In The H1-B 2022 Lottery?
While applicants of premium processing (offered only to the those who were elected in the initial round) will get notified of selection within 14 days, employers will know if they were selected in the following ways:
- Online Account: The online myUSCIS account is the first point of contact by USCIS. This will be updated automatically with a status change if the beneficiary was selected in the H1-B 2021 lottery process.
- Form I-797– USCIS sends out an H1-B approval notice in the form of Form I-797. This would be the official documentation communicating your selection.
- H1-B Receipt number – Alternately on registration, each employer is assigned a 13-digit receipt number. This number is notified to your employer via regular mail. While the slowest option, it’s a certified guarantee of your selection for the next fiscal year.
- Trackers – While USCIS offers telephonic and online options to check case status, one can also track the progress and trend of H1B petitions and approvals at H1B Tracker. This forum allows you to discuss, analyze and track your visa status.
- Check Cashed – Each petition is filed along with a fee in the form of a check. If USCIS has encashed this check, it is an indication that your petition was selected. All rejected petitions are returned along with their checks.
Next Steps: After Being Selected In The Second Round Of H1-B 2021 Lottery
- An employer whose registration is selected in the second lottery will receive a USCIS email indicating that action has been taken on its case. This can be found on their myUSCIS accounts.
- The employer or its immigration counsel must log into the H-1B cap registration system and print out the I-797 Notice of Action, selection notice for the case.
- The notice will inform the employer of the filing deadline and the specific USCIS filing location. All the applicants selected in the second round H1-B lottery can begin filing their completed H1-B petitions with USCIS starting August 2, 2021 and until November 3, 2021.
- H1-B petitions cannot be filed online. A specific USCIS Service Center is earmarked on the H1-B registration selection notice. Employers can mail their completed H1-B petitions to this service center. Sending it to any other center only delays the processing times.
- The I-797 Notice of Action along with the FY 2022 H-1B cap-subject petition must be included when the employer files a complete H-1B cap petition for the registration.
- If selected based on the 20,000 Master’s quota, you need to include the education transcripts/degree of your U.S. masters.
Learn how much an H1-B petition is charged at H1-B visa fee.
History Of Second Round H1-B Lotteries
Second round lotteries are not very common. The constantly changing landscape of USCIS’ immigration rules coupled with the pandemic has thrown every system off their keel. Last fiscal year, USCIS conducted their first second round of the H1-B lottery.
USCIS conducted the first-round lottery for FY 2021 and selected 106,100 registrations. By the second-round lottery for FY 2021, they selected 18,315 registrations. While a total of 124,415 were selected last year, the annual quota remained 85,000.
For this year’s (FY 2022) random selection process, USCIS selected 87,500 registrations in the first round but only 37,000 employers finally filed completed H1-B petitions. As a result, USCIS had to conduct a second round of lottery to meet the annual quota. The second round has resulted in a selection of 27,717 registrations, totaling 115,217 for FY 2022.
It will be interesting to see if USCIS will end up conducting a third round of the H1-B 2022 cap lottery.
Congratulations To All Those Who Got Selected This Time!!