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H-1B Cap Petition Filing Period Closes October 31

Employers have just a few more weeks to file petitions for foreign nationals selected in the second FY 2024 H-1B cap lottery. USCIS must receive all cap petitions by October 31, 2023.

The issue

The second filing period for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 H-1B cap season closes on October 31, 2023. Employers should continue working closely with their immigration counsel to prepare and submit a full H-1B cap petition and supporting evidence to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before the filing window closes. Lottery selections are only valid through October 31, so H-1B cap petitions must be received by that date.

Will USCIS conduct a third cap selection lottery for FY 2024?

The earliest that USCIS could make a decision to conduct a third H-1B cap registration lottery would be in November, after the second filing period ends and USCIS can determine if they need to select more registrations to meet the 85,000 annual cap.

As a reminder, USCIS holds in reserve registrations that are not selected in the initial H-1B cap registration lottery selection for the applicable fiscal year. During the FY 2021 and 2022 cap seasons, USCIS conducted multiple lottery selections to reach the H-1B cap, but it did not do so during the FY 2023 season. The USCIS announced a second lottery for the FY 2021 H-1B cap on August 14, 2020. The following year, the agency announced a second lottery on July 19, 2021, and a third lottery on November 19, 2021, for the FY 2022 H-1B cap.

As reported previously, there was dramatic increase in the number of registrations for the FY 2024 season. This was primarily due to an increase in beneficiaries for whom more than one registration was filed. Though there are circumstances in which multiple registrations are permissible, USCIS has publicly announced that this year’s surge raises concerns about potential misuse of the H-1B registration system, prompting the agency to begin investigations. It is not known whether significantly fewer H-1B cap petitions may be filed by selected registrants in the second lottery drawing as a result of USCIS’s public statements about potential misuse of the H-1B registration system. If this is indeed the case, a third lottery selection cannot be ruled out.

What’s next

Employers should work closely with their immigration counsel to ensure that H-1B cap petitions can be filed in advance of the October 31 filing deadline. Essential supporting evidence, including company documentation, beneficiary educational documents, and other required documentation, must be collected promptly if it has not yet been gathered.

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