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USCIS Completes FY 2025 H-1B Cap Selection Process

The annual quota of 85,000 H-1B cap beneficiaries was met in the initial registration period for employment in FY 2025, according to USCIS. The precise number of cap registrations submitted has not yet been disclosed. The agency has completed the regular and advanced-degree selection lotteries, and has notified employers of selection results. Employers will need to log into their H-1B cap registration accounts to learn which beneficiaries were selected. H-1B cap selection notices indicate an April 1 to June 30, 2024 petition filing period. If USCIS does not receive enough H-1B cap petitions for unique beneficiaries during this filing period to meet the 85,000 H-1B annual limit, the agency may conduct one or more subsequent lottery selections to reach the limit.

A closer look

USCIS has announced that the annual limit for Fiscal Year (FY) 2025 H-1B cap employment has been met and the lottery selection process has been completed. Sponsoring employers and their attorneys have been notified of the selection results and are now able to view the status of their submissions in their registration accounts.

During the initial registration period, employers submitted more than enough registrations for unique beneficiaries to meet the quota of 65,000 standard H-1B cap numbers and the cap exemption of 20,000 for holders of U.S. advanced degrees. The precise number of cap registrations submitted has not yet been disclosed by USCIS.

What’s next: review lottery results online

To learn the lottery results, your immigration attorney and your company’s authorized signatory will need to access their account and review the status of each beneficiary. For each selected cap beneficiary, USCIS should have sent an email to every employer that filed a registration on behalf of that foreign national notifying them that there has been a change in the status of a registration. They must log in to the USCIS account to determine which beneficiary was selected. Companies and legal teams have been reporting that the list view of individual beneficiaries in the USCIS system may not always reflect the correct registration status. A review of each beneficiary’s individual submission will ensure you are aware of all selected beneficiaries.

For each registered beneficiary, the USCIS online system should reflect one of the following statuses:

  • Selected: The employer may file a FY 2025 H-1B cap petition for the beneficiary beginning April 1.
  • Submitted: The beneficiary was not chosen in the initial lottery selection but, unless the registration is subsequently invalidated, the beneficiary will remain in consideration for selection until the end of the fiscal year, in the event that USCIS does not receive enough complete H-1B cap petitions for unique beneficiaries during the filing period to meet the annual quota. The employer may not file an FY 2025 cap petition for the beneficiary unless notified otherwise by USCIS. In prior years, USCIS has determined it necessary to conduct more than one lottery selection in a cap season, which provided employers with another opportunity to file H-1B petitions. It cannot be predicted whether the agency will make the same determination this year.
  • Denied: A duplicate registration was submitted by the same employer for the same beneficiary. If a registration was denied as a duplicate, all of the employer’s registrations for that specific beneficiary are invalid.
  • Invalidated – Failed Payment: A registration was submitted, but the payment method was declined, not reconciled, disputed, or otherwise invalid.
  • Deleted: The registration has been deleted and is no longer eligible for selection.
  • Processing submission: USCIS is processing the submission. It may take up to 72 hours for all of the case information to appear. While it is processing, you will be unable to access your draft.

H-1B cap petition filing begins

USCIS will begin to accept H-1B cap petitions on behalf of lottery selectees today, April 1, 2024. The petition filing period can end no earlier than 90 days thereafter. All FY 2025 H-1B cap petitions must be submitted during this period for beneficiaries selected in the initial lottery. Selection notices received thus far reflect an April 1 to June 30, 2024 filing period.

Though in most cases a cap petition can be filed at any point during the filing period, some cases may need to be filed at specific times. If the beneficiary is an F-1 student working on optional practical training (OPT) who will need cap-gap protection, the petition must be filed before his or her OPT employment authorization document expires. If the beneficiary is awaiting completion or award of a required degree, the petition must not be filed until the degree has been issued or the beneficiary has obtained documentation from the appropriate school official that degree requirements have been satisfied.

New this year, H-1B petitioners must submit a copy of the beneficiary’s passport or travel document used for their H-1B registration. Further, new forms and fees are currently in effect for H-1B cap cases.

What this means for foreign nationals registered in the cap lottery

Your H-1B sponsoring employer(s) and their immigration counsel will access the USCIS registration system to determine the outcome of the FY 2025 cap lottery. Employers will review selections and follow their agreed communication protocols for notification of selection. Please rest assured that you will be notified in due course. For those selected in the lottery, your employer’s immigration team will proceed with next steps for filing an H-1B petition with USCIS. If your registration was not selected, you can expect a communication and any related immigration strategy to follow from your employer’s immigration team.

Possibility of subsequent lottery selections

If a beneficiary was not selected in this lottery, they will remain in the registration system for consideration for selection in the event that, by June 30, USCIS does not receive a sufficient number of H-1B cap petitions for unique beneficiaries to meet the 85,000 H-1B annual quota. Whether the agency will conduct more than one lottery selection will depend on how many beneficiaries are selected by USCIS in the initial round, as well as how many H-1B petitions for unique beneficiaries are submitted to USCIS by employers.

In last year’s H-1B cap season, USCIS conducted two lottery selections and therefore had two separate 90-day H-1B filing periods. The year before, there was only one lottery selection, and one H-1B cap filing period. In the two previous H-1B cap seasons, USCIS conducted more than one H-1B registration selection lottery. However, FY 2025 marks the first year USCIS is implementing a “beneficiary-centric” selection process for the 85,000 cap slots. Therefore, patterns from prior years may not be useful in trying to determine if there might be more than one cap lottery selection this year.

What’s next

Your company’s authorized signatory and your immigration attorneys will need to log into the registration system to determine which beneficiaries have been selected and obtain the USCIS selection notice for each such beneficiary. Your organization’s H-1B registration leads should also look out for emails from the USCIS registration system notifying them of action taken on the organization’s registrations. Your immigration attorneys will also receive these notifications.

To facilitate the submission of H-1B cap petitions, work closely with your immigration team so that essential supporting evidence, including the company documentation, beneficiary educational documents, copy of beneficiary’s passport used for registration, and other required documentation, can be collected promptly if not yet gathered.

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