USCIS Completes H-1B Selection Process for FY 2022

USCIS Completes H-1B Selection Process for FY 2022

USCIS has announced that the annual limit for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has completed the selection of H-1B petitions through a lottery for FY22. The selected petitioners can start filing applications from April 1, 2021.

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.

Petitions have been selected for both regular and advanced degrees. “We have notified all prospective petitioners with selected registrations that they are eligible to file an H-1B cap-subject petition for the beneficiary named in the applicable selected registration,” the USCIS said.

During the initial registration period, employers submitted more than enough registrations 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.

The US issues 85,000 H-1B visas per year. Indians and Indian IT firms are one of the largest beneficiaries of the US.

The immigration agency did not reveal the number of petitions received. Last year, the USCIS received close to 2.67 lakh registrations of which more than 60 percent were from India. So H1B visa can cause many hurdles before approval and feeling a lot sleep

In such instances, the USCIS used the random selection process to select the candidates. However, at the back of COVID-19, the immigration agency had to go for a second lottery in 2020, for the first time in 30 years, as it did not get enough applications to fill the annual quota of 85,000 visas.

H-1B cap petition filing begins April 1

USCIS will begin to accept H-1B cap petitions on behalf of lottery selectees on April 1, 2021. The petition filing period will end no earlier than 90 days thereafter. All FY 2022 H-1B cap petitions must be submitted during this period for registrations selected between March 25 and 30. Selection notices received thus far reflect an April 1 to June 30, 2021 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.

USCIS has not announced whether premium processing will be suspended for FY 2022 cap petitions. As of today, premium processing is being accepted for all eligible application types, but USCIS could announce service delays or suspensions with little or no notice, as in prior years.

READ: How to Make a Successful H-1B Petition File?

Wage-based selection

This is also likely to be the last year where a lottery-based selection would be used. This could be replaced with a wage-based selection of applications starting next year.

The wage-based selection of H-1B petitions that was expected to come into effect on March 9, 2021, is under review by the Biden administration. The administration has currently put this on hold till December 31, 2021.

This would impact the hiring of freshers and those with fewer years of experience as those with higher salaries have better chances of getting selected.

Review lottery results online

To learn the lottery results, your company’s authorized signatory will need to access their account and review the status of each beneficiary. In addition, for each cap registration, USCIS should have sent an email to the employer’s authorized signatory and immigration counsel, notifying them that there has been a change in the status of the cap registration.

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

  • Selected: The employer may file a FY 2022 H-1B cap petition for the beneficiary beginning April 1.
  • Submitted: The beneficiary was not chosen in the initial lottery selection, but 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 during the filing period to meet the annual quota. The employer may not file an FY 2022 cap petition for the beneficiary unless notified otherwise by USCIS.
  • Denied: A duplicate registration was submitted by the employer for the same beneficiary, or the payment method was declined and not reconciled. If a registration was denied as a duplicate, all the employer’s registrations for the specific beneficiary are invalid.
  • Invalidated – Failed Payment: A registration was submitted but the payment method was declined, not reconciled, or otherwise invalid.


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What this means for foreign nationals registered in the cap lottery

Your H-1B sponsoring employer and its counsel will access the USCIS registration system to determine the outcome of the FY 2022 cap lotteries. 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 team will proceed with next steps for filing an H-1B petition with USCIS. If your registration was not selected, please rest assured that a communication and any related immigration strategy will follow.

What this means for employers

Your company’s authorized signatory and your 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.

To facilitate the submission of H-1B cap petitions, work closely with your attorney team so that essential supporting evidence, including the USCIS selection notice, company documentation, beneficiary educational documents and the like, can be collected promptly if it has not yet been gathered.