US H1B visa cap lottery system for employers set up by USCIS

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Sanwar Ali comment:

It remains to be seen how the system operates in practice.  It will be much simpler and cheaper for employers.  You just need to submit an online application with the small fee of $10.  As it is much more convenient and cheaper than before to apply under what will certainly turn out to be a lottery there could be a huge increase in applications.  Only if people are picked will the usual Government fees for an H1B visa application need to be paid.

As before, the likelihood of success is low.  If more people apply for the limited number of cap subject H1B visas it may turn out to be more difficult than before to gain an H1B visa.  Only 85,000 visas are available.  Indian companies could end up suffering.  Tech companies such as Microsoft, Google (Alphabet), Oracle, etc may suffer as well. Perhaps fewer H1B visa and longer wait times.  Even if you are successful under the H1B visa lottery you cannot start work until 1 October 2020.

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced the launch of its new, online H1B visa cap registration system for employers. The new system will open at noon on Sunday, March 1, 2020 to US employers seeking to sponsor skilled foreign workers for a H1B visa in the 2021 fiscal year, and will close at noon on March 20, 2020.

US employers may wish to use immigration counsel for help registering their organization on the new system. Draft filings can be made prior to the March 1 registration date, however, USCIS will not accept registration submissions prior to the opening date at 12 noon, Eastern Time.

Creating an account

To register with the new system, US employers will need to create an account by visiting the USCIS website. An account should be set up by an authorized staff member responsible for signing USCIS petitions on behalf of an organization, who will need to provide:

  • A unique email address
  • A password
  • A preferred method for two-step account authentication (either a text message, email address or an authentication app)
  • Answers to different security questions (this will enable account managers to reset a password at any time)
  • The account type required - in this case H1B registrant

Should an organization have more than one designated person, they will each need to set up an H1B registration account. A signatory is permitted to have more than one account. For example, it’s possible for one signatory to manage multiple entities, but each entity must have its own account, each with a unique email address.

Information needed for H1B visa beneficiary

When registering each H1B visa beneficiary, an organization must provide the following information:

  • Full legal name
  • Gender
  • Date of birth
  • Country of birth
  • Country of citizenship
  • Passport number, if any; and
  • Whether the beneficiary qualifies for the US advanced-degree cap, or will be eligible for the advanced-degree cap at the time a petition is filed on the beneficiary’s behalf


A sponsoring entity is allowed to register a H1B visa beneficiary just once. Should an organization register a beneficiary more than once, each registration will be cancelled and the employer will not be allowed to register that same beneficiary for the 2021 fiscal year.

It is possible for multiple related entities to register a specific beneficiary, however, this is conditional on each entity showing a genuine business need to file a registration for that beneficiary.

USCIS will scrutinize registrations to prevent prohibited duplicates, prior to running the H1B visa lottery.

No limit on the number of H1B visa Lottery registrations

USCIS has said that there are no limits on the number of registrations that an organization can file. However, each registration will be limited to 250 beneficiaries. Also, no limit will be applied to the number of foreign workers that an organization can register for the H1B visa lottery.

However, this is conditional on an organization proving a legitimate need to register each foreign national and providing evidence of genuine intent to submit an H1B petition for each beneficiary selected by the lottery system.

To ensure that a H1B registration can be submitted, an electronic version of an H1B registration must be signed, accompanied by Form G-28.

Each time a registration is filed, USCIS will then issue a unique passcode that will allow for the review, approval and electronic signing of a Form G-28 and a registration document.

H1B visa lotteries

Two cap lotteries will be run by USCIS between 12.01pm Eastern Time on March 20 and March 31, 2020.

The first lottery will include all registered H1B beneficiaries, which USCIS will draw from in order to meet the 65,000 H1B visa cap, while a second lottery will contain all registered “master’s cap” beneficiaries that were not selected during the first lottery.

This will be used to select enough registrations to meet the 20,000 H1B exemption cap for US advanced degree holders.

All employers will receive notification of the lottery results by March 31, according to USCIS. can help with US employment-based visas

If you would like to apply for a US work visa – including L1 visasE1 and E2 visasB1 in lieu of H1B visas and H1B visas - can help. is a specialist visa consultancy with over thirty years of experience dealing with visa applications. We can help with a wide range of visa applications to your country of choice. Contact us for further details.  You can also telephone 0344 991 9222.