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URGENT UPDATE: Salary-Based H-1B Cap Lottery Rule Postponed Until Next Year’s Lottery

USCIS finally provided its guidance on this year’s process and timelines. The good news is the salary-based ruling has been postponed until December 31, 2021. Meaning it will not affect this year’s lottery and we are back to a full random lottery process.


Key Takeaways:

  • 2021 H-1B Cap Lottery is back to being completely random.
  • H-1B Cap Registration Period will open at noon Eastern on March 9 and will close noon Eastern on March 25.
  • Registrants will be notified on March 31 if they made it into the lottery.
  • Contact us before February 15 to ensure we can advise effectively and timely.


The H-1B Cap is the required pathway for any foreign nationals seeking to obtain H-1B status for the first time (i.e., who have not held H-1B status previously within the last 6 years).  There are two common types of employees you may have for whom this would apply: (1) recent graduates from U.S. universities whom you have hired in the U.S. in F-1 OPT status, and (2) foreign employees residing outside the U.S. you may want to hire and bring over to the U.S.


There are 65,000 H-1B Cap positions available for any new candidate, and an additional 20,000 available exclusively for candidates who have U.S. Masters degrees.  As with previous years, we expect many more than those numbers to apply (last year it was over 200,000 registrations), and so USCIS will conduct a ‘lottery’ to randomly select the 85,000 candidates who can apply for and receive these new H-1Bs.


According to USCIS, the lottery registration period this year will be between March 9th and March 25th. Ending at noon on March 25th. The random lottery will be conducted on March 31, 2021. Therefore, it is critical that we assess potential candidates you may have in the month of February, to determine eligibility, and then obtain the required information from you to prepare for registering them.  Approved candidates will at earliest be able to move to H-1B status on October 1, 2021.


Please reach out to us at 888-875-8110 with any questions you may have regarding this year’s H-1B Cap Lottery process.


As always, Serotte Law is here to help you navigate the complexities of our immigration system and keep you fully updated on the ever-changing immigration policies and landscape especially during these unprecedented times.


Stay Safe and Healthy!


The Serotte Law Team

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