Here's a summary of the upcoming FT2025 H-1B lottery and what changes we can expect.
1. H-1B Visa Cap and Lottery Process: The H-1B visa is a common work visa for foreign nationals in professional positions requiring at least a Bachelor’s degree. The U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) caps the number of new H-1B visas at 65,000 for those with a Bachelor’s degree and an additional 20,000 for those with at least a Master's degree from a U.S. non-profit university. There are exemptions from this cap for certain categories, such as transfers between employers, extensions, and employment at U.S. colleges or non-profit research organizations affiliated with a U.S. College or University.
2. FY 2025 Lottery Timeline and Expectations: The FY 2025 H-1B lottery is expected to start with a registration period in March 2024. Employers will have a specified three-week window to submit electronic registrations for each candidate they wish to sponsor. USCIS will then conduct a random selection from these registrations. Those selected will have 90 days to file their full H-1B petitions for start dates of Oct 1, 2024 or later.
3. Registration Process and Fees: The registration process requires details from both the employer and the foreign national, such as name, address, FEIN, authorized signatory’s contact information, and the foreign national’s personal details including whether they hold a U.S. Master's degree. The fee for each registration in the previous year was $10, and it is expected to increase for FY 2025. New for FY2025, the each beneficiary is expected to have only one chance, irrespective of the number of applications for them.
4. Eligibility and Timeline for Degree Completion: Foreign nationals must have their qualifying degree by the time they file the full H-1B application. For instance, a candidate nearing graduation can file the registration and, if selected, use the full 90-day period to file the full application, allowing time for the degree to be awarded.
5. Considerations for Employers and F-1 Visa Holders: Employers should start preparing their H-1B lottery lists now, considering current employees under F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT) who need H-1B status transition, and potential hires from abroad. For F-1 visa holders on OPT, if their initial H-1B application is chosen and filed before OPT expires, their work authorization will automatically extend through September 30th.
6. Potential Changes to the Lottery Process: USCIS proposed changes on October 23, 2023, which, if implemented, may lead to a more streamlined H-1B process where registrants are selected as individuals, not based on the number of registrations.
We'll update this post with more details as they become availble.