The H-1B Visa Lottery is Right Around the Corner: May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor

It’s that time of year again: time for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) annual H-1B lottery. Due to limited visa availability, the USCIS utilizes a lottery registration process to select sponsors for H-1B applicants. The amount of new H-1B visas allowed each fiscal year is limited to 65,000 with an additional 20,000 for graduates of a United States Master’s degree program. Essentially, employers purchase USCIS “lottery tickets” in hopes of being randomly selected to sponsor a foreign national for an H-1B visa in Fiscal Year 2024. The H-1B Cap registration period opens at 11 a.m. Central Standard Time (CST) on March 1, 2023, and closes on March 17, 2023, at 11 a.m. CST.

H-1B visas can be used to sponsor foreign nationals in “specialty occupations.” A position can qualify as a “specialty occupation” in one of four ways: (1) where the employer normally requires at least a bachelor’s degree for the position; (2) where a bachelor’s degree or higher is typically required for the position; (3) where at least a bachelor’s degree is commonly required in the industry in parallel positions; or, (4) where the position’s duties are so specialized and complex that the knowledge required to perform them is associated with attainment of a bachelor’s (or higher) degree.

Employers interested in hiring a foreign national for this H-1B season should begin assessing an employee’s eligibility and gathering the necessary information for the registration process as soon as possible. An employee’s job title, specific job duties, proposed salary, and biographical information must be considered when weighing an employee’s eligibility for an H-1B visa. Viable candidates for an H-1B visa can include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Job candidates in other non-immigrant work categories seeking to change their status to H-1B;
  • Current foreign national employees or independent contractors who live abroad but wish to relocate to the United States;
  • Current students working under Optional Practical Training (OPT) or Curricular Practical Training (CPT) that will need H-1B sponsorship to continue working in the United States;
  • Candidates currently eligible for work authorization as a dependent spouse but who are seeking to gain their own work authorization independent form their spouse; or
  • Candidates in H-1B status with a cap-exempt employer—institutions of higher learning and related non-profit entities, non-profit research organizations and government research organizations—who are seeking job opportunities with a cap-subject employer.

For more information on how to select potential H-1B candidates, register for the H-1B lottery, or prepare an H-1B petition after securing your lottery winnings, please reach out to Business Immigration Practice Chair Michael W. Bowling at or Jaycee M. Booth at

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