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USCIS Gears up for the H-1B FY23 Cap Cycle

Date   Feb 14, 2022

Executive Summary: USCIS has announced the timeline for the H-1B FY23 Cap Petition Cycle. The H-1B FY23 cap registration period will run from noon on March 1, 2022 until noon on March 18, 2022. USCIS will then conduct a lottery and notify selected registrants by March 31, 2022. Companies can file H-1B petitions for selected registrants from April 1, 2022 until at least June 30, 2022.

Background: The H-1B visa classification is designed for foreign workers who will fill professional occupations that require at least a bachelor's degree or equivalent. There is an annual limit of 65,000 H-1B visa numbers available each year, with an additional 20,000 reserved only for those holding U.S. master's degrees. We fully expect that USCIS will receive sufficient registrations in March to fill all of the H-1B slots for the year. Petitions that are accepted and approved will have a beginning validity date of October 1, 2022, or later.

What is the timeline for the H-1B FY23 Petition Cycle?

March 1: H-1B registration period opens at noon ET.

March 18: H-1B registration period closes at noon ET.

March 31: Date by which USCIS intends to notify selected registrants.

April 1:  The H-1B FY23 cap petition filing period opens on this date. USCIS will provide a minimum of 90 days to file H-1B petitions, or until at least June 30, 2021.

June 30: The H-1B FY23 cap petition filing period ends, but USCIS can extend the filing period beyond that.

Who Needs an H-1B Visa?

We urge employers to consider H-1B sponsorship for any current or future employees who are present in the U.S. under the following categories:

  • F-1 student visas;
  • J-1 exchange visitor visas;
  • TN visas for Canadian and Mexicans professionals;
  • L-1A/L-1B visas for managerial and specialized knowledge workers;
  • E-3 visas for Australian professionals;
  • L-2 or H-4 dependent visas; and
  • E-1 or E-2 treaty visas.

Prospective professional employees who are residing overseas require visa sponsorship in order to work for a U.S. company. In many cases, the H-1B visa is the best vehicle to achieve this.

What Information is Required for the Online Electronic Registration?

USCIS will only require basic information for the registration such as full legal name; gender; date of birth; country of birth; country of citizenship; passport number, if any; and whether the beneficiary has a U.S. master's degree from a qualifying educational institution at the time an H-1B cap petition is filed on the beneficiary's behalf. Still, employers and their counsel should vet the viability of each case in advance of submitting a registration.

When Should I Start the H-1B Process?

Employers who would like to sponsor a worker for an H-1B petition should begin working with an experienced business immigration attorney in advance of March 1, when the registration period starts. For 2022, we anticipate strong demand for H-1B visas and expect the number of electronic registrations to vastly exceed the annual allocation.

Employers' Bottom Line: The registration period for the H-1B FY23 sponsorship cycle will run from March 1, 2022 until March 18, 2022. Given the high demand for H-1B visas, this may be the only opportunity to register prospective H-1B workers this year. USCIS will conduct a lottery to select registrations and will notify selected registrants by March 31, 2022. If selected, sponsoring companies will have at least a 90-day period to file H-1B petitions on behalf of the selected registrants starting on April 1, 2022. We recommend that companies start working with counsel right away to assess the eligibility of any anticipated cases and complete the information/document intake process.

If you need assistance in filing an H-1B case or have other business immigration questions, please contact Geetha Adinata, gadinata@fordharrison.com, Charlie Roach, croach@fordharrison.com, or Loren Locke, llocke@fordharrison.com, in FordHarrison's Business Immigration practice group. You can also contact the FordHarrison attorney with whom you usually work.