In March 2020, USCIS opened the annual H-1B cap lottery for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 by conducting its first electronic registration. In prior years, prospective petitioners had to prepare a full H-1B petition and submit it, along with the required filing fees, to be considered in the annual lottery. Last year, USCIS introduced the modernized electronic registration process and—with a few small hiccups—it was carried out successfully. Nearly 275,000 registrations were submitted last March for a chance at the 85,000 (65,000 plus 20,000 for those with a U.S. advanced degree) FY2021 H-1B visas. USCIS made its first round of lottery selections on March 27-28, 2020. When USCIS did not receive enough H-1B petitions to reach the 85,000 cap, a second round of selections was made in August 2020.
This week, USCIS began issuing notices of non-selection for registrations from the FY2021 lottery that were not selected in March or August of last year. This indicates that a sufficient number of petitions was filed to reach the cap and USCIS has concluded the H-1B cap lottery for FY2021. USCIS is expected to make a formal announcement soon that the H-1B cap limit was reached for FY2021, but that should not be confused with this year’s H-1B cap season—FY2022—which is about to start. Registration opens on March 9, 2021 for this year’s H-1B lottery.