Many of you, who plan to work in the US in 2021 on H1B visa or who were not lucky in H1B Visa 2021 season, would be wondering on the timelines and approach for next H1B season. In this article, we will cover all the aspects of H1B visa fiscal year 2022 season like lottery dates, registration process, fees, new rules, and latest news. We will continue to update this article as there are new updates.
Let’s start with basics and look at how many H1B visas are available for FY 2022.
If this is your first time filing H1B petition, you need to understand basic H1B terminology. We suggest you read H1B Visa Basics – FAQs like Requirements, Quota, LCA, etc.
H1B Visa Quota FY 2022 – Masters vs Regular Cap
There are two categories under the H1B visa : one is regular quota, second is master’s quota. US Congress has set a limit of 85,000 on number of H1B Visas that can be issued per year. That limit is called as ‘H1B quota cap’. As of today, below are the annual quota caps set for each of them and they apply to H1B fiscal year 2022 as well.
- H1B Regular Quota: 65,000 visas
- H1B Master’s Quota : 20,000 visas ( only US Masters eligible)
One important thing to note is that there are about 6,800 visas that are set aside for the citizens of Singapore and Chile as part of their Free Trade Agreement. These 6,800 are called as categorized as H1B1. So, technically the total count is less than 85,000 per year for H1B quota. But, in general, only few hundred are consumed by the Singapore and Chile countries. To understand more, you can read What is H1B Cap? Regular vs Masters Quota, H1B1
There were some attempts done in the past to increase the H1B Cap for regular quota to 110,00 and master’s quota to 25,000 under Obama administration, but nothing was passed by US Congress. For more info and history, read H1B Visa Total Cap by Year from FY 1990 to 2022
H1B 2022 Lottery Predictions
H1B visa is one of the most sought visas to work in US. In recent years, there are more H1B applications received by USCIS than the required number of 85,000 per year. To address situations of high demand, USCIS introduced the concept of random selection, aka as H1B Visa Lottery. In this H1B lottery process, USCIS usually selects the required number of applications to meet the 85,000 quota. DHS is planning to make changes to the general rules of lottery, we will look at that in later sections.
Now, as we look at H1B cap reach dates from FY 2004 until 2021, we can see that there was H1B Lottery for the last consecutive 8 years. In the most recent FY 2021 year, there were 275,000 registrations submitted for H1B lottery. Looking at the trend, we do not expect the demand to reduce to avoid a lottery situation.
We expect that there would be H1B Lottery situation for FY 2022 year as well based on historical data & demand patterns. We will write up a detail article with predictions in the upcoming weeks. In the meantime, you can check previous year’s H1B Visa FY 2021 Lottery Predictions – Analysis
H1B 2022 Registration Process for Lottery
In the past, employers had to send entire H1B package with fee, H1B LCA, supporting documents to be eligible for H1B lottery. It was a huge effort, time & money investment for employers and USCIS to handle this.
To save time and effort for everyone, starting from H1B 2021 season, USCIS implemented registration process. Fiscal year 2021 was the first season they successfully implemented and rolled out the H1B registration process. In the new process, employers do not send the H1B Package, they submit H1B registrations for their applicants using an online system.
H1B Registration fee is $10 USD per applicant, to be paid by employer. H1B Sponsors/ Employers need to register the applicant, they plan to file H1B for, by filling out basic information related to the applicant. Below are the details that they need to submit for each H1B applicant. They do not need to submit any other documents or anything as such.
- Legal Name of the H1B applicant – First, Middle and Family Name
- Gender of the applicant
- Option to select, if the applicant is eligible for US Masters H1B Quota
- Date of Birth
- Country of Birth
- Country of Citizenship
- Passport Number ( There is option to check, if there is no passport number too )
To understand more, you can read H1B Registration Tool – Screenshots, Flow
Below image outlines the steps in H1B registration process. To know more, read H1B Registration Process, Steps, Lottery Order
Below images outlines how the H1B Lottery would work in the H1B electronic registration system.
Now that you have an idea on the registration process and H1B lottery, let’s look at the change that DHS is planning for lottery process.
New Rule – H1B Lottery based on Wage Levels?
The current process is random selection and there is no preference given to anyone. In the proposed new lottery process, they want to select H1B registrations based on the wage levels of H1B applicant. The goal is to hire individuals with better skills. DHS believes that better skilled H1B workers are paid higher wages and in higher wage levels. If you are new to the H1B Wage Levels, you should read What are H1B Wage Levels, How does it work
As per the proposed H1B lottery selection process, they will sort the H1B registrations in descending order from Wage Level IV, followed by Level III, Level II and Level I. They will pick the H1B registrations of Level IV, followed by Level III, then Level II and lastly Level I to meet the H1B quota cap of 85,000.
DHS published the final rule related to the above described change in lottery selection proess on Jan 8th, 2021. It is set to be effective from March 9, 2021. What is not clear yet it, if they will have time to implement this for FY 2022 season. In one of the comments, they say that they have enough time to implement this for FY 2022. If so, they would have to move the dates. We need to wait and see, if this will change with new Biden adminstration taking office.
For latest update & details on final rule, read article H1B Lottery based on Wage Levels – Final Rule – FAQs
H1B 2022 Dates for Registration, Lottery, Results
In the past, when USCIS was accepting the physical H1B application package, H1B season used to start on April 1st. But, since the introduction of registration process, the dates have changed to handle the new online process and lottery. USCIS is yet to announce the dates for FY 2022 on H1B Electronic Registration Process. Until we get official dates for FY 2022, we have used FY 2021 dates as baseline for planning purposes. We will update the below dates, once we have official dates.
- H1B Employer Account Registration : Very likely from Feb 24th, 2021. Starting from this day, employers can create new accounts on USCIS website to submit the H1B registrations during the registrations filing window.
- H1B Registrations Submission Period : Very likely from March 1st, 2021 through March 20th, 2021. During this window, employers can submit registrations for the applicants, that they plan to sponsor H1B visa, if they would be selected in lottery.
- H1B Registration Selection Results : Very likely by March 31st, 2021. The lottery results for the first round of selections would be announced. Whoever are selected would be electronically notified and they can download H1B Registration Selection Notice, that they would need to use for filing the H1B petition. There may be second round lottery depending on the demand and non-submissions of applications by selected employers.
- H1B Cap Subject Application Filing Dates : Very likely from April 1st, 2021 until June 30, 2021. If you get selected in H1B registration lottery, you would get 90 days starting from April 1st, to submit the entire H1B Package to USCIS with required fee, LCA, and supporting documents.
H1B Visa 2022 Filing Fee
During the first step of registration, there is only a $10 fee for the employer. Once the registration is selected, then the employer needs to submit the complete H1B filing fee based on their status. Also, H1B visa petition filing involves two things, one is the fee your employer pays to USCIS, second is the fee that they may need to pay an Immigration attorney, if they do not have in-house immigration team.
The overall H1B fee can vary anywhere from $1,720 USD to $8,970 USD + the Immigration Attorney Fee. Below is a table of the summary of the H1B visa fee. For complete details on H1B fees, Read Summary of H1B Filing Fee – Who pays for What ?
|H1B Fee – Paid Towards||Amount in USD|
|H1B Registration Fee||$10|
|Base filing fee||$460|
|AICWA Fee||$750 or $1,500|
|Fraud prevent & detection fee||$500|
|Fee based on Public Law 114-113 ( if applicable)||$4,000|
|Premium processing fee (Optional)||$2,500|
|Immigration Attorney Fee||Varies from $500 to $3000|
USCIS based filing fees was supposed to go up by $95 to be $555 from October 2020, but it was blocked by Court. As of now, there is no new update on the same and USCIS continues to accept previous fee schedule.
How to find H1B Visa 2022 Sponsors ?
Not every company sponsors H1B visa to work in US. If the current company that you work at does not sponsor H1B, it can be difficult to find a good sponsor. Due to the cost involved, delays and process overhead, many small companies stay away from filing H1B petitions. Depending on your situation, you may use the guidance below to find H1B sponsors.
- Find Jobs at Companies that sponsored H1Bs : The best option is to find jobs at Companies that sponsored H1B visas in the past. In this way, you know that, if you get a job, the company would take the effort to file your H1B. You can use H1B Database website like H1BGrader.com to find such companies or even find H1B Sponsors by Company Name, Job Title or City. They have H1B approvals analytics and grade to help you decide. You can browse Top 200 H1B Sponsoring Companies for FY 2021 list and consider to apply at those companies too.
- F1 Student in US, OPT holders: The best option for F1 students in school is to find an internship or co-op at an employer who can sponsor H1B visa and ask them to sponsor your H1B. You can continue to work on OPT once you graduate as well. If you are on OPT, make sure you work at an employer, who can sponsor H1B. If not, switch your employer to a H1B sponsor. You can use the above approach to find such companies.
- International Professionals : If you are outside of US, your best bet is to find an multi-national company ( MNC) and work through them to sponsor H1B visa. Many try the IT body shop route, but it is subject to lot of fraud and you need to be careful. Many rules related to H1B are enforced more with Trump Administration now and you need to be careful. Read comments on this H1B Companies Reviews article to get an idea and beware of such consulting companies to avoid fraud.
- Important Note : RedBu2US as an Organization does NOT provide any H1B sponsorship services or charge anyone using professional services fee. If anyone approaches you by saying RedBus2US name, it is pure FRAUD…beware !
You may also read COMPELTE Guide on How to Find H1B Visa Sponsors
H1B Processing Times – Regular vs Premium
During H1B registration step, there is only one type of processing and there is no choice for employers. But, after the registration process is done, there are two modes of filing with varying processing times. If you are selected in H1B lottery, you can file your H1B petition in regular processing or premium processing.
- Premium Processing : If filed in premium, you will get your decision in 15 calendar days and it costs you additional $2,500 USD.
- Regular Processing : If you file in Regular processing, there is no estimated SLA set for it. It can take anywhere from few weeks to few months. But, if you file in Premium processing, you get the result in 15 days.
To understand differences, read H1B Regular vs Premium Processing Timelines.
To handle the load, USCIS usually suspends premium processing for H1B cap subject petitions during the first few months like April, May. They did the same during FY 2021 season as well and opened up premium processing starting from June 22nd, 2020. We are yet to hear the official update on this, but it is likely that there will be premium processing suspension.
Latest News Updates
Below is the list of latest news by date related to FY 2022 season. We will update here as we have new updates.
- Jan 8th, 2021: DHS published final rule on the H1B Wage Levels to be used for H1B Lottery in Federal Register on Jan 8th. It is set to be effective from March 9th, 2021. What is not clear is, if they would have enough time for the FY2022 season. We need to wait for USCIS update on this. Read USCIS Press Release
- November 2, 2020 (Official) : DHS publishes proposed rule to change the lottery selection process. They plan to use H1B Wage Levels for the same. Read Official Regulation on Federal Register
What are your views for the upcoming H1B 2022 season? Share your thoughts in comments below.