If you plan to work in the US as a professional, an H1B Visa is the most sought visa. The reality is that there is a lot of demand and the previous H1B FY 2023 season got 484,000 registrations for an available quota of 85,000. If you were unlucky the previous year or planning for next year, it is good to be informed so that you can plan ahead and give your best chance.
In this article, we cover all the basics that you need to know regarding H1B 2024 season like the end-to-end timeline, lottery situation, fees, registration period, and common FAQs. We will continue to update this article as new information is available.
Background of H1B Visa, Quota, and FY 2024 Season
What is H1B Visa? Demand & Quota?
H1B Visa category was created by Congress to employ high-skilled professionals in the US by companies with a presence in the US. An H1B visa can be applied on behalf of any applicant with relevant skills & at least a bachelor’s degree to work in the US.
There is an annual quota of 85,000 set by the US Congress for the issuance of new H1B Visas. These new H1B visas filed are called cap-subject H1B visas. As the demand for H1B visas is very high, USCIS employs a random selection process called as H1B lottery to select applicants that meet the annual quota cap.
What is H1B Visa Fiscal Year 2024 Season?
New H1B Visas are issued as per the USCIS Fiscal Year(FY). USCIS’s fiscal year is different from the calendar year as the start and end dates are not from January to December. USCIS Fiscal Year 2024 starts from October 1st, 2023, and ends on September 30th, 2024.
USCIS accepts H1B petitions for the next fiscal year 2024 about 6 months before the start of the fiscal year. Now, counting 6 months backward from October 2023, it would be April 1st, 2023. This is why you see the overall process as listed in the timeline below for FY 2024 starts in March and petitions are accepted from April 1st, 2023 for FY 2024 season.
H1B FY 2024 season (basically the entire duration from the start of submission of registrations to working in the US on H1B) is for employers planning to hire H1B workers to work in the US starting from October 1st, 2024.
If this is your first time filing an H1B petition, you need to understand basic H1B terminology. We suggest you read H1B Visa Basics – FAQs like Requirements, Quota, LCA, etc.
What is H1B Visa 2024 Timeline?
Usually, USCIS announces the exact dates for the H1B Registration/ Lottery Process during January of that year. So, we can expect to see these actual dates during January 2023. Based on FY 2023 and previous years’ dates, below is the approximate timeline for FY 2024 season. We will update the below as USCIS gives official dates
|H1B 2024 Process||Dates||Activities during this period|
|Start Date to submit H1B Registrations||March 1st, 2023||Starting date for Employers login to the USCIS H1B Registration system and submit registrations for applicants that intend to hire on H1B Visa|
|End Date to submit H1B Registrations||March 17th, 2023||Last date for Employers to submit H1B registrations.|
|H1B Registration Lottery Selection, Results||March 18th, 2023 to March 31st, 2023||USCIS conducts random selection, aka H1B lottery, and informs results during these days.|
|H1B Petition Filing Dates||April 1st, 2023 to June 30th, 2023||Employers can file H1B petitions for selected applicants in the H1B Lottery during this period. An employer needs to prepare a full petition with LCA and all applicant’s details and send the package to USCIS|
|H1B Petition Processing by USCIS, Decisions||April 1st, 2023 onwards||USCIS processes the H1B petition filed by the employer from April 1st onwards and it can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.|
|H1B Visa Stamping at US Consulates||July 1st, 2023 onwards||If you are an applicant outside of the US, you need to get an H1B Visa Stamp in the passport to enter the US on H1B Visa. You apply for it at a US Consulate/Embassy.|
|Start Working on H1B Visa||October 1st, 2023 onwards||USCIS fiscal year 2024 starts from Oct 1st, 2023 and this is when the cap-subject applicants can start working. If your petition was approved and you got the visa, you can enter the US and work from Oct 1st, 2023. If you are already in the US, your status will change to H1B from this date|
We have summarized the above table in a simple flow chart image as shown below:
Now that we know the timelines, let’s start with each of the aspects of H1B 2024 season starting with H1B quota for FY 2024 and how it works.
H1B Visa Quota for FY 2024 – Masters vs. Regular Cap
There are two categories under the H1B visa: one is the regular quota, second is the master’s quota. US Congress has set a limit of 85,000 on the 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 2024 as well.
- H1B Regular Quota: 65,000 visas
- H1B Master’s Quota: 20,000 visas (only US Master’s degree completed applicants are eligible for this quota)
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 the H1B quota. But, in general, only a 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
You can also read H1B Visa Total Cap by Year from FY 1990 to 2023 to understand more on the past history of quota caps.
Do you have any questions regarding the H1B 2024 season? Ask your questions or add your inputs in the comments section below.