USCIS conducts third H-1B visa lottery to reach cap for 2022


For the first time ever, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services has decided to conduct a third H-1B visa lottery in order to reach the numerical cap for fiscal 2022 that began on October 1.

On Friday, November 19, the USCIS said it needs to select additional registrations in order to meet the FY2022 numerical allocations, including the advanced degree exemption.

Issuing a statement for this unusual move, the US immigration service said, “On Nov. 19, we selected from among previously submitted electronic registrations using a random selection process. The petition filing period based on registrations selected on Nov. 19 will begin on Nov. 22, 2021, and close on Feb. 23, 2022. Individuals with selected registrations will have their myUSCIS accounts updated to include a selection notice, which includes details about when and where to file.”

Usually, the selections for the work visa are done in one round itself as the USCIS receives enough applications, however, in July 2021, the US immigration agency had conducted a second round of random selection, as it hadn’t received enough applications after the first lottery.

The second lottery was held shortly before the filing window opened for the next fiscal. Earlier, the USCIS had said that it had received 2,75,000 petitions for FY2021, about 67% of which were for Indian applicants.

But due to the COVID-19 outbreak across the globe, travel and business shutdowns went into effect in April 2020 following which several employers did not go through with their visa filings, said lawyers.

“We conducted an initial selection in March 2021. The initial filing period for those with selected registrations for FY 2022 was from April 1, 2021, through June 30, 2021. Per regulation, we take into account historical data related to approvals, denials, revocations, and other relevant factors to calculate the number of registrations needed to meet the H-1B numerical allocations for a given fiscal year. Only those petitioners with selected registrations for FY 2022 are eligible to file H-1B cap-subject petitions,” the agency said in a statement.

As per reports, the USCIS follows an October to September annual year, and applicants selected for FY2022 are eligible to start work from October 2022. Every year, the US issues 65,000 new H-1B visas, with another 20,000 reserved for applicants who have done their Masters in the US.