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DHS Announces Substantial Changes to the H-1B Lottery Process February 14, 2019

Financial District, Manhattan
DHS Announces Substantial Changes to the H-1B Lottery Process, Manhattan, New York

Late last year, immigration law authorities proposed a new online registration system for H-1B visa petitions intended to dramatically lower costs and increase efficiency. After collecting public comments and revising the original timeline for implementation, DHS has released the final rule amending the H-1B selection process, which will go into effect later this year. Understanding how these new regulations affect your petitions will help you avoid mistakes and confusion when the registration system becomes available.

The H-1B Lottery Process

Registration System

Under the previous guidelines, H-1B petitioners were required to submit a finished application, complete with fees and supporting documentation, which involves a great deal of preparation and expense if a petition is not selected for the lottery. The new system will require petitioners to register using a new online system, providing basic information about the US employer and the beneficiary. If the application is selected in the lottery, the petitioner will be invited to submit a finished application. If not, they will have their application and filing fee returned.

Implementation Timeline

immigration lawWhile immigration law authorities had planned to implement the registration system for the 2019 lottery, they have elected to delay the rollout until next year. This gives DHS and USCIS time to test the new software, explore options for preventing abuse of the system and create the most efficient process possible.

Reversing the Order of Lottery Selections

As of April 1st, USCIS will also reverse the order in which petitions are selected for the lottery. Instead of choosing from the pool of applicants with advanced degrees first, they’ll initially select from the general group of petitions. After the cap has been reached, USCIS will then choose petitions for the advanced degrees cap. This should increase the proportion of applicants with advanced degrees selected to receive H-1B status.


As one of New York City’s most experienced immigration law firms, Berd & Klauss, PLLC provides helpful insight and detailed guidance to clients across the globe. They keep a close watch on all the latest developments in immigration law, giving them the ability to provide legal counsel based on the most recent information available. Visit their website for more on their broad array of services, follow their Twitter for news and updates, or call (212) 461-7152 to discuss your issue and schedule a consultation.

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