Murtha Means More

H-1B Lottery Season is Here: What It Means for You

February 9, 2023

By: Dana R. Bucin

The H-1B nonimmigrant visa is one of the most highly utilized and sought-after temporary work visas. It requires a bachelor's degree or equivalent in a specialty occupation, U.S. employer sponsorship and certification that employer will pay a prevailing wage for that specialty occupation in that area. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced the dates for this year’s H-1B pre-registration filing period - here's what you need to know. 

Who: H-1B is a great immigration pathway for well-educated individuals with a job offer from a U.S. employer in a specialty occupation. Historically, these occupations have been engineering, medicine, technology and other fields requiring advanced skills.

What: The H-1B visa is one of many employment-based visas in the United States. It was designed to help American employers to hire international talent in specialty occupations. Companies can bring foreign workers with at least a bachelor’s degree or equivalent to work in the U.S. The H-1B visa has a special quality as it is a “dual intent” visa, meaning that although it is a temporary visa, holders can hold an intent to immigrate, for example by applying for an H-1B while a green card through an employment-based green card is or will be pending and can travel on an H-1B visa during a pending green card application without securing advance parole.

The H-1B lottery is the process used by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to select those who are eligible for the H-1B visa.  The lottery randomly selects applicants from a pool, with a cap on the number of visas issued each year.

This year the H-1B lottery will run from March 1 to 17.


  • February 2023 – Contact us
  • March 1, 2023 (12 p.m. EST) – H-1B Registration Opens 
  • March 17, 2023 (12 p.m. EST) – H-1B Registration Closes
  • March 31, 2023 – Lottery results declared
  • April 1, 2023 to June 30, 2023 – Winning petitions filed

How: H-1B visas are determined by a computer-generated selection process. A cap of 65,000 applications are selected from the entire pool each fiscal year. Those who are not selected and are eligible for the advanced degree exemption are then transferred to the master’s cap pool for a second chance. 20,000 visas are reserved for this pool, allowing anyone who obtains a master’s degree or higher from an American university the opportunity to receive a visa if they did not in the first round.

Lottery numbers from last year: Last year during the H-1B lottery, USCIS received over 483,927 H-1B registrations and initially selected 127,600.

If you are an employer or a foreign worker seeking to file or have questions about the H-1B visa program or any other immigration matter, reach out to Immigration partner Dana Bucin for more information.


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