H-1B Lottery Results Explained

Updated on April 12, 2024

The H-1B visa program allows U.S. employers to hire international professionals for specialty roles requiring expertise, with an annual cap of 85,000 visas. For fiscal year 2024, the USCIS has completed the lottery selection process from the electronic registrations submitted by prospective employers, determining who may proceed with their H-1B petitions. If you’ve applied, you can now check your selection status to file an H-1B cap-subject petition, marking the first step towards working in a specialized position in the U.S. Further details and updates on the process can be found on the USCIS website or through your USCIS online account, crucial for understanding the next steps in the visa acquisition journey.

30 Second Recap:

The H-1B visa lottery, crucial for working in the U.S. in specialty occupations, involves a registration and application process, followed by a selection and notification phase. Prospective employers must register you in the myUSCIS system, with selections made through a random lottery if applications exceed the 85,000 visa cap. Selected applicants are notified to file their petitions. Stay informed, maintain patience, and communicate effectively with your employer or legal representative throughout. If selected, promptly prepare your documentation and consider premium processing for quicker results. Non-selected applicants should explore alternative visas or prepare for the next lottery, keeping optimistic and well-prepared for future opportunities.

H-1B Lottery Overview

The H-1B visa lottery is a pivotal process for your potential employment in the United States in specialty occupations. It ensures fair and random selection due to the limitation set by the annual cap. The two main pillars of this process are the initial registration and application, and the subsequent selection and notification steps.

Registration and Application Process


Before the lottery process begins, you, or your legal representative, are required to register through the online myUSCIS account system. This registration typically opens for a brief window early in the year prior to the fiscal year of the H-1B work start date. For the FY2025 H-1B cap, USCIS extended the initial electronic registration period until March 25, 2024, due to technical difficulties. During the extended window, a nominal fee is required to complete the registration.

  • Registration Requirements: To complete the H-1B registration, you must submit basic information about the prospective petitioner and you, the beneficiary.


Once registered, if selected in the H-1B lottery, employers can then file the H-1B cap-subject petition along with the Labor Condition Application (LCA) using Form I-129.

  • Filing Location: It’s essential you file at the correct location or online, as specifically instructed in the selection notice.
  • Filing Period: After selection, a period of at least 90 days is provided to properly file your petition.

Selection and Notification

Lottery Process:

If the number of registrations exceeds the annual cap of 85,000 visas, a random selection—or lottery—is conducted. This cap is split as 65,000 for the general category and an additional 20,000 for those with a master’s degree or higher from U.S. institutions, potentially increasing your chances if you qualify under the advanced degrees exemption.

  • Random Selection: Your registration is subjected to a computer-generated random selection process, ensuring no bias in the lottery.


Should your registration be selected in the lottery for the H-1B visa, USCIS will notify you or your representative via your USCIS online account.

  • Selection Notice: A selection notice will be provided, which includes detailed instructions on the next steps, the filing period, and the correct filing location for Form I-129.
  • Non-Selection: If not selected, your USCIS account will be updated to reflect this status.

Need help with your H-1B visa?

The H-1B visa process is complex, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. If you’re struggling to understand all of the moving parts, let Stilt help. Our team of H-1B visa experts can help you make sense of all the eligibility requirements, documents, and the application process.

H-1B Lottery Advice from Visa Holders

The H-1B visa lottery is fraught with anticipation and anxiety for thousands of prospective employees hoping to work in the United States. To help you navigate the process, we’ve distilled some tips from advice based on firsthand experiences shared in a recent thread about the H-1B lottery results. Whether you’re a first-timer or have faced the lottery before, these insights can enhance your approach and readiness for the process.

Stay Informed and Prepared

“USCIS released a note saying they will conduct the lottery ‘soon’.”

This highlights the importance of staying updated with official announcements. Keeping a keen eye on the USCIS website for news, alerts, and updates can ensure you’re not caught off-guard. It’s essential to be prepared for the lottery’s timing, which can be unpredictably announced.

Patience Is Key

“Sigh. So they still haven’t conducted the lottery yet”

“They said they will send out an alert once results have been released.”

These comments reflect the uncertainty and waiting game that defines the H-1B lottery process. The selection process takes time, and USCIS communicates results through official channels. Patience is crucial as the process unfolds, often at a pace outside your control.

“Is there a way to check it other than waiting for the company lawyer to let me know?”

“Nope, there is no way for you to check. You have to wait for your employer or the law firm to reach out to you for the results.”

This dialogue underscores the vital role of clear and proactive communication with your employer or legal representative. They are your primary source of information regarding your application status. Establishing a straightforward communication channel with them can help alleviate some of the anxiety associated with waiting.

Understanding the Selection Notification Process

“For the H-1B visa lottery, do applicants receive notification if they are not selected, or only if they are chosen?”

Understanding how notification works can prepare you for the outcomes. Your application’s status gets updated on the USCIS portal, accessible by your employer or law firm. Being familiar with the process can set realistic expectations and help manage the wait better.

The Possibility of Multiple Rounds

“Your application’s status gets updated to ‘Selected’ on the portal…if not, the status stays as pending…They don’t immediately change it to ‘not selected’ because it’s possible that they conduct additional rounds of lottery.”

Knowing that multiple lottery rounds can occur is crucial. If not selected in the initial round, there’s still a chance in subsequent ones, depending on the cap reach. This information can provide hope and clarity as the process drags on.

Stay Positive and Supportive

“Thanks! Waiting anxiously…”

The H-1B lottery process can be emotionally taxing, but maintaining a positive outlook and engaging with a community of fellow applicants can offer much-needed support and encouragement.

Navigating the H-1B lottery requires patience, clarity, and a proactive approach to communication. While the process can be unpredictable, being well-informed and supportive can make a significant difference in your experience.

Post-Lottery Steps

After the H-1B lottery selection, it’s crucial whether you were selected or not to understand the subsequent steps. Different actions are required for each outcome to navigate the immigration process efficiently.

For Selected Applicants

Documentation: Once you receive notification of your selection in the H-1B lottery, promptly gather all required documentation. This includes evidence of eligibility for the H-1B visa as a specialty occupation worker and support from your prospective employer.

  • H-1B Petitions: Your employer or their representatives, typically an immigration attorney, must file Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, on your behalf within the stipulated 90-day period, starting from April 1st.
  • OPT and Travel Documents: If you are on post-completion OPT, ensure that your employment authorization document (EAD) and travel documents are valid and aligned with your H-1B petition timing.
  • Premium Processing: Consider using Form I-907 to request premium processing if you require a faster decision on your H-1B petition. Be aware of the additional premium processing fee required.

For Non-Selected Applicants

Next Steps: If you were not selected in the H-1B lottery, or your petition is denied, explore alternative visa options or employment opportunities that could allow you to stay in the United States.

  • Eligibility Check: Review your eligibility for other immigration categories with your immigration attorney. Confirm if you are eligible for any potential third lottery or can extend your stay on another basis, such as post-completion OPT, if applicable.
  • Cap Registration: Be prepared to participate in the next year’s cap registration. Keep track of the key deadlines, such as the opening date on March 22 for the subsequent fiscal year.

Your awareness of these steps will greatly aid in advancing through the immigration process, whether you’re forging ahead with an H-1B cap petition or considering alternate routes after not being selected.

Need help with your H-1B visa?

The H-1B visa process is complex, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. If you’re struggling to understand all of the moving parts, let Stilt help. Our team of H-1B visa experts can help you make sense of all the eligibility requirements, documents, and the application process.

Frequently Asked Questions

The H-1B visa program is a significant pathway for skilled foreign workers to work in the U.S. Understanding the lottery results and process is crucial for applicants.

When are the H-1B lottery results typically announced?

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) usually begins to announce the H-1B visa lottery results towards the end of March or the beginning of April each fiscal year.

How can applicants check their H-1B visa lottery results?

Applicants can check their H-1B visa lottery results by logging into the USCIS online account that was used to submit their H-1B registration.

What is the usual timeline for the H-1B visa lottery process?

The process typically begins with an initial registration period in early March, and lottery results are announced at the end of March or early April. Selected applicants can then file their H-1B petitions.

What is the annual cap for H-1B visas?

The annual cap for H-1B visas is set at 85,000, with 65,000 visas for the general category and 20,000 reserved for applicants with advanced degrees from U.S. institutions.

Can changes in immigration policy affect H-1B lottery results?

Changes in immigration policy can affect the H-1B lottery, including the selection process, eligibility criteria, and the number of visas allocated.

Are there any alternatives if not selected in the H-1B visa lottery?

If you are not selected in the H-1B lottery, you may consider alternative visa categories such as L-1, O-1, or TN, depending on your eligibility and circumstances. It’s advisable to consult with an immigration attorney for guidance.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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