UNITED STATES: USCIS Reopens Fiscal Year 2021 H-1B Lottery

August 20, 2020

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has recently begun selecting additional, previously unselected H-1B registrations that were submitted in March 2020 for the fiscal year 2021 H-1B lottery.  As with cases selected in the initial lottery in March, USCIS is providing a 90-day filing window for the now-eligible H-1B submissions.

Without any official announcement, USCIS began updating their registration system on 14 August to indicate that previously unselected registrations were now selected, and it sent email notifications in connection with these updates. No announcement has yet been made regarding the number of new selections in this second round of the lottery nor when the current selection window will close. Given the record 275,000 registrations submitted for this year’s lottery and the annual quota of 85,000 H-1B numbers, the probability that a previously unselected registration will be selected in this second round or any future round is likely small.

Unselected registrations have not yet been designated as rejected in USCIS’ system, so the possibility of an additional round of selections does exist.

How Does it Work?

An applicant is only eligible to submit an FY 2021 H-1B cap-subject petition if they have electronically registered the beneficiary in the H-1B registration process and USCIS selects the registration submitted for the beneficiary through the random selection process.

Registrants’ online accounts now show one of the following statuses for each registration:

  • Submitted: A registration status may continue to show “Submitted” after the initial selection process has been completed. “Submitted” registrations will remain in consideration for selection until the end of the fiscal year, at which point all registration statuses will be Selected, Not Selected, or Denied.
  • Selected: Selected to file an FY 2021 H-1B cap-subject petition.
  • Denied: A duplicate registration was submitted by the same registrant for the same beneficiary, or a payment method was declined and not reconciled. If denied as a duplicate registration, all registrations you submitted for this beneficiary for the fiscal year are invalid.

Selection in the registration process does not relieve the petitioner from submitting evidence or otherwise establishing eligibility for petition approval, as registration only pertains to eligibility to submit the H-1B cap-subject petition.


  • Due to COVID-19, USCIS will temporarily accept all benefit forms, including Form 1-129 for H-1B cap petitions, with reproduced original signatures. (Employers must still retain the original documents containing the “wet” signature to provide to USCIS if requested at a later date.)
  • USCIS has resumed premium processing service for all I-129 petitions

Our Advice

Employers who may be affected are encouraged to contact a Newland Chase immigration specialist for case-specific advice.

For general advice and information on immigration and business travel to the US, please contact us