USCIS Announces Results of Second H-1B Cap Lottery

Last Friday, Aug. 14, 2020, USCIS announced the results of a second H-1B cap lottery. The second round of selections drew from applications submitted in the registration period between March 1 and March 20, 2020, but not selected during the first lottery. After the first lottery, USCIS indicated that there would be a possible second lottery if there weren’t enough H-1B petitions filed based on the initial selections.

After discovering that there were fewer H-1B petitions filed than registrations selected in the first lottery, USCIS conducted a second round to make sure there would be enough approved petitions to reach the annual H-1B quota of 85,000. On Friday, Aug. 14, applicants began to receive notifications that their registrations had been selected in this second lottery. The notices were labeled as “August 2020 Selection of Reserve Registrations.”

The prospective employers of these selected registrants have a 90-day window—from Aug. 17 to Nov. 16, 2020—to file a cap-subject petition based on the registration.

During the initial registration period (March 1–March 20), USCIS received about 280,000 applications, about 68% of which came from India. Although USCIS has not yet specified exactly how many registrations were selected in the second lottery, sources report that about 185,000 registrations were not selected during the first round. These sources further speculate that the percentage of remaining registrations chosen during the second round is likely to be very small.

Even after the second lottery, USCIS has not yet flatly rejected any of the applications. Those not selected in either of the first two rounds will be placed on reserve in case USCIS does not receive enough petitions from the selected registrations to fill the quota. It is still theoretically possible—although, by this point, unlikely—that USCIS could hold a third lottery among those petitions still in reserve.

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