Day1CPT.Org News Blog

H1B Third Lottery: Why We're Convinced It's Happening!

 Updated by Shyla

The H-1B visa program consistently garners attention from international professionals and U.S. employers alike. As we inch closer to the H1B second lottery 2024 application file deadline, whispers about an H1B third lottery are growing louder. Let's sift through the data and perspectives to understand the situation better.

Breaking News: A New Proposal for H1B lottery reform was released by USCIS. For important notes and details see:


A Recap of the H1B Lottery Records

Forbes reports that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has already held two selection rounds for the H-1B lottery for fiscal year 2024. The initial round resulted in 110,791 registrations, surpassing the annual cap of 85,000 (comprising 65,000 under the regular cap and an extra 20,000 for advanced degree holders). Subsequently, a second selection was announced on July 31, 2023, with 77,600 registrations.

This second round was initiated because USCIS officials estimated that a mere 50,000 or fewer from the first selection would culminate in approved H-1B petitions. This estimation stemmed from noticing duplicate entries for individuals during the registration, adding a layer of unpredictability to the process.


Will There Be a 3rd Round? The MATH!

If we only look at the numbers:

  • FY 2024 H1B Lottery First Round :

    • 110,000 files were selected.

    • With a 40% filing rate resulted in 44,000 actual files.

      *The 40% filing rate was estimated by immigration law firms and the media, the actual number was not announced by USCIS.

  • FY 2024 H1B Lottery Second Round:

    • In order to meet the 85,000 quota, 100,000 additional selections were required.

      • Calculated as (85,000 quota - 44,000 from the first round) ÷ 40% filing rate.

    • The agency selected an additional 77,609 registrations.

    • Total selections across both rounds: 188,400.

  • Post-Second Round Filing Rate:

    • Assuming a consistent 40% filing rate, expected filed applications: 75,360.

      • Calculated as 40% of 188,400.

  • Shortfall:

    • There should be a remaining gap of 9,640 slots to reach the 85,000 quota!

If the filing rate mirrors that of the first round, despite the unexpectedly high total selection count, a third round wouldn't be surprising. In fact, we've seen a similar scenario unfold in the past. We can only hope that history repeats itself this year.

FY Qualified Entries Selected Applicants Selection Rate
2021 269,424 124,415 45.37%
2022 301,447 131,924 42.75%
2023 474,423 127,600 26.37%
2024 (so far) 758,994 188,400 24.13% -

Historical Context and Current Trends

The History of a 3rd round H1B lottery

In the H1B lottery's history, there have been three rounds of selection only once, and that was in 2022. That year, 308,613 eligible applicants participated in the draw. In the first round, 87,500 were selected, followed by 27,717 in the second round. Just when it seemed the process was complete, USCIS unexpectedly conducted a third round of selection. Without prior notice, they announced the results after the draw, selecting an additional 16,753 applicants. This brought the final selection rate to 42.7%. The primary reason for these multiple rounds of selection was that an insufficient number of selected applicants filed their applications before the deadline.

From history, we learn that the filing rate is crucial in determining the likelihood of another selection round. However, USCIS doesn't disclose this specific number until all selections are finalized. Fortunately, immigration law firms often conduct their own statistical research based on the applications they manage. This year, the filing rate is notably low due to an unusually high number of multiple filings. This anomaly makes the situation less predictable, and the possibility of a third round remains.

Are there other contributing factors? Yes.

USCIS's Crackdown on Illegal Multiple Filings

Another aspect to consider is USCIS's 2023 crackdown on those submitting multiple entries. This move could deter potential system abusers, causing them to reconsider filing their application after selection, especially given the severe penalty of a lifelong H1B ban.

While USCIS has consistently voiced intentions to penalize system abusers, tangible actions were limited in the past. However, this year's unprecedented surge in H1B lottery applications prompted USCIS to take decisive action.

They've ramped up efforts against illegal multiple filings, as evidenced by a list of debarred or disqualified employers on RedBus2US. According to The Times of India, due to the fear of USCIS scrutiny, many selected Indian applicants were deterred from filing H-1B. This situation may further lower the filing rate for the second round, leaving room for those who yet to be selected.

Public Sentiments and Predictions

On platforms like Reddit, the debate about a potential third lottery is rife. Some speculate that if there's a notable discrepancy between approved petitions and the annual cap, USCIS might consider a third round. However, others, pointing to the substantial numbers from the first two rounds, deem it unlikely. Yet, given the unique circumstances of this year, it's wise to expect the unexpected.

What else?

Based on the numbers and current trends, a 3rd round of the H1B lottery seems highly likely. However, USCIS isn't bound to fill the entire 85,000 quota. The actual number of H1B recipients fluctuates annually, with 85,000 serving as a guideline. If the discrepancy becomes significant, the public can lodge a complaint against USCIS's inaction. However, such an instance hasn't occurred in the past, as all official statistics aren't released to the public until matters are settled.

What alternatives can you consider if the H1B route seems too challenging?


H1B Alternatives

Cap-Exempt H1B Jobs

Cap-exempt employment serves as a favorable option for individuals who were not selected in the H1B lottery. There are job opportunities in the U.S. that fall outside the H1B quota, such as:

  • Institutions of higher education or their affiliated nonprofit entities
  • Nonprofit or governmental research organizations

Cap-exempt employers can file H1B petitions throughout the year, regardless of the quota. If their H1B petition is approved by USCIS, you can commence employment with the employer.

You may find such jobs on platforms like HigherEDJobs; NGO Job Board; Impact Pool

The upside of seeking a cap-exempt job is obvious: you don’t need to go through the lottery. However, the downside is also obvious: most of these jobs are not well paid. This is one of the main reasons international workers stop working at NGOs and try to get their way back into the industry.

L-1 Visa

If you work for a company that has an office in the US, you may be eligible to apply for an L-1 visa. To qualify, you must have worked for the company in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge position for at least 1 year within the last 3 years. Additionally, the L-1 visa can be used to establish an affiliated office in the US if your foreign company does not currently have a presence there. For employees establishing a new office, the initial stay in the US is limited to 1 year, while other employees can stay for up to 3 years.

O-1 Visa

The O-1 visa is a viable alternative if your H1B lottery application is not selected. O-1 visas are intended for foreign nationals who exhibit extraordinary ability in fields such as science, education, business, arts, and athletics, or who have achieved extraordinary recognition in the motion picture or other sectors in the entertainment industry. If you are qualified for an O1, we recommend you consider applying for NIW at the same time to speed up the process of getting a green card.  

Enroll in Day 1 CPT Universities to Continue Working on an F1 Visa

It is a common misconception that if you are on F1, you can’t work. OPT and CPT are legal to-work authorizations recognized by the USCIS. Day 1 CPT universities can provide you with CPT authorizations and allow you to work while studying in the U.S.

If you are interested in this path, book a free consultation with our experts to check eligibility.


Enter Multiple Applications to Increase Chances Next Year ?

In the case of H1B Visa Registrations, there have been instances where individuals filed multiple registrations intending to increase their chances in the H1B Visa Lottery. USCIS has taken action against those individuals and companies involved in fraudulent practices by issuing Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) and H1B revocation notices for such petitions. This was initially reported by the Law Offices of Thomas V Allen in 2022 and has since been shared by other attorneys and users in 2023.

As a general guideline, it is technically permissible to file multiple H1B Registrations through unrelated employers. However, there is a crucial requirement that both the companies and the job offers must be genuine. This is where some of the ICCs often attempt to exploit the rule by submitting multiple registrations without genuine intent or legitimate job offers.

To illustrate, suppose you have a job offer from Google and another from Microsoft. In this scenario, both companies can file H1B registrations for you, which is considered legal and acceptable. However, if two ICC attempt to file multiple applications for you by using their subsidiaries or different entities, without having multiple genuine offers, both the ICC and you as a potential employee will face consequences. Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) is typically issued in such cases.

In short, if you have genuine offers from different companies, you can proceed and file multiple registrations. In those cases, the more, the merrier. However, attempting to deceive the system is no longer effective. Since 2023, NOID cases have become more prevalent as USCIS intensifies efforts to combat H1B fraud. Once you are flagged on their radar, you risk losing a lifetime opportunity to return to the U.S. The path to obtaining residency is lengthy and challenging. It is crucial to consistently stay on the safe side and maintain a solid record of status compliance.

USCIS cracking down H1B abuse


The H-1B lottery for fiscal year 2024 has been marked by unpredictability and a record number of selections. The numbers, combined with historical precedents and the current filing rate, suggest that a third round is within the realm of possibility.


Hi, I'm Shyla, the Content Manager at

Our mission is to connect immigration experts with international students. We offer the latest advice, free consultations, and expert insights to help guide your journey in the U.S.

We're official admission partners with all the day 1 CPT universities listed on our website. We work closely with schools to pre-screen applicants and streamline the offer process, saving valuable time.

Your success is our priority!


No Comments Yet

Let us know what you think