What Information Will I Need to Register for the H-1B Lottery?

The H-1B lottery registration for cap petitions opened on March 1, 2020, at 12 PM and will remain open until March 20, 2020, at 12 PM.  In order to register, employers or their attorneys must provide basic identifying information about the company sponsoring the H-1B and the beneficiary they intend to sponsor for the H-1B.  Below is a checklist that will help employers gather the information they need to move through the registration process quickly and efficiently.

To register for the H-1B lottery, an account must be created using myUSCIS.gov.  There is a $10 registration fee for each beneficiary that is registered for the lottery.

Master’s Cap Criteria

While registering, employers will be required to properly identify beneficiaries that qualify for the advanced degree exemption.  There are 65,000 H-1B visas available to all qualifying H-1B applicants. An additional 20,000 visas are available to those that qualify for the advanced degree exemption, often referred to as the “master’s cap.”  Given the additional visas available to those with a qualifying master’s degree, the master’s cap can be very valuable and increase chances of selection in the H-1B lottery.  Mistakenly filing under the master’s cap, however, can have grave consequences. Wrongly identifying an individual as qualifying for the master’s cap can result in a denial or future revocation of an approved petition.  It is extremely important to ensure that employers are aware of the master’s cap criteria and properly identify beneficiaries that are eligible for the advanced degree exemption. 

To qualify for the master’s cap, the master’s degree must be:  

  • Earned from a U.S. Institution of Higher Education.  Many H-1B candidates can provide credentials evaluations equating their foreign degree to a U.S. master’s degree.  Although these individuals may be eligible to enter the H-1B lottery, they will not qualify for the master’s cap.


  • School Must be Accredited:  To qualify for the master’s cap, the degree must be earned from an accredited U.S. university. A nationally recognized accrediting agency or association must properly accredit the institution issuing the degree. The date to note is the date the advanced degree is awarded.  If a person graduates from a school before it is accredited, the degree cannot be used to qualify for the master’s cap. On the other hand, if a school is accredited at the time the degree is awarded, but subsequently loses accreditation, this candidate will still be eligible for the master’s cap.  In some instances, pre-accreditation status is also acceptable.


  • School Must be Public or Nonprofit: The degree must be earned from a public or nonprofit institution.  Master’s degrees earned through private for-profit schools will not qualify for the master’s cap.  


Prepare for H-1B lottery registration by gathering the information listed in the tables above.  A mistake in properly identifying whether a candidate qualifies for the H-1B master’s cap could result in a denial or revocation of a previously approved H-1B petition.  Agarwal Law Group can assist with H-1B registration or conduct a consultation to answer your questions. Contact us today for assistance with your H-1B applications.

Pratibha Agarwal

Principal Shareholder

Agarwal Law Group 

4601 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 1200

Arlington, VA 22203

(703) 348-1663



Disclaimer:  The information provided is general in nature and may not apply to any specific circumstance or matter.  The information should not be construed as legal advice. Contact us to schedule a consultation to discuss your particular matter.

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