Origination Season. This time of year is about people. It's about our communities. It's about helping people secure access to the opportunities for which they've worked so hard to qualify. And ultimately, it's about making sure that everyone, no matter what country they were born in, has the opportunity to succeed.

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If you work with foreign nationals, you already know that having rock-solid sponsorship is everything. So, brush up on the super important dates and guidelines of the most important time of year for this population, and the people they work with: Origination Season.

Our Simple Guide to Origination Season


1. What is Origination Season?

Origination or Cap season is the yearly opportunity for foreign nationals to apply for a new H-1B visa.

>> When can candidates apply?

In 2020, USCIS transitioned to an online registration process for the H-1B cap to streamline processes by reducing paperwork and data exchange, and provide cost savings for employers filing H-1B petitions. Online registration for fiscal year 2024 will be open from March 6-22, 2024. Selections take place after the initial registration period ends, and USCIS intends to inform petitioners of selection via their myUSCIS online account by March 31.

>> What is the lottery?

This is the system the USCIS uses to select the 85,000 H-1B candidates from the more than 200,000 applicants they receive each year.

  • H-1B Regular Quota: 65,000 visas
  • H-1B Master’s Quota: 20,000 visas (only US Masters are eligible)

2. How does an OPT impact the application process?

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary employment directly related to an F-1 student’s major area of study more info about OPT here.

First, consider how long the project is set to last. If a candidate has enough OPT time left, they may have the option to wait to apply for a visa. A Populus Group Immigration Specialist can advise you on whether this year is appropriate to apply for the H1. If a candidate chooses to apply for an H1, they will move from the OPT pricing calculator to an H1 calculator effective April 4th


3. Prevailing Wage: Why is it important?

The prevailing wage is the average wage paid to similarly employed workers in the area/physical address of intended employment. Prevailing wages are determined by the Department of Labor.

>> Why is this important?

Prevailing wages are important to know because:

  • Prevailing wages aren’t applicable to OPT workers
  • If a candidate is applying for an H1, their direct labor rate may need to be adjusted to meet the prevailing wage.

A Populus Group Immigration Specialist will be able to advise you of the wage level needed to file.


4. What changes are there for the lottery in 2024?

There’s a new change in the lottery process this year!

  • A beneficiary will only be entered into the lottery one time, regardless of how many employers register them. They are calling it a beneficiary-centric selection process. So once the beneficiary gets selected in the lottery they will be able to choose which employer files their H case.

For example, if John Smith gets entered by 5 different employers and gets selected in the lottery he can then choose any of the 5 employers to file his H case for him. USCIS is also cracking down on false registrations (where no project is available for the beneficiary).


Still have questions about H-1B Originations? 

We have an Immigration Specialist in your region and they will be happy to go over this in more detail!

Click here to connect with a specialist now >>