International Students Immigration Blog

FY2025 H-1B Visa Lottery: What Are the Odds With One Petition Per Person

FY2025 H1B Lottery


Yesterday, on January 30, 2024, the USCIS made an exciting announcement regarding the H1B lottery for the fiscal year 2025. Set to take place in March 2024, this lottery will now implement a one-registration-per-person system, effectively putting an end to the rampant H1B fraud that has plagued the process for years. The new regulation, which will be officially posted on the Federal Register for a 30-day period starting on February 2nd, is scheduled to come into effect on March 3rd. This movement is truly cause for celebration as it marks a significant milestone in combating fraudulent practices since the introduction of electronic registration.

Table of Contents

  1. Overview of Changes and Its Impact
  2. Odds Calculation
  3. Conclusion

1. Overview of Changes and Its Impact

There have been three significant changes that will greatly impact the FY 2025 H1B lottery and applications:

  1. The one-draw-per-person system will likely be conducted based on passport numbers.
  2. Online registration opens on March 6th, 2024. Be sure to remind your employers and mark the calendar!

  3. The online registration fee remains at $10, NO fee increase.

Last year (FY2024), there were 780,000 registrations participating in the lottery, with two rounds of lotteries conducted in April and August, having a selection rate of around 24%. So, what could the selection rate be this year when an individual can only file one H1B petition?

Our analysis shows that, in the first round of FY2025 H1B Lottery, the selection probability for bachelor's degree holders is 26.67%, and for advanced degree holders (master's and above), it's 40%. In the conclusion of our article, we will also analyze why we believe the actual selection rate this year could potentially be higher than our calculated estimates. If you're interested in understanding our calculation and analysis process, keep reading.


2. Odds Calculation

If we want to calculate the selection rate for the H1B one-registration-per-person system, we need the following information:

Total H1B Visa Cap: The annual cap for H1B visas is 85,000, with 20,000 of these reserved for holders of advanced degrees from U.S. institutions (master's degree or higher). The USCIS typically selects more than the cap to account for those who are selected but do not file. The lottery process involves pooling all registrations together (regardless of degree) for the initial draw, and then, those not selected who hold advanced degrees are entered into a second draw for an additional 20,000 spots. Referring to USCIS data from FY2021, where the filing rate among those selected for H1B was 85%, if there are a total of 85,000 H1B slots, then 100,000 applications need to be drawn in total. In the first round, 80,000 will be selected, and in the second round, an additional 20,000 slots will be drawn from among applicants with advanced degrees.

Number of Registrations: The total number of registrations received in recent years has significantly exceeded the cap, indicating a competitive lottery process. However, under the new policy, the total number of registrations is expected to decrease significantly. Considering the layoffs and economic downturn over the past year, many employers may be less inclined to sponsor foreign employees for H1B visas. We anticipate this year's total number of registrations to return to the levels of FY2021 (270,000 registrations) and FY2022 (300,000 registrations), or possibly even lower. For simplicity in our calculations, we'll assume a total of 300,000 H1B registrations.

Distribution of Registrations: The distribution of registrations between advanced degree holders and bachelor's degree holders affects the odds. Since the exact distribution isn't provided, we'll make an educated guess. For simplicity, let's assume half of the registrations are from master's degree holders and the other half are from bachelor's degree holders. This gives us 150,000 registrations each.

Based on the provided information, let's calculate the odds of winning the H1B visa selection for bachelor's and advanced degree holders with a total of 300,000 registrations, assuming an equal distribution between the two groups (150,000 each).


First Round (65,000 slots):

  • Total registrations in the pool: 300,000 (including both bachelor's and advanced degree holders).

  • Since the lottery is random and all are pooled together, the odds for both groups in this round are the same: 80,000/300,000=26.67%

Second Round (20,000 slots for advanced degrees):

  • Only advanced degree holders who were not selected in the first round compete for these slots. Since we're assuming 50% of the total registrations are from advanced degree holders (150,000), and some of these will have been selected in the first round, we need to calculate how many are left.

  • Assuming the same selection rate for advanced degree holders in the first round as the overall selection rate, the number of advanced degree holders not selected in the first round is approximately: 150,000×(1−80,000/300,000)=109,995

  • The odds for an advanced degree holder in the second round are then: 20,000/150,000×(1−80,000/300,000)=18.18%

This means:

  • Bachelor's degree holders have a single chance with an overall selection probability of about 26.67%.

  • Advanced degree holders:

    • Odds of selection in the first round: 26.67%

    • Odds of selection in the second round (for those not selected in the first round): 18.18%

    • The total odds of an advanced degree holder winning the H1B lottery are approximately 39.93%, roughly 40% . This accounts for their chance of being selected in the initial round and, if not selected, their additional chance in the second round reserved for advanced degrees.



The USCIS's new one-registration-per-person rule for the FY2025 H1B lottery aims to curb fraud and ensure fairness. With expected lower registration numbers, the odds of winning the lottery have improved to 26.67% for bachelor's degree holders and 40% for advanced degree holders. This significant policy shift promises a more equitable selection process, offering better chances for professionals seeking employment in the U.S.

We believe that the actual selection rate could be higher than our calculations. Due to economic downturns and layoffs, many employees eligible for the H1B lottery might have been laid off and cannot participate in this year's lottery. Employers are also less inclined to sponsor international workers for H1Bs during the hiring process, so the total number of H1B registrations is likely to be less than 300,000.

In summary, we predict that this year's H1B visa selection rate will reach its highest point since FY2022, approximately the rate seen in FY2021. we believe the H1B lottery system is continuously improving, reducing H1B fraud, and increasing the chances for international workers to win an H1B.


If this is your last chance to participate in the H1B lottery this year, and you're worried about not being selected or have been laid off and cannot participate, please contact us. We offer free, personalized consulting services to help you maintain your legal status in the U.S.