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Guide On How To Ace The H1-B Lottery

Guide On How To Ace The H1-B Lottery

The H1-B lottery is the most important step for both H1-B petitioner and beneficiary to move to the next step in their H1-B visa application process. The H1-B visa is a professional work-sponsored visa issued by the US government. Millions of non-American citizens apply for an H1-B visa yearly to work in America through the H1-B lottery.

Like a regular lottery, the H1-B lottery involves a random selection of candidates to be shortlisted for the H1-B visa. H1-B applicants must consider several factors to improve their chances of being selected. Since you cannot file a petition until you have been chosen in the first round of the H1-B lottery registration, it is important to understand all the variables that could impact your chances of being selected.

For instance, you need to know when the lottery takes place and how often the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) holds the H1-B lottery. You also need to know who is eligible to apply and whether you are eligible for the regular or master cap. Consulting with an immigration lawyer can help you understand these and more.

Once you get the hang of it, you will be one step ahead of the competition and stand a better chance of winning the H1-B lottery. H1-B visas are only issued once a year during the visa application period, so it is important to follow all the steps to ensure you don’t get in trouble.

In this blog post, we will discuss some important things that you need to know before you apply for the H1-B lottery so that you are fully prepared.

Overview of the H1-B lottery

The first H1-B lottery was held in 2008, and the second one was held in 2009. After that, there was a four-year gap. Things improved in 2014, and the H1-B lotteries have been held continuously since then until 2024. H1-B visas are among the most significant visas issued by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

The USCIS has a cap of 85,000 H1-B visa petitions per fiscal year. If the USCIS receives more H1-B petitions than it can approve, it will conduct a lottery to select candidates for the H1-B visa. In fiscal year 2024, the USCIS received 780, 884 H1-B petitions. Since the cap for petitions was 85,000, the USCIS conducted an H1-B lottery.

In most cases, the USCIS will run a first-round H1-B lottery to determine which candidates will be eligible to file a complete petition. However, there are numerous reasons why you may be denied when filing your full petition. These rejections will result in the H1-B visa caps remaining unallocated.

The USCIS will then run a second or third round to redistribute those remaining H1-B visa caps. However, this only applies if there are still H1-B visas available after the first round. The USCIS administers the H1-B lottery. You will receive notice to submit your complete petition using I-129.

In short, it is a lottery because only 65,000 H1-B visas are issued each year. There are 20,000 more H1-B visas available for graduates of US Master’s programs, which is why there are so many applicants vying for them. For the last three years, the USCIS has run the H1-B lottery using an online enrollment process that starts in March.

Employers enter basic details about their business and the person they want to sponsor. At the end of the month, they get an email saying they have been chosen.

Once the H1-B lottery ends, employers have to wait for at least a year before they can apply again. Find out more about the H1-B lottery by speaking with one of our immigration lawyers.

The H1-B lottery process

First, you need to locate a sponsor and find a job in the United States. Then, your sponsor will register for you during the annual registration window, usually in April. All you need to do is fill out a few forms with information about yourself. You also need to apply for your visa before your petition phase, which involves going through an H1-B lottery selection process.

The H1-B lottery selection process occurs before your petition phase and only occurs when the total number of registrations for H1-B visas exceeds the total number of H1-B visas that can be issued in a fiscal year (generally every year). During the registration window, the number of registrations is extremely high. It often exceeds the annual cap and visa availability.

The annual registration period covers the entire period. Once you reach the cap, the period is over. Once the cap is reached, the USCIS will conduct an H1-B lottery to determine which registrations will move to the next phase. This process is random based on the number of registrations received during the window and is not prioritized.

You will not be selected based on the time you submitted your application during the window. There is no merit evaluation at this stage. If you qualify at this stage, you will be notified that you have qualified for the H1-B lottery. You will then be required to submit your complete visa application within 90 days of receiving the notification.

Please remember that qualifying for the H1-B lottery doesn’t guarantee an H1-B visa. The petition will be evaluated based on visa eligibility and requirements. Hire an immigration lawyer to determine your eligibility early enough.

If the ceiling remains unachievable after the initial petitions, USCIS may run an additional round of the H1-B lottery, inviting more workers to submit a full petition, as it did in previous years.

After the first round, the 65,000 visa caps will be replaced by a 20,000 visa Master’s cap. The petitions will be randomly selected. If no petitions are selected, the cap will return to normal.

The success rate of the H1-B lottery

The H1-B lottery only occurs once a year, so candidates and sponsors want to ensure they have a good chance of winning. Here are some steps you can take to avoid problems:

  1. Complete all forms correctly.
  2. Submit all necessary information and documentation.
  3. Pay the applicable fees.
  4. Don’t submit your petition before the April open date.
  5. Submit your petition immediately after the open date.
  6. Qualify for your job by meeting the required qualifications and experience.
  7. Ensure you qualify for the H1-B visa.
  8. Apply for each job offered by various employers.
  9. Don’t apply more than once for the same employer. Employers who file multiple or duplicate applications for the same employee will be rejected and not reimbursed.

Do not file a petition if the job will start more than 6 months after your visa approval. These tips won’t make you an H1-B lottery winner, but they will ensure you don’t experience any delays or problems that could hurt your chances. It is always a good idea to hire an immigration lawyer.

How to ace the H1-B lottery

There is no guarantee that you will win the H1-B lottery. This is a random lottery. However, the following factors can indirectly affect your chances:

1. Getting a US Master’s degree.

You can reapply for the H1-B lottery after obtaining a US Master’s degree in one of the H1-B Master’s programs. As a result, you are eligible to apply for the regular H1-B lottery and the Master’s H1-B visa lottery.

2. Get employed by an employer exempt from the H1-B visa cap.

Some employers are exempt from the H1-B visa application cap. Therefore, you can find employment with them if you don’t want to participate in the H1-B lottery.

3. Transfer of the H1-B status.

If you want to transfer an H1-B visa status to a different employer, you don’t need to apply to the H1-B lottery. You have already been selected from the total number of H1-B visas in the H1-B lottery. Remember, though, that the H1-B lottery is a random process.

There is no guarantee that you will be on the shortlist, so you will need to look elsewhere for a visa to work and live in the US. An immigration lawyer will help you with this.

What to do after winning the H1-B lottery?

You will have 90 days to complete and file your application if you are chosen. The USCIS may ask for additional information from your employer or foreign workers if they need additional documentation. If immigration is satisfied, your application will go through a regular process.

You will be eligible to start your employment in October, the start of the new fiscal year. Please keep this in mind to avoid any disruption to your immigration status or employment status. You may be eligible to use your USCIS receipt notice as evidence that you have filed your H1-B petition to qualify for an OPT cap-gap renewal.

This would allow you to continue living and working in the US until you begin your H1-B employment on 1 October.

The H1-B lottery for the FY 2025

USCIS announced that the H1-B lottery selection process for the FY 2025 will differ from the FY 2024 season. USCIS states the new H1-B lottery will be run based on a unique beneficiary identifier instead of H1-B registration. Applicants must submit their ‘passport’ or ‘travel document’ information.

USCIS will run the H1-B lottery using the unique number on passports or ‘travel documents.’ If an applicant has multiple offers and several H1-B registrations, they will be considered a single entry into the H1-B lottery. For example, applicants with four job offers and four H1-B registrations would qualify for a single shot at the H1-B lottery for the FY 2025 season.

Get help!

At Gehi and Associates, we can help you to file your H1-B petition properly. We know what needs to be done to create a strong H1-B case. We will help you to compile and submit your case. We will handle the application process efficiently.

We can also advise you about other work visa options that you can get. This will be very helpful for you since the H1-B lottery is very competitive. Do you have any questions about the H1-B lottery or about US immigration? Please do not hesitate to contact us!

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