Exploring Plan B: What to Do When You’re Not Selected in the H1B Lottery.
On March 27, 2023, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) notified the applicants selected in the FY2024 H-1B visa lottery. Congratulations if you are one of the fortunate ones to have been selected! Your application status will now change from “Submitted” to “Selected.” This is a significant step in the H-1B visa process and signifies that your application has passed the initial selection criteria.
However, if your application status remains “Submitted,” you may wonder about your options. Don’t worry; there are alternative options to consider. First, it’s essential to understand that a “Submitted” status does not necessarily mean your application has been rejected. The USCIS may still process your application, and you may receive a decision in the coming weeks or months.
If you have not been selected in the H-1B lottery or your application has been denied, there are other visa options to consider. For example, you could explore an L-1 visa if you work for a company with offices in the U.S. and abroad. Alternatively, you could look into an O-1 visa if you have extraordinary abilities in the arts, sciences, education, business, or athletics.
In this blog, we will discuss the next steps you should take if your application status remains “Submitted,” alternative visa options to consider, and important information to remember during the H-1B visa application process.
What is an H1-B Visa?
The H-1B visa program is a popular way for foreign nationals to work in the United States temporarily. However, obtaining an H-1B visa is not easy as there is an annual cap on the number of visas issued, and the demand often exceeds the supply, leading to a lottery system. In such cases, if you are not selected in the lottery, it can be a disappointing experience. However, there are alternative options that you can explore to work in the United States.
How can I determine if I was chosen for the F.Y. 2024 H-1B Visa Lottery?
If you applied for the F.Y. 2024 H-1B Visa Lottery, USCIS has already notified those selected on or before March 31, 2022. To check if you were chosen, your employer can log into their USCIS account and view all the cases they submitted in the lottery. If you were selected, the “Status” of your application would change from “Submitted” to “Selected.” You can also find your H-1B Lottery selection notice under the “Action” tab, which can be downloaded. Once your petitioning employer has confirmed your selection, they can begin the H-1B petition process.
What should I do if I wasn’t selected in the F.Y. 2024 H-1B visa lottery?
Where your application status remains as “Submitted,” it means that you were not selected in the initial round of the H-1B lottery. However, in the past, the USCIS has conducted subsequent selections under the lottery based on the number of H-1B petitions that are not submitted by the June 30 deadline. These petitions are then included in the lottery, and another selection process is carried out, known as the “H-1B Reserve Registration.” Usually, additional selectees are notified by the end of August.
If you are not selected in the H1b lottery, the most apparent option is to wait and try again next year. However, waiting is not always an ideal solution for those who are eager to come to the United States. If you find yourself in this situation, we at Gehi & Associates recognize your urgency and recommend the following alternatives to the H1-B visa:
One alternative option is to obtain an F-1 visa, which is a non-immigrant student visa. You can enroll in a U.S. college or university and study full-time. As an F-1 visa holder, you are allowed to work on-campus for up to 20 hours a week during the academic year and full-time during the summer and winter breaks. After graduation, you may be eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT), which allows you to work in the United States for up to 12 months in your field of study. In some cases, you may also be eligible for a 24-month extension of OPT.
L-1 Visa for Business Expansion into the U.S.:
Another alternative is the L-1 visa, a non-immigrant work visa that allows multinational companies to transfer their employees from overseas to their U.S. offices. To be eligible for an L-1 visa, you must have worked for the company outside the United States for at least one continuous year in the past three years. The L-1 visa allows you to work in the United States for up to seven years.
The O-1 visa is a non-immigrant work visa for individuals who have extraordinary ability in science, education, business, or athletics or who have demonstrated extraordinary achievement in the arts. To be eligible for an O-1 visa, you must be able to demonstrate your extraordinary ability or achievement through awards, publications, or other evidence of your outstanding abilities. The O-1 visa allows you to work in the United States for up to three years, with extensions available.
E-1 Visas and E-2 Visas for Traders & Investors:
The E-1 Visa is suitable for people who enter the U.S. to participate in major trading activities concerning goods, services, or technology, mainly between the U.S. and a treaty nation.
The E-2 visa is a non-immigrant work visa for individuals who want to start or invest in a business in the United States. To be eligible for an E-2 visa, you must also be a citizen of a treaty country and invest a substantial amount of money in a U.S. business. The E-2 visa allows you to work in the United States for up to five years, with extensions available.
H-1B Cap-Exempt Employers:
Another option is to look for H-1B cap-exempt employers. These are employers who are exempt from the annual cap on H-1B visas. Cap-exempt employers include higher education institutions, non-profit organizations, and government research organizations. If you can find a job with a cap-exempt employer, you can obtain an H-1B visa outside the annual lottery.
The TN visa is a non-immigrant work visa for citizens of Canada and Mexico who work in certain professional occupations. To be eligible for a T.N. visa, you must have a job offer in a qualifying profession and the required education and/or work experience for that profession. The TN visa allows you to work in the United States for up to three years, with extensions available.
Which Alternative Visa Option Should I Consider?
Determining which visa option is most suitable for you can be a challenging and perplexing task. It is crucial to thoroughly evaluate the visa requirements and your qualifications to make an informed decision about the most appropriate visa.
For instance, the T.N. visa may be more suitable if you are from Canada or Mexico. To make a well-informed decision, seeking guidance from an immigration professional can be highly beneficial, as they can provide valuable insights and assist you in selecting the most optimal option available.
How We Can Help at Gehi & Associates
Congratulations to all the successful beneficiaries who have been selected in the lottery! Instead of taking the next step with limited knowledge of the entire process, why not consider hiring a professional in the field of immigration who possesses the necessary skills to ensure a successful outcome in the long run? At Gehi & Associates, we are here to assist with the H1-B petition filing process, document preparation, and responding to any RFEs issued.
If you are feeling anxious about your future prospects after not being selected in the H1-B lottery, do not worry. The law office of Gehi & Associates is a highly acclaimed immigration law firm with a proven track record in all aspects of immigration law.
Our skilled immigration attorneys will evaluate your situation and identify alternative visa opportunities that suit your qualifications and achievements.
Schedule a FREE consultation with one of our immigration lawyers and take a step forward to achieving your immigration goals.