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Imagine this: You receive an email or notification from the United States immigration services that your H1B petition has been selected. Of course, you are relieved and overjoyed. But have you ever wondered how your petition was selected by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services or the USCIS?
In 2020, the USCIS introduced the H1B visa lottery- an electronic registration process for the H1B cap. Now, what is the H1B cap? The USCIS gives out a maximum of 65,000 H1B visas in a fiscal year, from October 1st, 2022, to September 30th, 2023. About 65,000 visas are available for regular applicants, and twenty thousand visas are made available to candidates with master's degrees.
Read on to familiarize with the H1B Visa Lottery.
The USCIS implements the H1B visa lottery if it receives more than 85,000 H1B petitions per fiscal year. All H1B petitioners interested in filing H-1B cap-subject petitions must register electronically and pay the associated fees. This also includes those who are eligible for advanced degree exemption.
On average, the USCIS receives tens of thousands of H1B applications every year. The lottery is one of the many stages in the H1B application process. A select number of H1B applicants are randomly picked from a large pool of graduates seeking employment in the US. Now, here's an important point to note: The random selection of your name in the H1B visa lottery does not ensure that you will receive a visa. The USCIS will assess your visa petition thoroughly to make sure it meets all the visa prerequisites and eligibility norms.
Also read: The H1B Application process
As per the USCIS rules, all US-based employers wishing to hire foreign employees must apply for the H1B visa on behalf of their prospective workers. This would also be the first step in the H1B cap lottery. The employer must use this USCIS portal to open a registration account.
Once all the applications are submitted within the stipulated date, the USCIS runs the lottery through an electronic selection process. 65,000 regular slots are filled in the first run of the algorithm on a pool of combined applicants. Following that, 20,000 advanced degree slots are filled from unselected master's degree applicants. Non-selected H1B petitions are returned to the candidates with the filing fees. Selected applicants often face this query: " After H1B lottery, what next?"
Also learn the other options you can consider if the H1B petition is not selected.
What is the process after H1B lottery selection?
There is a lot to do once your petition has been selected. Post-lottery selection is where the real deal happens. We've categorized the 'after lottery selection" into a five-step process to help you understand better.
Step 1: Employers receive lottery selection results from the USCIS
The USCIS sends out notifications to all employers sponsoring H1B visas for foreign workers to indicate changes in the online system. Employers can view the H1B lottery results online by logging into the myUSCIS portal. If an applicant's petition were selected, the registration status would be read "Selected." The employer can print an H1B Registration Selection notice.
Step 2: The employer files an H1B petition with USCIS
The first step after confirmation of selection is to submit a Labor Condition Application (LCA) form ETA-9035 to the US Department of Labor. The employers' responsibility is to submit the LCA for their prospective employees. The employer must also file Form I-129, the filing fee, and all the supporting documentation to reinforce your eligibility for H1B. Employers have a 90-day window starting from April 1st to June 30th to file your H1B petition.
Step 3: USCIS issues H1B receipt notices
Upon receiving the H1B application package, USCIS will process it and send receipt notices. A premium processing option has been available since April 5, 2021. Employers can file petitions in premium processing, for which they will receive a receipt notice via email. Following the email notification, a physical copy of the H1B receipt notice will also be mailed. However, if the H1B petition was filed in Regular Processing, your employer will receive only a physical receipt notice. No email receipt notice will be sent. Your employer will also start seeing checks cashed for the filing fee during this time.
Step 4: USCIS processes and adjudicates the H1B petition
Once the H1B receipt notices are sent, the USCIS starts to adjudicate the filed petitions. Once the Non-immigrant H1B petition is approved, you can apply for the H1B visa. You may use the Form DS-160 from the online non-immigrant visa application system. You should attend the interview at the Consulate or local US Embassy following this procedure.
Step 5: USCIS re-conducts the H1B lottery and updates the final results
The USCIS conducts the second round lottery only if there is an insufficient number of selected applicants. Lottery re-runs can happen many times until all the 85,000 slots are filled. Furthermore, in the second semester, non-selected H-1B petitions that weren't previously selected may replace petitions that were previously selected but didn't submit their applications.
Planning ahead is the key to improving your chances of getting selected in the H1B visa lottery. Yes, getting selected is pure luck by chance. However, your employer must be fully geared up and ready to begin the H1B process after lottery. Experts say that employers who are best prepared have better chances of getting their foreign candidates selected in the H1B lottery.
TechFetch H1B: Your reliable guide to the H1B Visa Selection Process
Getting your H1B visa need not be a tumultuous journey. Refer the TechFetch H1B website to learn more information about the H1B lottery.
**Disclaimer: All information related to the H1B visa is subject to change. Please refer to the USCIS official website for the latest information and updates.**
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