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H-1B Visa – Demystifying The Lottery Process

H-1B Visa – Demystifying the Lottery Process

In our previous articles, “H1-B Visa – An Overview” and “H1-B Visa – Premium Processing for Faster Results”, we discussed that U.S. employers may submit H-1B petitions to U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services “USCIS” on the first business day of April for the limited pool of H-1B visa numbers that are available for the coming fiscal year.

We advised that since employer demand for H-1B visas has far exceeded the statutory cap in the last ten years, USCIS uses a computer-generated random selection process (or “lottery”) to select a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to satisfy the limits and returns the remaining petitions to the employers. Finally, we discussed that if you request Premium Processing at an additional cost of $1,225, once selected, your petition is reviewed within 15 days of the receipt.

How does the lottery process work?

In our previous articles, we had discussed that the H-1B cap sets an annual limit of 65,000 visas for new hires—and 20,000 additional visas for professionals with a master’s or doctoral degree from a U.S. university, on the number of visas that USCIS can issue to foreign workers.

The lottery process is first conducted for those who are applying under the master’s cap. Petitions that aren’t selected in the master’s cap are then put into the regular cap pool for a second chance at the lottery. Next, the lottery process is conducted for those who are applying under the regular cap.

How do you know if a petition has been selected in the lottery process?

If a petition is selected, a receipt notice will be generated and mailed to the addresses listed on the petition. This receipt will have its own individualized receipt number for tracking purposes. You will then wait for USCIS to process your petition and make a decision on it.

If a petition has not been selected in the lottery, a rejection notice will be generated and returned to the addresses listed on the petition, along with the entire submitted package.

For additional questions on the H-1B visa or any other immigration matter, please contact the experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Azita M. Mojarad, P.C.


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