The H1-B lottery is the process in which a random selection is conducted by the USCIS when the maximum number of H1-B Visa petitions has been reached. Employers not as familiar with the H1-B process may not know that when the USCIS receives H1-B petitions, that each application is assigned and identified by a unique number and then categorized into two groups: 1) bachelors quota, and 2) masters quota.
H1-B: Masters Quota Versus Bachelors Quota
If more than 20,000 petitions (the maximum) for the masters quota group is reached, then the USCIS will run a computer generated random selection process. Those in the masters quota that were not selected are then combined with the bachelors quota pool. There are only 65,000 H1-B visas that the government will issue each year (minus 6,800 for Chile and Singapore foreign nationals pursuant to the treaties with the U.S.), and once that number of petitions have surpassed that amount, then a computer generated random selection will be conducted.
The USCIS will forward all of the selected petitions to the service enters to be adjudicated. Any petitions not selected will be returned, along with the filing fee (exceptions may apply), back to the employer, or their lawyer. The selected petitioners will be informed and receive their case number to keep track of the progress of their petitions during the adjudication process.
April 1st is the first day the USCIS begin accepting H1-B visa petitions for the following fiscal year, with the lottery commencing on October 1st, allowing the selected petitions eligibility to begin working at that time. The quota, though, is usually met within the first five days after the USCIS begins accepting applications (usually by the 7th of April). Once the quota is filled, no more petitions will be accepted. Petitions that are ready to be filed before April 1st will have an increased likelihood of being considered and selected by the USCIS.
Foreign nationals educated outside of the U.S. will need to demonstrate that their degree is equivalent to an American degree. Therefore, a Foreign Credential Evaluation must be performed by a credential evaluator. It is important to obtain this credential evaluation as early as possible to avoid any unnecessary delays, as a petition will not be approved without a credential evaluation.
Also, as the employer, you must file a Labor Condition Application (LCA), which must be certified in advance and accompany the H1-B petition. Any petition filed without a certified LCA will be returned and/or rejected. It is solely upon the employer to have this step completed well before the April 1st date.
For all of these reasons, it is imperative that employers begin the H1-B petition process today, as it is never too early. Experienced attorneys, such as the lawyers at Eikon Law, will put forth every effort to avoid any delays and be prepared to submit a complete H1-B packet well before the April 1st deadline. Eikon Law understands the importance of starting the process at least 6 months before the filing deadline and will work diligently with the employer and the employee to have all documents and certification prepared on time, allowing for an increased likelihood of being approved for an H1-B visa. Contact Eikon Law today to discuss strategy and begin the application process for next year’s H1-B visa petition filing.