What to Do If You Weren't Selected in This Year's H-1B Lottery

There’s no denying that the H-1B visa is arguably the most popular category on the market. But with many more petitioners than visas allocated, it’s also very difficult to obtain. This year’s lottery, FY 2024, saw the largest influx of registrations in history, but the US Citizenship and Immigration Services can only provide 85,000 visas. If you weren’t one of the chosen few, you still have options, as we’ll discuss here.

Alternative Options for Nonimmigrant Workers

Didn’t make the cut this year? You are not alone. USCIS received 483,927 registrations for FY 2024, with only 85,000 visas available. Nearly 400,000 applicants were not selected.

You, and those in the same boat, have a few options. Here are the common alternatives you and your immigration expert can look into next:

●     Wait until the next fiscal year and try again. Provided your work authorization remains active and your employer will sponsor you next year, you can keep your current job and home, and re-enter the lottery for FY 2025.

●     Find a cap-exempt employer willing to sponsor your visa. Cap-exempt employers are those in institutions of higher education and related or affiliated nonprofit entities. They can also be nonprofit or governmental research organizations. Should you receive a job offer from a cap-exempt entity, you don’t need to wait for deadlines or enter the lottery. You can begin working any time after your visa is approved.

●     Apply to enter the US under F-1 student status. If you’re eligible for optional practical training (OPT) in a qualifying STEM field, you may be able to receive up to 36 months of work authorization in a related industry.

●     Request an O-1 visa if you have extraordinary abilities in arts, athletics, science, education, business, or the television/motion picture industry. To meet the requirement of an “extraordinary ability,” you’ll need evidence that shows you are in high demand in your industry. However, once you’ve qualified, your O-1 visa provides work authorization for three years, with one-year extensions permitted.

●     Check your nationality’s available visas. For instance, if you’re an Australian national, you may be able to apply for an E-3 visa in a specialty occupation. Mexican and Canadian Nationals can apply for the TN visa under the US-Mexico-Canady Agreement.

●     Request an intracompany transfer if you work for a company with a branch in the US. Managers, executives, and those employees with specialized knowledge may qualify for an L-1 visa transfer.

●     Offer to teach, lecture, study, conduct research, consult, or otherwise educate or receive medical training through specific US Department of State-approved programs. Those qualified may receive a J-1 visa.

●     Apply as a dependent spouse if your husband or wife already has an H-1B or other visa. As a dependent spouse, you can’t work until you receive the Employment Authorization Document, but that is usually processed quickly.

●     Apply for a green card under a work authorization. If your employer sponsors this path, it can lead to speedy employment and the potential for permanent residency in the US.

What’s Next?

Although there are multiple avenues that you may qualify for, your wisest option is to talk to your immigration lawyer. Our professional experts at Visa2US can give you the advantages and disadvantages of each option and help you determine your next course of action.

Our goal is to streamline the process of getting you into the US. Working alongside someone who knows the legal system inside and out, like those at Visa2US, will prevent unnecessary surprises and delays along your path to employment in America.


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H-1B Visa

H-1B Visa

H-1B visa is used by businesses and organizations in the United States to employ foreign nationals with the preferred qualifications, knowledge, and expertise in a role.

I-485 Adjustment of Status

I-485 Adjustment of Status

Submit a form I-485 application to apply for lawful permanent resident status.

National Interest Waiver (NIW)

National Interest Waiver (NIW)

An applicant must either hold an advanced degree or have an exceptional ability in their field that would substantially benefit the U.S. to be qualified.