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H1B Lottery 2018 – Results and Updates

H1B Lottery 2018 – April 17 Update:

USCIS confirms that it received 199,000 H1B Applications for the 2018 H1B Lottery and It conducted the random H1B lottery on April 11, starting with advanced degree holders and then moving to the regular cap!

H1B Lottery 2018 – April 15 Update:

We started to receive the first H1B Receipt notices from Nebraska. Look out for receipt notices and for potential checks that are cleared.

H1B Lottery 2018  – April 8th Update:

Breaking News on the H1B Lottery 2018 Results: USCIS has reached the annual cap within the first 4 business days. Both, the regular cap of 65,000 visas as well as the advanced degree cap of 20,0000 visas, reserved for international graduates with Master’s degree or higher.

Consequently, there will be a random H1B Lottery conducted in the next few days that will seal the fate of many H1B aspirants, a lot of them who are trying to get their visa for the second or third time. We do not know yet the total number of applicants but we expect this number to be published soon. Post your questions and comments below, and i will answer all of your questions.

 

Here is everything you need to know about the H1B Lottery 2018, results, updates, and next steps. Read on to learn when you can expect to hear back and know if you were selected or not:
How time flies, today is April 8th and the new H1B lottery 2018 is hereby officially kicked off. Man, what a year this has been. Lots of changes on the immigration front, with Donald Trump being elected, who clearly is against anything that has to do with H1B, in particular via Indian H1B Consultants. Like every year, this page will serve as your definitive guide for everything related to the H1B Lottery 2018 Results- from latest developments, updates all the way to a comprehensive and timely update on H1B Lottery 2018 Results, which I hope will all be in your favor.

What to expect next in the H1B Lottery 2018

How to get an H1B for fiscal year 2018? It is really simple. It all starts with you finding an H1B Sponsor. An H1B Sponsor is any US based company, which satisfies the minimum USCIS requirements (Link), willing to give you a job offer and file an H1B petition for you. Here is the general timeline

  1. You need to find a job that qualifies for an H1B. To qualify the job needs to
    1. Require a highly specialized skill, as documented by the requirement of needing a Bachelor’s degree. Finding an H1B sponsor is the most challenging part, especially in recent years when the likelihood of getting your H1B selected in the H1B Lottery dropped to 30% for regular processing.
  2. Your employer must file a LCA (Labor Condition Application (ETA Form 9035)) with the DOL (Department of Labor). The LCA is a prevailing wage determination. It specifies the minimum salary your employer must pay you for the offered job. If your employer pays less than that, your H1B petition will get denied. The LCA can be filed electronically and it usually takes 5-10 days to get approved. Only if you have an approved LCA you can file the H1B petition
  3. Your employer files an H1B petition on your behalf. Once you have the LCA and all paperwork in order you are ready to file. If you never had an H1B before and your job is in the for-profit sector, you will be subject to the H1B cap. As such, you must file your H1B by April 1, because USCIS will stop accepting H1B applications once the annual cap has been met. In the past few years the cap was reached within the first five business days of April. In the last few years, this has been the case. The prep time to file your H1B is between 1 and 7 days, depending on the speed of the lawyer and on the completeness of your paperwork.
  4. Now it is time to WAIT and SEE. If the annual cap is met and it is time for the lottery there are a couple of possible outcomes. As of today April 8 it is official that the cap has been reached. There are different potential outcomes for you:
    1. Your H1B petition does not get selected during the lottery: if that happens it is Game Over and you have to try again next year or use any of the H1B alternatives to work in the US. Nothing you can do about it. When will you know if you did not get selected? See below.
    2. Your H1B Gets selected. If you H1B petition gets selected in the H1B lottery 2018 your lawyer will receive a receipt notice from USCIS confirming the receipt of your H1B petition. If you filed via premium processing (not available in FY2018) your lawyer will receive the receipt notice via email within just a few weeks after filing the petition. Because Premium Processing filers receive their receipt via email they know first if their petitions were selected and approved. Now that your H1B was selected in the H1B Lottery, it will be processed for approval, here are possible outcomes:
      1. Approved: All looks good, you get an approved H1B petition and you can go for stamping or you status is changed (if you are already in the US). Processing takes a maximum of 15 calendar days for premium processing and several months for regular processing (average is 3 months)
      2. RFE: If USCIS needs more information they will issue an RFE. This happens if there is something suspicious or odd about your application.  Once you receive a request for evidence (RFE), your lawyer has typically 30 days to respond. If the documentation sent by your lawyer is sufficient, your petition will get approved. Otherwise it might get denied. See the Most common reasons for an RFE to estimate your chances of reaching this stage. After submitting your response it will typically take another few months to get a definite answer from USCIS.
      3. NOID: This is the “Notice of Intention to Deny”. It is basically a stronger version of RFE and requires more attention from your lawyers. See the Most common reasons for an NOID during H1B for more information.
  5. If your H1B petition was approved, you will be able to start working on your H1B starting on October 1, 2017 (FY2018). You can enter the US 10 years prior to that. If you are already in the US, your lawyer likely filed for a Change of Status, which will be effective on October 1 2017. In this case your status will change automatically on October 1st to H1B. So if you were on F1 before, you will be on H1B starting October 1.

How many applications received in H1B Lottery 2018?

As you know USCIS opens the application window on the first business day of April and accepts applications for the first five business days. If, during that time, the number of applications exceeds the annually allocated 85,000 visa slots, USCIS will stop accepting applications. What follows, is the infamous H1B Lottery, in which USCIS randomly selects 85,000 lucky winners from a pool of applicants. This has been the case for the past four years and the chances of winning were hovering between 30-60% depending on the category you were in: Advanced Degree (AD) or Regular Cap. Roughly a quarter of the H1B quota is reserved for US advanced degree holders, i.e. if you graduated from a US university with at least a Master’s degree you will be part of that quota.

Almost a quarter of the entire H1B quota is reserved for Advanced Degree holders from US universities

H1B Visa Allocation
H1B Visa Allocation for Regular Processing and Advanced Degree

It is highly likely that this year will also be a lottery. Nobody knows yet how many applications were received but I wouldn’t be surprised if we exceed once again 200K applications. I will keep this page updated with the latest numbers we receive from UCCIS. Make sure to subscribe to get notifications in your inbox.

 

How many applied for their H1B Visa this year?

Here is at the number of H1B petitions filed from 2013 – 2017.

Number of H1B applicants

As you can see, the year 2013 was the last year in which there was no H1B Lottery. Starting 2014, USCIS received more H1B petitions than allowed per annual H1B Cap. In 2015, USCIS crossed the 200k H1B applications mark. This year, we do not know the exact number yet, but it is reasonable to assume that it will be higher than 200,000 H1B petitions in 2018. We’ll update the blog as we learn more.

What is my chance of winning the H1B Lottery 2018?

Before we know the actual number of applications we cannot tell you the exact chances of winning the lottery but we can take a look at previous year to give an idea. Your chances of winning the lottery depend on the number of H1B applications you have filed and the category that you are in (Advanced Degree Cap or Regular Cap). If you are under the advanced degree cap your chances of winning are almost twice as high as under the regular cap. Take a look at this chart below:

Chances of Winning the H1b Lottery

Chances of winning the H1B Lottery 2018

Winning the H1B 2018 Lottery depend if you filed under regular cap or advanced degree cap.

Since 2013 had no H1B Lottery, the chances of winning the lottery was 100%. Note that this does not equal your chances of getting the H1B approved. Approval is independent of winning the lottery. Getting selected in the H1B lottery is a prerequisite for being even considered for approval. Even if you get selected your H1B can get denied.

In 2014 your chances were 43% under regular cap and 71% under the advanced degree cap. In 2015 your chances of winning the H1B Lottery dropped to 31% for regular cap and down to almost 50/50 for advanced degree cap. Last year, in 2016, your chances remain stable at 30% for regular cap and 55% for advanced degree cap.

In the next few days we will know the chances of getting selected in the H1B Lottery 2018 (which takes place this year, in 2017).

When will I know the H1B Lottery 2018 Results?

All H1B Petitions that are accepted during the lottery will receive a receipt notice and all rejected H1B petitions will receive their paperwork back, together with a rejection notice. The question is, when? This depends on the use case. Let’s start by taking a look how the H1B petition process is prioritized:

  1. Process Advanced Degree (AD), Premium Processing first: Given that premium processing petition are under a strict SLA they get prioritized first. Lawyers usually get notified starting the Monday of the next week after the H1B Petition window has opened. This year, there is no premium processing, however, so you can ignore this category.
    1. If accepted, hear back by end of April.
    2. If rejected hear back between June – October.
  2. Process Regular Degree, Premium processing: After processing advanced degrees, USCIS will move on to process the regular degree premium processing cases (Regular, PP). The same is true as in the case above.
    1. If accepted, hear back by end of April
    2. If rejected hear back between June – October
  3. Advanced Degree & Regular Degree, Regular Processing: Once done with premium processing, USCIS will start processing the regular processing, again prioritizing the advanced degree bucket. Because those petitions were filed under RP, receipt notices are sent via regular mail, which will take time because they have to physically printed, sent, and delivered. Additionally, because there is no SLA like in the PP case, it is really hard to predict when you will hear back. Here are high level estimates based on previous years:
    1. If accepted, hear back by between May – June
    2. If rejected hear back between June – October

Those dates are for when you can expect to receive the physical copy of the receipt notice. To be more correct, your lawyer will receive the receipt notice, not you. There are some proxy ways how you can now if your petition was selected in the Lottery, which I will explain below.

How will I know if my petition was accepted in the H1B Lottery 2108?

As discussed above, the most direct way to figuring out if you got selected in the H1B Lottery 2018 is to receive the receipt notice via email (Premium Processing) or physical mail (Regular processing). However, since this takes quite some time, there are two other ways how you can find out if your H1B petition was selected in the H1B Lottery 2018:

  • Check was cashed: The H1B processing fee is collected via check. If your H1B petition was selected, USCIS will cash in your check, which your lawyer will see in your bank account. Just check in with your lawyer every now and then to figure out if your petition was selected. Alternatively, your employer might have provided the check, check with HR to see if the check was cashed in.
  • SEVIS change of status: If you are on F1 (Student Visa) your immigration status is managed by SEVIS (the same agency that issued your I20). If your H1B petition was selected ad approved, your SEVIS status will change to “H1B Change of status approved, Receipt No. XXXX). You can check in with your DSO (Designated School Official) to check your SEVIS record. You cannot check your SEVIS record yourself and need to reach out to your sponsoring school to get an update on your SEVIS status.
  • Receive an RFE or Approval Notice: Sometimes receipt notices get lost and there have been instances in the past in which people received approval notice or RFEs without ever having received a receipt notice. It is rare, but it does happen – so never give up hope.

 

Those above are alternative ways to figure out if you were selected in the lottery. The best and most reliable one is receiving the H1B receipt notice. The methods are a two edged sword – if the above things happen, then you can conclude that you were picked in the lottery However, if you did not observe those events, you cannot conclude that you were not picked. It is still possible that you were selected in the H1B Lottery 2018 but neither your SEVIS has changed, your check was not cashed, and you have not received the receipt notice yet. Those events are very out of sync and not always very well timed.
If you did get selected, what happens next and what are the odds of getting approved? Let’s look at this next.

What about Premium Processing?

Premium processing is amazing. For an additional $1250 fee, USCIS guarantees an adjudication of your petition within 15 calendar days. That means, that you will know one of the three outcomes described above (Approved, RFE, NOIR)  within two weeks. This is really great to get peace of mind. Unlike the entire H1B fees (including attorney cost) the premium processing fee does not have to be paid by the employer but the employee himself can chose to pay for it. If you are part of premium processing, your lawyer will receive the receipt notice via email
Unfortunately, this year Premium processing has been suspended. For fiscal year 2018 (FY2018) you cannot use any premium processing and all H1B Petitions 2018 will be adjudicated via regular processing, which will likely take several months.

What next?

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2 Comments

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HI,

My case got approve in Dec 2017 but yet to receive approval notice from employer. Is it legible or we should do doubt on this employer as they are not even sharing any screen snap. They shared just receipt number but we are not sure weather this receipt number is for me or someone else as they didn’t share any other document when my name has been mentioned.

Kindly suggest.

Sejal

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