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H-1B Lottery 2015: Process, Results & Dates

UPDATE: H-1B Cap Season for FY 2014-15 is over! Check out “The Complete Guide on H1B Visa 2017-18 News, Quota, Lottery Predictions

USCIS announced  that a computer-generated lottery was conducted on April 10, 2014 to select cap subject petitions for H-1B visa  cap season 2014-2015. It’s important to note that USCIS received about 172,500 H-1B petitions, more than twice the number of H-1B visas available under regular cap of 65,000. The 2015 H-1B cap season was open for 5 business days starting April 1, 2014.

USCIS also received more than 20,000 petitions from those eligible for advanced degree exemption. Advanced degree exemption is available to those holding US Masters degree in qualifying fields. USCIS will reject any H-1B petitions filed under regular cap or advanced degree exemption cap after April 7, 2014.

Overview of the H-1B Cap lottery process:

  1. The first lottery was conducted to select 20,000 advanced degree exempt petitions from those eligible to file under advanced degree exemption.
  2. Those advanced degree exempt petitions NOT selected by the first lottery (read # 1 above) were included in the pool of regular cap lottery candidates.
  3. A second lottery was conducted from this combined pool of petitioners to select 65,000 petitions towards the regular H-1B quota for 2014-15.
  4. ALL petitions received between April 1, 2014 and April 7, 2014 were included in the lottery and had equal chances of selection. It means that the petitions received on April 1 had the SAME chances of selection in the lottery as those received on April 7.
  5. USCIS will continue to accept any cap-exempt petitions including those filed to:
    1. Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker is allowed to live and work in the US (H-1B Visa Extension)
    2. Change the terms of employment (location, job duties etc.) for current H-1B employees;
    3. Change employers for H-1B workers (H-1B Visa Transfer)
    4. Allow H-1B holders to work concurrently in a second job.
    5. Non-profit organizations, universities, educational and research institutes etc.

H-1B Lottery Results and Dates

In general, petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap will not be counted towards the Fiscal Year 2015 H-1B Visa Cap. Also, USCIS will begin premium processing for H-1B cap cases no later than April 28.

However, petitioners approved under premium processing must wait until October 1, 2014 to start working for the US employer. Petitioners can expect results of the lottery in the next coming weeks. Last year the receipts started arriving between the dates – April 15 and May 15 and our readers can expect the same this year.

One way of determining if your H-1B petition has been selected in the lottery is by looking up the bank account to see if the check for the H-1B filing fee has been cashed by USCIS. If yes, please make a note of the date the check was cashed. Once the check is cashed, USCIS will send out a receipt for the filing fee.

If an H-1B petition is not selected in the lottery, USCIS will return the entire petition with the filing  fee to the Petitioner. The results of the lottery are eagerly awaited by all Petitioners and Beneficiaries and we will continue to advise our readers of the latest developments relating to the H-1B lottery.

Our immigration lawyers expect to start getting receipt numbers for petitioners who chose to file H-1B Premium Processing later this week or next week. We’ll continue to share the latest news related to H-1B cap season 2014-2015 with our readers.

H-1B Lottery 2015: Chances of Selection

Given that the USCIS did not disclose the exact number of advanced degree exempt petitions (Masters Cap), it’s impossible to calculate the exact chances (Percentage) of selection. They also did not reveal this number for H-1B cap season 2014. However, based on the official USCIS numbers, we can calculate approximate chances of lottery selection.

  • A regular cap subject candidates will have about 42.5% chances of selection. This is based on 65,000 petitions selected from 152,500 filed, as we know that 20,000 petitions had already been selected toward the Masters cap before the second lottery was conducted.
  • An advanced degree exempt petition will have higher chances of selection than a regular cap petition because it will be included in both lotteries.

Please note that the actual chances will be lower because up to 6,800 visas are set aside for Chile and Singapore nationals under free trade agreements.