What is H1B Visa Lottery Process ? What has USCIS Done that in past ?
With the unofficial H1B news update that the USCIS service centers have received more volumes of petitions than expected, it is most likely that there would be a H1B lottery. I see lot of questions around lottery.
- How would the H1B Visa lottery work ?
- What is the process of lottery ?
- What would USCIS do for FY 2014 ?
- How have USCIS done lottery it in the past ?
Let me take some time to address some of these questions. We have another article that has clarifications on the same : All About H1B Visa Caps and Lottery.
What is H1B Visa Lottery ? Do you have to buy a H1B lottery ticket? Process ?
When you look at the term lottery, it is very misleading for new people. I had seen questions from users asking, “where should I buy H1B Visa 2014 lottery ticket ? I want to get H1B…” Firstly, let me clarify, there is nothing like buying a lottery ticket for H1B visa. You cannot buy any H1B lottery ticket. It is just the terminology that is used. It was officially called as Random Selection by USCIS, but they have also mentioned the term Lottery in this year’s press release, because, it is more colloquial and help users understand the process of Random selection.
How has USCIS done Random Selection or H1B Lottery in the past ? What is the process ?
We had H1B visa lottery in 2008 for the fiscal year 2009 quota. USCIS received approximately about 163,000 petitions for a cap subject number of about 85,000 numbers (65,000 regular quota + 20,000 Masters quota). They tagged each petition with a number and used that to run the random algorithm. The random selection was first run for Masters quota and the petitions that were not selected in masters quota, were put down in the general quota pool and random algorithm was run on the same for general quota cap. All the selected petitions were processed.
How Would H1B Visa 2014 Lottery Process work?
Let me elaborate more on how the lottery would work, if we were to get one for H1B visa 2014 quota.
- Step 1 : First step that USCIS would do as soon as it receives a H1B petition is to label and identify each of the petitions with a unique identifier. This is the number that would be used for random selection algorithm. Once it is labeled, they will group the overall petitions into two sets, one as masters quota and one as regular quota.
- Step 2 : If there are more than 20,000 petitions received for masters quota, they would run a computer generated random selection process, which is called H1B lottery, across all the masters petitions pool to pick the 20,000 petitions that would meet the cap for Masters quota for FY 2014.
- Step 3 : All the H1B petitions filed under master’s quota, that did NOT get selected in the lottery or random selection are placed or combined with all the pool of petitions received regular quota H1B petitions.
- Step 4 : If the total number of petitions in the combined pool are over 65,000 petitions, which is the cap limit, a computer generated random selection process is run on the pool to identify the petitions that will qualify for the regular quota cap limit.
- Step 5 : USCIS will send the list of all selected petitions numbers to the service centers. The USCIS service centers will proceed with next level H1B Visa processing for adjudication of the selected petitions.
- Step 6 : All the petitions that were not selected in random selection process or lottery will be returned to their respective parties either attorneys or the employers directly along with the Fee. If there were duplicate filings for a same employee by an employer, no fee will be returned.
- Step 7 : USCIS will inform all the selected petition holders with their case number for tracking purposes during processing. It will be an EAC number. Read more on the H1B Visa EAC Numbering Info
Does that give you a good understanding on the H1B lottery process ?
Did I miss anything ? Any comments to add ?
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