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H1B 2019 Season Starts Today – What to Expect ? Lottery Date, Results – FAQs

Today is one of the most awaited days, when USCIS accepts H1B 2019 Petitions, for many internationals students and professionals aspiring to work in US…In the past, when there was less demand for H1Bs, there was less significance to first 5 working days in April…but, since 2013, for H1B applicants, the first 5 days are literally kind of buying lottery tickets to work in US, as there is no guarantee to be picked with demand at least twice or more than the H1B visa cap of 85,000. Let’s look at what you can expect ahead for FY 2019 H1B season and history of Trump Administration’s H1B changes in the last 12 months.

Newbie to H1B Process  ? Not sure about terms like LCA, Cap, Requirements, fee ?
If you are really new to H1B visa process, it can be overwhelming for you to understand the jargon and the process. I recommend you to read H1B Visa Basics – requirements, cap, Fee, RFE – FAQs

H1B Visa 2019 Lottery Predictions for FY 2019 ?
This is subject to debate, but we expect that there will be more petitions filed for FY 2019 than the required cap of 85,000 petitions. We have written a detail article on H1B 2019 Lottery Predictions – History, Analysis covering the same.

What to expect for H1B FY 2019 Season ?
Most of the H1B season’s outcomes depend on the number of petitions filed for 2019 fiscal year. Below are some common outcomes that you may expect for some common questions…

  • How long are H1B applications Accepted for FY 2019 : In general, H1B petitions are accepted by USCIS for next fiscal year as long as they receive enough petitions to fulfil the yearly quota H1B cap of 85,000 petitions. For FY 2019 context, as we are expecting more petitions to be filed than quota cap of 85,000 and expect a lottery situation. H1B petitions will be accepted for 5 business days as per regulation, when there is a scenario of lottery and high demand. You can read USCIS Regulation for H1B Lottery . Now, for FY 2019, it will translate to H1B petitions accepted from April 2nd to April 7t,   You can check out history of H1B Cap reach dates from 1999 to 2017.
  • When does USCIS conduct H1B Lottery for FY 2019 : As I said earlier, this totally depends on the number of petitions filed with USCIS and their staff availability to handle the load. In the past, they had Premium Processing pressure, but now they do not have it as it is suspended till September 10th, 2018. In the past, lottery was conducted around 5 days to one week after the H1B acceptance date ended.
    • For FY 2018, it was done on April 11th, 2017
    • For FY 2017, it was done on April 12th, 2016
    • For FY 20167, it was done on April 13th, 2015.

If we go by the above, we can expect it to be around the same dates around April 11th or 13th, 2018.

  • When will I know H1B 2019 Lottery Results : This is probably the most unknown thing for everyone as there is no set SLA for USCIS to give out lottery results as there is no premium processing. Until your employer(H1B petitioner) receives a H1B case number receipt notice, indicating you got picked in lottery or H1B visa rejection notice indicating that you were not picked in lottery, you cannot know your Lottery results.  Usually USCIS gives out a news alert on their site telling that they have returned all the rejected H1B petitions.
    • For FY 2018, USCIS updated on July 19th that they have returned all petitions and gave guidance to contact USCIS, if they do not receive anything by July 31st.
    • For FY 2017, it was July 8th
    • For FY 2016, it was July 14th.

If we use the above dates as reference, you can expect the final H1B Lottery results to be out to everyone by end of July, 2018. It is going to be a very long waiting game folks, be ready !

  • How do I know, if my H1B petition was filed by my Employer : As H1B process is fully driven by your employer, there needs to be trust between both parties for transparency of the process and information. But, at times, some employers, especially IT body shop companies, try to withhold this information on the petition and give false information. One of the ways you as an employee can ask your employer to know if your petition was filed by your employer is by asking for the below information.
    • Copy of LCA that was used for filing H1B your petition
    • Copy of Fedex or UPS or mail related tracking information for H1B petition
    • Copy of the receipt notice, once they receive it ( they will only receive this after lottery process )
    • Copy of reject notice from USCIS, if your employer says your application did not make it in lottery
    • Copy of the application package info that was sent to USCIS.

To be clear, employers do NOT have any legal commitment to share you the details of the H1B petition with you as it was filed by them with their expenses seeking your work permit.  It is usually very normal for most of the genuine employers to share all or some of the above information to make sure the employee is fully informed on the process and status.

  • Whom to contact for H1B petition information during the process : Your employer or their appointed immigration attorney is your sole point of contact for all sort of updates on your petition. You cannot just randomly call USCIS and ask for your petition info, they will not share the info. Your employer will receive all the info about your case. Once your employer shares your H1B case number, then you can track the status on USCIS website

Crowdsourced H1B Petition Tracker for FY 2019  – Insights.
As premium processing is suspended for FY 2019,  there is no way to know status of others and compare yours vs everyone to get overall idea. We have built H1B tracker to help applicants crowdsource information anonymously and get insights. If your employer has filed H1B petition on your behalf, please add your case anonymously and update the status as you have more information. This will help you and the community, use below link to register and add your case.
[prompt type=”left” title=”Track your H1B Case” message=” Anonymously Track your H1B Case – Share and Get updated from Community.” button_text=”H1B 2019 Case Tracker” href=”https://redbus2us.com/trackers/h1b-visa-tracker/”]

H1B 2019 News Updates : We have also created an exclusive page to track quick summary of the updates for FY 2019 season, you can check it out at : H1B visa 2019 Cap Count updates, News

 Where is the H1B 2019 Discussion happening  ?  H1B 2019 FAQs ?
We have put together an article with common FAQs for H1B Visa 2019 Season. Also, it in in this article’s comment section, where most of the users keep sharing their comments and ask questions and drive good and bad discussions… You can of course use our QA Forum Section, but users share all sorts of updates, ask questions, answer others here in comments.

Did I miss anything ? Anything to add ? Your thoughts ?


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    • Very likely by April 17th. Lottery is done anywhere around April 11th or 13th, but USCIS may or may not release those numbers…so, it can be anywhere before April 17th as per historical trend…

    • No, it can only be delivered on April 2nd or after. You cannot file for Cap Subject petitions before April 2nd. It will not be considered

      • Kumar, even mine is the same reason, in the FedEx – it is there that, delivered on 30th March.

        When i approached my employer, he told me that the FedEx guys would take care of it and my petition would be considered for 2019.

        Please let me know your response on this

  1. Hey redbus2us folks

    Last year on the same website for the similar articles in the same time frame I have observed hundreds and thousands of comments. But this year I could barely see 16-20!!! That’s really surprising to me.

    Can anyone from redbus2us admin team explain why the traffic is very less this year on your website?

    • The traffic is more or less same with slight decrease, just interest on H1B and applicants seem to be less this year…

    • Here is my theory. There are two groups that are in trouble this year. MS graduates paying the Telugu consultancies for filiing H1B. And our great Indian outsourcing gang.

      MS graduates with level one wage paid by Telugu consultancies will have a tough time proving specialty occupation. Also getting a client letter to prove that the graduate fresh out of college is doing specialty work at their premises is a tall order.

      Similarly our great Indian outsourcing gang now has to provide client letter for every single application from their clients. Also detailed itineraries for applicants working for multiple clients (double billing!). Again these guys mostly pay level 1 wage. Most of them employ support personnel as specialty occupation. This will get rejected outright.

      So both these groups are quiet this time.

      On another note… In the good ole days…

      You will find this hard to believe but there are pre sales and post sales people employed by TCS, HCL, Wipro who are here on H1B!!! And by pre sales they mean the group that bribes CTOs, VPs at the client site and post sales group makes sure these bribed executives are kept happy.

      Outsourcing does not save money for any company. The only reason it is done because the outsourcing company bribes the executives at the client company.

      Sorry for digressing.

  2. I am currently on Stem OPT which expires on June 20th 2018. I have a Full time Job No employers no vendors i work for direct client and this year they applied h1b. If My OPt expires on June 20th lets say selected in Lottery what are the options i have here to stay.
    MS in CS

    • Once your H1-B petition is receipted (i.e. it’s confirmed that you have been selected in the lottery), contact your DSO and request a cap-gap extension. The extension will let you work between when your OPT ends and the H1B begins (June 20th-Oct 1st).
      If you do not have the H1-B by Oct 1st (e.g. delays due to RFE etc), you must stop working until you receive the status.
      If you are eligible for STEM OPT, apply for it. If you are not selected in H1-B lottery you will be able to stay on STEM OPT and reapply next year.

  3. Guys…

    Hold on tight for couple of weeks. We may never know what all developments happening internally.

    Looks like this time there would be less applications compare to last few year as they have imposed restriction on multiple applications for a single employee.

    So at a whole there would be less than 85k would come in lottery, and also out of which more than 50% rejections would happen.


  4. Thanks for giving valuable information and updates regarding H1B visa selection.Kindly clarify the following:
    1. Many people think that the selection of applicants for H1B visa this year will be merit based (qualification, experience and clean background) and the lottery system may be discontinued. Is this a fact?
    2. Will the USCIS give preference to Indian applicants who have studied and qualified in American universities and pre- pare a separate list of such applicants?

    • 1. No, this is not fact. It is just assumption based on some bills and speculations.
      2. No, there is no country preference for anyone.

  5. Hi ,
    Currently I am out of USA and I finished my 5 years in L1 in USA and I know with L1 +H1 I can stay 6 years in total . Since I was not picked in last H1 lottery and I already finished my 5 yrs in L1 I left the country . If any contractor apply H1 this year and if I finish one year reset time at December 2018 , will I be eligible to have 3 or 6 years H1 visa . But LCA will be filed for One year only then how can I get 3 or 6 years visa after my reset time .

    • When did u leave USA? You have to apply after one year of stay outside USA to get all the 6 years. Depending on when you left and when you are applying, the answer to your question varies.

    • San,
      Yes, the parameters are nothing new, they are primarily around duplicate filings, third party worksite contracts, employer employee relationship, level 1 wage issues, etc. Everything varies by case, we will publish an article on the history of these regulations in last one year to give everyone a perspective.

      • Thanks Kumar.
        Currently I am working in company X and company Y is applying for H1B for me. And I am assuming once everything goes well they will depute me to work on their client location. Is it normal or is it violation of law? Does it follow under third party worksite


        • San, It is normal, not violation of law, if all the process steps are followed. Yes, it falls under third party worksite, if you are going to be working at client location.

  6. Hey Kumar,

    Does USCIS selects 15000 more applications (apart from 85000) for potential denial and other reasons? I heard last year there were so many rejections. What do they do if the 85000 quota was not fulfilled last year because of those denials?

    Good luck to all genuine candidates!


    • Vicks,
      Yes, they do select more petitions besides 85,000 for denials and others. Well, there is no clear guidance, if they will select more. In fact, this 15,000 was also never released in the past publicly on their website. It was shared as part of FOIA Request that they accepts an extra 5000 for Masters and 10,000 for Regular quota cap.

      • I personally feel the current administration will not select extra 15k (or whatever number) this time, the fact is they are finding all minor/major reasons to reduce the number of H1 approvals.

        This is personal assumption & there is no source for this thought.


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