H1B Visa 2019 Lottery Date Season Start and Predictions

Many of you who have not been lucky in 2017 with the work visa lottery in US for FY H1B Visa 2018 may be thinking about the next year season already…Some of you may be thinking of applying for next fiscal year to work in US. Below are some of the common FAQs that are tied to H1B work visa for fiscal year 2019.  This article will be updated with latest info as we get more info.

Beginner - First Time H1B ?

If you are going through the H1B process first time, it is good to learn some basics like cap, quota, LCA, etc. Click adjacent button

If this is your first time filing H1B, please read H1B Visa Basics – FAQs like Requirements, Quota, LCA, etc.

What is the H1B Visa 2019 season start date ?
Usually USCIS starts accepting applications for the next fiscal year exactly 6 months before the start of the next fiscal year. USCIS fiscal year for 2019 starts from 1st October 2018, which means they should accept applications for FY 2019 from April 1st, 2018. As April 1st is a Sunday, USCIS should accept applications for H1B 2019 season from April 2nd, 2019.

What is H1B visa 2019 Quota for Regular and Masters filings ?
As of the date of writing of article, the H1B quota is as below. This is also called the H1B Visa Cap. You can read more at What is H1B Cap ? Regular vs Masters quota ?

  • H1B Regular Quota : 65,000 visas
  • H1B Master’s Quota : 20,000 visas. ( only US Masters eligible)

Also, of the overall 85,000 visa cap, every year 6,800 visas are set aside for the citizens of Singapore and Chile as part of the Free Trade Agreement with them. There were few bills part of Comprehensive Immigration Reform that are not active in Senate that were proposed from Obama administration days to change the cap count to 110,000 and Masters to 25,000, including potential to make H1B cap extend up to 180,000. But nothing has moved and all are dormant. Nothing new has been proposed by the new Trump Administration regarding changing cap count. To get a glimpse of historical cap count changes, you may check H1B visa cap count history from 1990 to 2017

Will we have Lottery for H1B FY 2019 Quota ? Lottery Predictions ?
Looking at the historical trend of H1B filings, cap reach dates, it is quite possible that we would have lottery for FY 2019 quota.  We will write a detail analysis on the H1B lottery predictions closer to the filing date. In the meantime, you can check out previous year’s H1B Visa 2018 Lottery Predictions 

When is H1B Visa 2019 Lottery Date ? 
There are two things, one is when the H1B petitions are accepted for the lottery and second is when the actual lottery is done. H1B visa petitions for next fiscal year would be accepted by USCIS from April 2nd, 2018 for 5 working days until April 6th, 2018 to be part of the lottery. Now, the actual lottery date depends on various factors depending the volume of petitions and USCIS load. It can be anywhere in second week of April. For FY 2018, the actual H1B Lottery was done on April 11th, 2017 . We can expect anywhere around the same date like April 11th or April 13th.

What’s the latest news on H1B Visa 2019 ?
So far nothing specific related to next fiscal year is released by USCIS. There are many speculations floating around based on the proposals and bills in senate and house by Trump administration. We just have to wait and see what happens. We will track all the news and update here for everyone’s update.

You can bookmark this page and check this page for updates on H1B FY 2019 season.
Do you have any questions on next H1B 2019 season ?

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Comments ( 21 )

    1. Ram

      The FY2019 H1B visa application is accepted by USCIS from April 1, 2018. Hence employers start the process of collecting the required documents and process by Feburary or March 2018. The fees of visa is completely taken care by employer and cost split up is as:
      H1B Fee Component Fee in USD
      Base filing fee $460
      AICWA Fee $750 or $1,500
      Fraud prevent & detection fee $500
      Fee based on Public Law 114-113 ( if applicable) $4000
      Premium processing fee (Optional) $1,225
      Immigration Attorney Fee Varies from $500 to $3000

      The fees might vary from time to time. Please look for the updated details in USCIS website.

  1. Tired

    Hello Ram,

    Thanks for all this info. I currently work on a L1 visa which is to expire soon (Nov 2018). My company will apply for my H1B in the year 2018 (which is my 4th and last attempt to obtaining a H1B visa). My company has also filed for my GreenCard (EB-2) and I am hoping to get my i140 approved prior to Nov 2018. My spouse is currently on a H1B visa. I have the below quick questions –

    1) In the event I do not get H1B next year, would it be possible for me to continue working in the US with my visa status as H4 and with my i140 approved?
    2) If the answer to the above is a No, is there any way I could obtain my H4 EAD without a gap in my employment? i.e. L1B to H4 EAD?
    3) Do you think its too late for any legislation to be passed regarding the H1B lottery?

    1. Ram

      1. Only if your spouse has an I140 approved, then you can continue working on H4 EAD. Otherwise, when you are on H4, it is not possible to work.
      I am not sure which country you belong to if your priority date is current why not apply for I-485 with I-140 or if on L1A why not GC in EB1?
      2. If your spouse has I140 approved, then yes you can apply for COS (L1 to H4)now and apply H4 EAD simultaneously.
      3. Well we cant be sure. It is something USCIS is working on. They may or may not roll out the new process by next year.

    2. Ram

      If your I140 is approved and priority date is not current, you get automatic extensions till your Greencard priority date is current. Wont that work for you?

  2. DPat

    When did the lottery system start for H1B applications? What if next year lottery system is abandoned? In this scenario, how will they choose applicants and approve H1B on what basis?

    1. Ram

      The lottery process started a couple of years back when more than 85,000 applications were received by USCIS for a fiscal year. USCIS is still pondering of ways to have an alternative effective selection process and if they are changing they will issue the new process clearly. The new process can be established only after a bill is successfully passed in both the houses and then approved by President. As of today(11/13/2017) there is no change in the existing lottery system. There are speculations that it can become merit based selection process. Let’s wait and see.

  3. Lucas

    Hi, I am currently on OPT, working at a logistics company in the operations and customer service department. My OPT ends on 5/7/18, so my employer will be sponsoring me for H1B visa.
    1) When can I start applying for H1B? When is the deadline?
    2) My major is Hospitality Management. Will my application get denied if I am working in a different field even if my job task is somewhat related to hospitality service?
    3) If selected through lottery and H1B is granted, can I continue working prior to October? Or do I have to take a break between when my OPT ends on 5/7/18 and H1B start date?

    1. Ram

      1. Your employer has to apply for H1B. He would send the application by April 1,2018. He would start preparing it probably by March. The deadline varies depending on the number of application received. So better to send it by April 1st.
      2. If you can prove that the job is a specialty occupation and you are qualified enough to do it, then you would get the visa.
      3. When you file H1B in Change of Status(from F1 to H1B) if selected in lottery, you are provided a cap gap, in which you can continue to work till September 30th. If your H1B is approved by Sep 30th then you will continue working on H1B. If the H1B is still pending then you will have to stop working by Sep 30th but you can legally stay inside USA until your case is adjudicated.
      Please do talk to your Employer/Attorney on this.

  4. Lefteris

    Hi,
    I am a high school teacher and I have a job offer from a greek school in New York for the October 2018.can you please explain to me the procedure because I am confused about the dates,the immigrant lawyers,the lottery.
    Thank you in advance.

    1. Ram

      Applications for H1B visa for FY2019(calender year 2018) would be accepted from April 1, 2018. Your employer has to submit the visa application to USCIS by April 1, 2018. USCIS would accept the applications till it reaches certain number. Once received, it would check the number of applications. If its going to be more than congress mandated 65,000(regular) + 20,000(reserved for master graduates from US universities) then all application are subjected to computer based random selection process. The applications that are picked through this process are considered selected for H1B visa and rest all are sent back to the employers. So once the application gets selected through this random process popularly known as lottery process the selected ones are scrutinized/processed by visa offer. After the scrutiny the result is provided to the employer/petitioner. If the application is approved, visa is granted and the employee can start working from October 1, 2018. During this scrutiny if the officer has further questions they would issue RFE(request for further evidence) which needs to be responded by the employer. Once responded the further processing continues.
      So now how long is this process going to take? There is no definite timeline for regular processing cases. Its at USCIS discretion. If you wish to have faster response, you can expedite the case by paying extra amount. This is called premium processing of case and you get result within 15 calendar days. Sometimes USCIS suspends this feature periodically on an ad hoc basis depending on their work burden. So before opting for it, check whether its available.
      Hope I have provided all the details you are looking for. If you have any more questions, please feel free to post here.

      1. Ram

        Your employer is called petitioner and you are the beneficiary of the H1B visa. Your employer can employ an immigration attorney to help them file for H1B visa and in case they receive RFE, Attorneys can help them better to answer these RFE. It is up to the employer to employ an attorney or not.
        By any chance is your employer a non profit organization?

  5. Gail

    This time last year I got a Labor Condition Application certified, which said it is good for a period of 2 years, from 1/1/17 to 12/31/19. I applied for an H1B, with the LCA as part of the package, but was rejected through the lottery. Do I have to re-apply for the LCA before submitting an H1B application for FY 2019, or can I use the same LCA?

    1. Ram

      If you apply with same LCA, then by the time the H1B approves say it gets approved by October 2018 then since your LCA is valid till Dec 2019, your H1B visa will be approved only for an year i.e till Dec 2019. Another point is if the same project mentioned in LCA has ended unexpectedly then you may not be able to use it. So its recommended to use a new one.

    1. Ram

      After lottery (if exists)in April 2018, the results of whether the petition has been picked or not starts coming by April last week through June second week(timelines roughly quoted here based on this year’s progress). The Approval of petitions take longer time.

  6. mj

    So, even have a job offer is not sure that we can get a visa? I received a job offer to work as a software engineer. If I’m not wrong I can be there only in 2019? Pls help me understand.

    1. Ram

      Yes job offer doesn’t guarantee you the visa. If there is going to be lottery, then one needs to be lucky to get picked and then go through the verification process for approval. After approval, the applicant(Applying in April 2019) can travel to US on or after October 1, 2019.

  7. Architect

    Hi ,
    I am an architect graduated from India and did my masters in florence, italy.
    my fiance is a H1B visa holder and soon after my wedding in march’18 i will be coming to the US as a dependent having H4 visa by ” April 2018 ” . I am aware about the H4 visa holders complications to work in the Usa.

    question :

    Should i try applying for a job to architecture Mncs that are ready to sponsor H1b for the FY2019 from now ? or wait till i come to the US as a H4 visa holder and then apply for job to companies that are ready to sponsor H1b for the FY2020 so its easy for interviews since i will be in the USA by then.
    Unike IT field its not easy to find an architecture company in India that gives onsite opportunity so i could connect with the company through them .

    all i am doing right now is finding job opportunity for freshers having master degree .
    your suggestions might solve my confusion.

    thankyou

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      You can start applying now so that they sponsor H1B for you for next year quota. You do not have to be there for sponsorship of H1B. If you can find one, great, if not, dont worry about it now…If your spouse gets his green card processed to certain level, you can work on H4 EAD. Read H4 EAD Rule and process

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