USCIS has started to return H1B packages with rejection notices to employers for the petitions that were not selected in this year’s 2015 H1B lottery. As many of you know, USCIS received a whopping 172,500 petitions this year for H1B Visa 2015 quota and lottery was conducted to select 85,000 petitions. You can check out our H1B Tracker, to see status of this year’s petitions. Depending on your situation, you might be wondering what are my options. Some of you might be Students on F1 Visa, some of you might be spouses on H4 visa, Some of you might be applying from your Home country, Some of you might be in L1 Visa applying. This article will focus on the options to think about, if you were not picked in lottery. F1 Student in USA – OPT ending in 2014 – Second Masters ? PhD ? STEM ?
- If your degree falls under STEM Category, you should talk to your employer, DSO and apply for 17 month OPT extension. The big catch for this is that your employer has to be e-Verified. Most of the good employers are e-Verified, if not you will not be eligible for this offer. This buys you another 17 month time and you can apply for H1B Visa 2016 quota.
- You can consider applying to jobs in research institutes, Universities, Community colleges, and non-profit organizations…As these institutions do NOT fall under annual H1B Cap, it is a great option. This can be a little bit of work, but you will still be able to work in USA, if you find one.
- You may consider PhD or Second Masters to keep yourself in status. But, personally, I believe that studying another degree for maintaining your status in America is not the right thing to do. Your higher education should be driven by passion. There are many people who do this…but, take a moment and think about it. Also, you will NOT get OPT for second masters degree as it is of same level. You only need to do PhD…doing PhD without passion for research is going to make your life miserable and not the right thing to do ! Besides all these, there is no guarantee that next year you will get lottery.
If none of the above options work out for you, you should leave USA as soon as your OPT ends. Staying in the country beyond your valid status will complicate your immigration history and is illegal.
H4 Visa Holders – Not Picked in Lottery – My Options ?
If you are a H4 Visa holder, your options are pretty similar to above.
- If you do NOT have Masters, you may consider doing MS or MBA, that will allow you to get option to work for at least one year. Also, you will be eligible for 20,000 masters quota. Again, I believe that pursuing higher education without passion, just for the sake of degree or status is not the right thing to do.
- As mentioned above, you should consider looking for jobs at Research Institutes, Non-profit organizations, Universities, Community colleges, etc. that do NOT have a cap limit. One of my good friends wife worked at a lab as volunteer and then eventually they filed for her H1B visa. It can be work, but you can find it !
- Hopefully the EAD for H4 Visa Holders proposed rule passes and some of you get eligibility to work in the US. The good thing is that you are not like F1 visa holders and you do not have to leave the country. It may not be the outcome you wanted, but at least gives you an option to stay in the country.
L1 Visa Holders – Options – Not picked in Lottery
The options for L1 Visa holders are not really worth it like applying for a job at Non-profit or getting higher education in US, the reason is that you already have a job, but you wanted the flexibility to work on H1B Visa, so that you can move around and be a bit more independent…But, you can choose to do them. The good part is that you do not have to leave the country and your spouse can work on L2 visa. If your employer is able to hold you on L1 for some more time, you can apply for next year quota…
Applied from Other Country for H1B Visa- Not Selected – My Options to work in USA ?
Well, if your current company has global presence with office in USA, you can talk to your manager and see, if there are options to relocate and work on L1 Visa. Alternatively, you can move to a multi-national company with offices in USA, so that you have two options for next year, which is H1B and L1 Visa.
How about Marrying an American Citizen to get Green Card ? Is that an option.
Some may say Marrying an American Citizen is an option, but it is NOT the right thing to do. Marrying someone should be driven by love and NOT immigration benefit. There are people who do fraud and pay money to get married and get green card, do NOT fall into that trap. It is a criminal offense and you will be deported !
Are there any other options ? Did I miss anything ? Your thoughts ?