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Not Selected in H1B Visa 2014 lottery – What are my options ? F1 Student, H4 ? International ?

As you know USCIS received about 124,000 petitions for H1B visa 2014 quota and there was lottery.  Some of you, who may be unlucky to be selected in lottery might be wondering what are my options to stay or work in America. There are a few scenarios like below, which are very common. Let me take some time to explain the options

  • I am on F1 Visa and working on OPT. My OPT expires by end of  2013, What are my options ?
  • I am studying on F1 Visa. Will graduate Spring 2013 or Summer 2013 ?  What can I do ?
  • I applied for Change of Status (COS) from H4 to H1B Visa ? What should I do to work ?
  • My company applied for H1B Visa from overseas, What can I do to work in America ?

F1 Visa and Working on OPT, which expires by end of 2013 or earlier – Options ?

Well, if you fall under STEM Degree Category and you have not used up your 17 month extension of OPT, you should go for the OPT extension. Your employer should be USCIS E-Verified to avail this option. This will help you work on OPT and be in status in America. You can apply for H1B Visa 2015 quota, which typically opens up in April 2014.

If you do NOT fall under STEM degree category, unfortunately, you are left with few options to stay in America.

  • You can apply for another degree either MS or MBA, but you will NOT get second OPT for 1 year.  Not sure, if it will add value to your career or pursue your passion, it just makes you stay in America and apply for H1B FY 2015 quota. Alternatively, you can also apply for PhD, which is quite a commitment, where you will get another one year OPT.  You have to remember, PhD can take about 3 to 5 years depending on your university. Pursuing PhD for the sake for status is not the best idea, you need to passionate about research.
  • You can find a public university or research institute that can sponsor your H1B visa. Higher education institutions are not governed by congressional H1B annual cap numbers.
  • You will have to leave the country after your OPT ends. Staying beyond your valid status in America can complicate your immigration history and you can end up in issues in future, if you would like to leave later and re-enter America.

Studying on F1 Visa. Graduating Spring or Summer 2013 – Options for H1B Visa ?

If you do some adjustments to your OPT start and end dates, you can stay in America and be eligible for H1B Visa FY 2015 to work in US.  USCIS provides an option called cap gap, that lets you work in America after your OPT expires and you have filed your H1B visa application for the upcoming fiscal year.  Essentially what it means is that if you file for your H1B visa for FY 2015 on April 1st and your OPT was valid at the time you apply for H1B Visa, you are good to work until the decision of your H1B petition. If your H1B is approved, you are fine to work until October 1st and your H1B status kicks in after October 1st.  You will have to stop working after October 1st, if you are still awaiting decision. Small catch is that your stay will be considered out of status, if your petition is rejected from April 1st until your petitions was adjudicated.  So, the summary is that make sure you can push your OPT start date as late as you can by talking to DSO at your school, so that you can apply for H1B Visa 2015 quota. If you are graduating in Summer 2013, you should be fine to have start OPT in August and you will be fine with cap gap as well.

H4 to H1B visa COS for FY 2014 – Not selected in Lottery. Options to work ?

Unfortunately, there is a very limited option. You would need to find a public university or education/ research institute that can file your H1B visa under cap exempt quota. It can be very hard, but that’s the truth.  You may also enroll in MS degree program, do a COS to F1 visa and avail the option of CPT and OPT, it depends on your passion to study MS.  If you just want to keep yourself engaged and not interested in monetary returns,  you can always do volunteering. One of my friends wife started with Volunteering for research at a University and eventually they filed for her H1B Visa petition.

Company Applied for H1B visa from Overseas – Not selected in Lottery , Options to work in USA ?

If your company is a global and have offices overseas and in America and they process L1 Visa, you may be eligible for L1A or L1B visa after completion of 1 year of work in your company. Again, it depends on the company you work for and their practices to do L1 visas, you would have to talk to them.  This is probably the best option for you to work in America.  If your company is NOT global and have only US presence, then your option is to apply for next  fiscal year 2015.

Marry American Citizen to Stay in America ?

Some may advice to Marry an American to stay in USA, because it is an option. But, it is NOT the right choice. You need to marry someone, if you fall in love with someone, not just because you want to stay in America. That’s wrong way to look at Life. You can always come back to America, if you have the skills and education, marrying someone for staying in America, is wrong thing to do.


Did I miss anything ?  What are the best options ?  Share your thoughts, ideas ?


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  1. i still waiting for my decession of H1 visa. Didn’t receive acceptance or rejection email. Is there any chance ?

  2. Hi….can any one suggest.still there are any chances to pick the lottery or lottery process is completed ? My employer said still there is a chance till June 2015. Is it true or fake ? Please suggest…!!!!!!

  3. If i am in a different country while my H1B is also selected, what would be the next step. Do I need to come back to India by leaving that country (it is an work permit in UK).. or the process could be completed in the US visa consulate in UK. Please reply.. It is urgent

  4. I’m finishing my opt which I got from a degree that is lower than a masters. My question is can I start working under CPT immediately if I start a masters degree?

    • Very few masters program allow that.

      And beware of those that do. It is illegal and if you enroll and get caught your future in US will be destroyed forever

      I didn’t get it either unfortunately and have looked at all options.

      tbh this cpt one is sketch and not worth the risks

      don’t do sth rash in panic

  5. Hi, there.

    I think one information above is not correct. You will get one OPT per program completed. Not one OPT for life. So for those who want to go for graduate school, it is a good idea to do so and get another OPT. I obtained this information from my school OIS and I am 100% that is correct.

    • Hi, sorry I mis-read the info. Yes, no OPT for a second master. But for those going from BS to MS, you will still get an OPT. I am wondering if you get a PhD after a MS, will you get another OPT? Will a PhD be considered a higher degree?

  6. My H1-B visa extension got denied in Feb-2013 and I move back to India but I heard my H1-B is still valid as it’s just my visa extension got denied.

    Is it possible to transfer my H1-B with another employer or I can apply another extension with same employer.

    I was in USA from Nov-2009 to Feb-2013 on L1-B and on H1-B visa from Feb-2012 to Feb-2013. so I just completed 3.4 years in USA.

    Let me know possible options.

  7. hey plz help me on this i have applied for h1b individually as i know some IT Company in usa, I work in india since 5yrs and i could not go through the lottery so can i apply for F1 student visa or does it reflect in there data.if he asks me about this wat do i say the counseler in embassy.Plz Suggest me on this.Thax in advance

  8. Hi,

    My employer filed H-1B petition (Reg/PP) for me earlier in April this year. However, it was unfortunate that my petition was not selected in the lottery (random selection) process.

    I graduated in May 2013, and since then I am working using my OPT. Meanwhile, I was planning to travel to India for short vacation.

    Will the denial of H-1B petition based on lottery have any consequences, upon my return at port of entry in US. Are there any specific documents, (other than I-20, etc) I should bring and other risks I should be aware of?

    Thanks a lot for your support.

  9. Hi,

    I have couple of questions and need your advice.

    I am on H4 visa, the I 94 issued to me at the Port of Entry has admit date until Jan 2014.
    However, the online I 94 it shows admit date as Aug 30 2013. What do I have to do about it?

    My wife has filed for her H1 extension and we did not file my H4 extension as we did not my check i 94 until recently. Do I need to file for my H4 extension now?

    I have an approved H1 (COS from H4 > H1) starting Oct 1st. Does applying for H4 extension impact my H1?

    • You should contact immigration authorities and point out the mistake immediately. Obviously what you have on the paper I-94 will be valid so better ask them to correct it in the online I-94. If that is corrected there should be no need for your H4 extension

  10. Hi,
    I filled my H1B through my employer (cap exempt) and received the receipt somewhere in the last week of April 13. My current OPT expires in a month. I was wondering if still I could apply for OPT extension (I am STEM graduate and if I got a job from e-verified company before I actually receive my H1B)?
    If so what would happen to my ongoing H1B process?

    • Anu,
      If H-1 was applied w/ COS, then you are eligible for cap-gap b/w OPT expiration date and Oct 1. However, you can still apply for OPT extension as back-up. If H-1 gets approved w/ COS, then OPT will come to an end. If H-1 is denied, then you can continue to work on OPT extension. Whatever you do, keep your DSO and attorney in loop.

      • Hi Saurabh,

        XYZ consultancy filed my H1-B regular process. After a lot of follow-up, finally today i got reply from that office, stating that petition not seleceted in lottery, he send me I-797 . In this notice date: May,6 2013. All other details are blank except one field. In that compnay name and C/O Attorney name and address are menitoned. Is there any way to validate this. How to make sure this letter belongs to my case.

        Thanks in advance

        • mhsh1,
          If it didn’t make through the lottery, then they would have issued a rejection letter along w/ the package. I don’t think they issue 797 in such a case, but I may be wrong. Check w/ others who have received their packages back.

  11. Hi, I moved out of my employer after they filed H1. When i checked with them, they mentioned that mine is rejected in the lottery. Is there any way to validate this? Can i directly check with USCIS? Pls help me out.

    • H1B_Rejected,
      Ask them about the rejection reason – was it withdrawn or did it not make through the lottery selection? USCIS will not be provide any information about your selection.

  12. After petitions gets selected in lottery, is there a chance that it will get rejected in later stage?
    I understand that we are yet to get our receipt number and some may enter RFE too, it also might get delayed(4-6months) but ultimatley we will get the visa, am I right?

  13. Just found out today from my HR about the returned package. Masters / Regular Processing …
    I’m already on OPT STEM extension which expires on Dec 2013.
    Any suggestions to stay/work in the US?
    – Green Card doesn’t seem like an option according to my employer
    – They have an office in Canada but they don’t have a position for me there
    – Going back to school and have the company re-apply H1B next year?
    – Travel back home and have the company re-apply H1B next year?
    – Find a cap-exempt job?
    – J1 visa?

    • J1 visa.Yes people are talking about J1 visa.
      Does that work ?
      What are the disadvantages if the lawyer is sure u don’t fall under 2 year home residency ?

  14. Anyone got Receipt numbers after May 16th ? Some where I read that May 15th is last receipts sent for General quota. My employer says wait till May 31st. I am not clear on this. If any one got after May 16th than we can wait. Otherwise I also think that My application not selected in Lottery and wait for return application.

  15. I am finishing L1B in DEc 2013 and did not get H1B receipt yet. What are the options to work for company. I have almost 15 years experience and worked both in India and USA.

    • How long have you been in L1b status? If you havent completed 5 Years on L1B You can try L1B extension, or convert to L1A if you are eligible, you can also file GC.

  16. I am on H4 and i have applied for h1 pp this year but i dnt think i passed. So i am planning to . pursue MS. I have done my bachelors in electronic engineering and its almost 6 yrs i am away from that subjects as i was into software, so is it mandatory to take the course related to the same field or its ok that i can take simple courses and finish my MS within an year?? Please guide me.

  17. Anyone know what will happen if the current employer applies for L1 while waiting for H1b receipt, and then both L1 & H1 gets processed in parallel ?
    Is this possible? And if so, would the employee eventually be able to choose one of them ?

    • This is possible and L1 will override H1. Doesn’t mean H1 is void. If its approved, you can use it anytime within next 6 years period.

    • Last action rules. So what ever is approved Last will be applicable. Change of status or amendment can be done as well.

  18. Today I learned my case got approved. CSC/PP/AD (lawyer’s office took 20 days to notify…)

    Can someone please tell me if there is a way to tell if the application was filed under advanced quota or regular quota? The tracking number they gave to me doesn’t seem to have information about this nor the i797 notice mentions it.

        • Hey.. I’m from cognizant. Any one got receipt? I’m still waiting.. When I call GSD they are asking me to wait for 90 to 120 days.. 🙁

          • Any updates on reciept ?

            90-120 days for reciept.. its like 3-4 months ..I believe we can get the approval by then ?
            Why they take so much time in revealing…

  19. Its April 30th . I haven’t heard anything yet.
    My 17 month OPT will expire in June 16,2013. and also my Visa will expire same date.
    what is the best option if i have to stay in this country?

  20. You can apply for FSWP for Canada. This year the quota will be opening on May 04 and total quota is 55300. Once you get the PR you can go ahead and work in US under TN visa. Even if you miss the FSWP quota you can apply for Quebec immigration.

  21. Just curious how the last option will work? Will they give GreeCard or directly an American Citizenship to me if I marry a US citizen?

    • well – it might be considered a scam since you are about to go back 🙂 you might get blacklisted or even worse fined baddd

    • It is not that simple. They run a background check these days to authenticate the relationship. They go through emails exchanged, call records, text messages etc. If you do pass all of these tests, the green card that you receive is one that will be monitored for 2 years or so (not sure of the duration). If they find a divorce application in that period then the green card is revoked.

  22. I am on F1Visa . My OPT ends in June and I am not eligible for STEM extension. The expiration date on my Visa is 2015. If I do not get through the lottery and go back home, will I have to apply for a new F1 after getting admitted into a PhD or MBA program? Or just getting a new PhD/MBA I-20 will be enough?

    • I would consider to take I20 BEFORE MY opt ENDS and Transfer my SEVIS . if my current DSO inform INS of my compilation of study and don’t transfer SEVIS in time then i believe your current SAVIS will be withdrawal.

      If you go your home nation and wants to come back then i might suggest hold new i20 and transfer SEVIS else your have to go again for new F1 Student visa.

  23. Guys,

    Do you know when is the last date of receiving receipts for AD/ PP.. ??
    still waiting to hear from California service center.. Does anyone know if there are delays from CSC?? because i am hearing a lot from VSC but a very few from CSC for premium petitions.

        • I kept following up with my attorney (Fragomen) but he says he hasn’t received anything yet.

          If I don’t get the receipt by end of today, does that mean my case is rejected??

          • No! You still have Monday and early Tuesday. That means your Attorney can wait for email upto Wednesday. Then by late the week after next, regular processing applications should hear from their attorney. Ours (RP) will be via slow mails only. It can take upto 2-3 weeks to get to you.

          • Thanks for that info.. Thats a bit reliving. Was worried all day and not able to concentrate on work.

          • Dude – i know a lot of people with PP/AD who have not heard back. trust me it cant be that NONE of them will get it – so just chill, even though the process starts at 15 doesnt mean that they have to select you before. on the other hand – in the event the quota had not been filled – whenever they recieve your app – it takes 15 days to get the result. THAT is what prem processing is about. email notification and less time to decide 🙂 faster processing, not prefered pickup

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