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  • Writer's pictureTanya Powers


H-1B Lottery options

The H-1B nonimmigrant visa category allows employers to sponsor foreign nationals performing work in a “specialty occupation.” This typically requires an offer of employment in a job requiring at least a U.S. bachelor’s degree,

or its equivalent, in a specific specialty. There is an annual limit or “cap” on H-1Bs of 65,000, with an additional 20,000 slots awarded to recipients of

a U.S. master’s degree or higher. In order to allocate those H-1B numbers, USCIS holds an H-1B cap-subject “lottery” each year.

In recent years, that lottery has been conducted at the end of April, based on electronic registrations submitted during a filing window in March. Selected registrants have a 90-day deadline to file an H-1B petition, demonstrating that the offered job and the candidate meet all requirements. Then, if insufficient petitions are approved to meet the cap, additional lotteries may be held to meet the cap.


Our company registered one or more candidates who weren’t selected in the lottery. Are there any other options to employ them?

In short – maybe! Here are some alternative nonimmigrant visa categories your company may consider:

Optional Practical Training/Curricular Practical Training

International students who graduate from a U.S. post-secondary institution may be eligible for a 12-month period of Optional Practical Training (OPT) and employment in a field related to their degree. Those who have graduated with a degree in a STEM field may extend the initial period of OPT for an additional 24 months. Students still enrolled in school may qualify for employment authorization through a period of Curricular Practical Training (CPT). Qualifying students should coordinate with their school’s Designated School Official to seek OPT or CPT work authorization.

Work Visas Base on Nationality

Treaty Traders and Treaty Investors

International Entrepreneurs May Have an Option for "Parole" into the United States

Visas for Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement

Visas for Trainees

Jump Straight to Green Card Sponsorship

If you believe that one or more of the options outlined above would work for your company and candidate(s), we encourage you to contact our office at Powers Immigration Law at (704) 556-1156.



©2021 American Immigration Lawyers Association

AILA is the national bar association of immigration lawyers comprised of over 15,000 members located in every state of the United States and worldwide.

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