How to Circumvent the H1B Petition Lottery

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On February 1st of every year the USCIS begins accepting H1B visa petitions. Although they must stay open and continue accepting H1B petitions for at least five days, after the cap of 65,000 visas is exceeded the rest of the petitions are selected by lottery. That means if you don’t get your petition in as soon as you possibly can, the chance that your petition will even see the desk of a USCIS agent dwindles.

How can you avoid the lottery?

One way to circumvent the H1B lottery is to obtain an H1B job that is not subject to the annual cap. Government and non-profit research centers, non-profit sector occupations, and jobs working for colleges, universities, and other institutes of higher education are not subject to the cap.

Another way is to get your visa in as soon as the USCIS begins accepting petitions on February 1st. Every year more and more petitions are being filed due to the exploding information technology industry. Make sure you are ready to file on February 1st with all of the proper documents in their proper order.

One of these documents is an evaluation of your foreign education. If you got your degree outside of the United States it is your responsibility to clearly show what its academic value means in terms of US educational standards. The only way to do this is to get your degree evaluated by a credential evaluation agency with the authority to convert classroom contact hours into US college credit hours. This will bridge any gaps between the academic content of US degree programs and corresponding programs from other countries.

Have everything ready to submit on time to avoid the H1B lottery and boost your chances of having your petition approved. Once you have your H1B visa, renewals, extensions, and transfers are exempt from the cap. You will also have your labor rights protected and your family will be able to join you for your stay in the United States.

This article was written by Rebecca Little

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