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What is the H-1B Visa "Lottery" System?

What is the H-1B Visa "Lottery" System?

The H-1B is a non-immigrant work visa that is issued through U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS). Officially referred to as “random selection,” the H-1B Lottery is used to distribute a limited number of visas each year to gather foreign specialized talent. Examples of which include, but are not limited to scientists, engineers, and computer programmers.

Although it is referred to as a “lottery,” this terminology may be slightly misleading. There is no “ticket” and you cannot buy your way in or improve your chances of being selected with multiple applications. Rather, a U.S. employer must file an I-129 petition through USCIS on behalf of a beneficiary and pay a fee in order to apply to bring them into the United States to work. From the applications, 65,000 are randomly selected. The first 20,000 applications who possess advanced degrees (i.e. equivalent to a U.S. Master’s degree or higher) are exempt from counting against this cap.

The visas are valid for three years, but can be extended to six years. H-1B visas ensure that equal opportunities exist for foreign workers to make contributions to the U.S. workforce.

If you are unsure of your immigration status or have questions about how to obtain an H-1B visa, call the New York immigration lawyers at Musa-Obregon Law PC for more information on how to proceed in a swift and lawful manner.


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