Now that all unselected H1B petitions along with their filing fees have been returned, many are disappointed in not being selected in the random lottery. USCIS received 201,011 applications to fulfill a total cap of only 85,000 visas: 65,000 for the general category and 20,000 for the advanced degree category. This included the added 16% edge given to petitioners holding an advanced degree by allowing them a chance in the lottery of 85,000 and then again within the 20,000 advanced degree category.
If you are one of the many whose petition was not selected in the H1B lottery, and you are unsure of what to do next, there are a few options available to you if you want to extend your stay in the US.
File for OPT Extension
F-1 students with degrees included on the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) Designated Degree Program List can apply for an Optional Practical Training (OPT) Extension, a one-time 17-month STEM extension that grants students an Employment Authorization Document (EAD card). F-1 students who were not selected in the H1B lottery process can apply for an OPT Extension and apply for their H1B the next year.
Enroll in Another Degree Program
Students on an OPT Extension whose H1B petitions were denied may consider earning another degree, such as a PhD, to extend their status.
Apply for L1 Visa
You may be eligible for an L1 visa if you and your employer meet certain eligibility requirements. Global companies with offices abroad can submit a petition for an L1 visa for certain employees to be transferred to their US offices. L1 employees can stay in the US as long as their visa is valid, in some cases up to 7 years with extension.
Apply for H4 visa
If you are married and your spouse has valid H1B status as the primary beneficiary, you can convert your F1 or J1 status to H4 visa status. Current H4 visa holders who were not selected for H1B can apply for an EAD card if their I-140 has gone through the approval phase, which allows you to work in the US with H4 visa status.
With any option you pursue, you should contact your immigration attorney for specific details regarding your individual case.
You can discuss your situation and stay up-to-date on the latest immigration news on immigration tracker Trackitt.