How to Increase Your Chances of Winning the H-1B Lottery

If you’re an international student, F-1 visa holder, or recent graduate, you may be interested in the H-1B lottery, which offers the opportunity to work in the US for up to six years. However, with only 85,000 people selected out of approximately 500,000 applicants for fiscal year 2024, the odds are not in your favor.

Here’s what you need to know to increase your chances of success:

Between March 1st and March 15th, 2023, an employer can put in a lottery application for you. If your application is selected, you may apply for an H-1B visa. If that visa is approved, the earliest you can start working is October 1st, 2023. But what many schools and employers may not have told you is that you can submit multiple applications! Each company can only submit one application for you, but there is no limit to the number of companies that can enter you in the lottery.

So apply to as many jobs as you can and ask each employer to enter you in the lottery. Not only does this give you more chances of success, but it also allows you to choose which company to work for or transfer your visa later on.

It’s also important to note that the costs of applying for the H-1B lottery aren’t as high as you may think. While your employer will need to pay around $3-6k in legal fees plus $2-5k in government fees if you’re selected, it’s important to remember that these costs are small compared to the overhead costs of hiring - use that to reason with potential employers.

Just looking at the odds, traditionally about 22-35% of H-1B lottery entries get picked. By increasing your lottery entries, you can significantly improve your chances of success. For example, if you have 3 lottery entries, your chance of getting picked jumps from “probably not” to “probably!”

This is your opportunity, so don’t wait - apply for as many lottery entries as possible every year until you get an approved petition and begin working to activate your 6 years of H-1B status.

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