H-1B visa lottery numbers can be daunting. But it’s best to be up to speed on the important dates, statistics and recent news to make sure your petition has a better chance of success. Here are a few of the H-1B visa season numbers you should know:
As in March 23. It’s the last day to file your Labor Condition Application (LCA) if you hope to have it certified by March 31. The LCA is the step employers need to take before they can file a prospective employee’s H-1B visa petition. Once you file the LCA to the Department of Labor and your LCA is approved, labor conditions and prevailing wage will be set. These conditions become important throughout the term of the H-1B visa since they set the stage for employer compliance.
It’s important not to wait to until the last minute to file your LCA, however. USCIS starts accepting H-1B petitions at the beginning of April, and this past year the H-1B visa cap closed in five business days. Five. That means your LCAs should be approved before cap season begins, and you should have your application essentials squared away (and be ready to file your petition) by the end of March, or you may risk missing the cap altogether.
The total number of H-1B visa petitions accepted into the cap-subject H-1B visa lottery. Of those 85,000 H-1B petitions accepted, 20,000 are reserved for specialty workers with advanced degrees, 58,200 are reserved for all specialty workers and 6,800 are accepted for specialty workers from Chile and Singapore.
This number also coincides with this year’s increase in Requests For Evidence (RFEs). From January 1 to August 31, 2017 USCIS issued 85,000 RFEs for H-1B petitions. The increase in RFEs – up 45 percent from the previous year – is a reflection of the general scrutiny aimed at the H-1B petition since the start of 2017. This shift makes it important to have documentation in place, organized and easily accessible in case an RFE is administered for your H-1B petition.
Of the H-1B visa season numbers, this may be the most crucial. Only 85,000 petitions are accepted each year, and last year USCIS saw roughly 199,000 H-1B visa applications in total. That means 57 percent of petitions were not accepted, making the chances of getting the H-1B visa you apply for more unlikely than likely. It also means it’s critical to have everything organized so your petition makes it to the lottery to have a chance of acceptance.