H-1B Alternatives: What to Do if Your H-1B Visa is Not Selected in the Lottery

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If your employee did not get selected in the H-1B lottery this time around, there are a variety of other visa options available. Join Attorney Jacqueline Valle and Executive Manager Carmen Lopez for this nine-minute overview of alternate visa categories that your foreign national employee may qualify for.

What is the H-1B Visa?

The H-1B visa allows United States companies to hire foreign workers for highly-specialized occupations. Workers must have a bachelor’s degree or higher in the position’s specific specialty, or its equivalent. Currently, 85,000 H-1B visas are available every fiscal year. The United States Citizenship Immigration Services (USCIS) selects visa beneficiaries using a randomized H-1B cap lottery each year. If a foreign national is not selected in the H-1B cap lottery, they are not eligible to receive an H-1B visa for that fiscal year. However, they may qualify for other visa categories.

Alternate Visa Options

  • H-4 or L-2 dependent visas, for spouses of H-4 and L-1 visa holders: These visas are tired to the spouse’s principal visa and are only valid if the original visa is valid.
  • L-1A visa: Under this visa category, companies can transfer of an employee to a US office from an affiliated foreign one to work in a managerial or executive role.
  • L-1B visa: This visa is designed to transfer an employee with specialized knowledge from an affiliated foreign office to a US office.
  • O-1 visa: Individuals with extraordinary ability may be a good fit for this visa category.
  • J-1 visa: Roles which qualify for the J-1 exchange visitor visa may include professors and research scholars, physicians, trainees, specialists, and teachers.
  • F-1 visa: Individuals who would like to continue their studies may be a good fit for F-1 student visas.

Visa validity periods, extensions, and additional eligibility requirements vary. Watch the video for further details.


To learn more about opportunities to sponsor your employee on another visa, and maintaining their immigration status, please contact your trusted Chugh, LLP immigration professional.

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