H1B Visa 2018 Cap is Reached. Total Applications are 199,000. Details Below in the Timeline section.
This page you will find the following contents:
- H1B Visa Lottery Guide
- H1B Visa 2018 Timeline
- H1B Visa Lottery Process Timeline
- H1B Visa Applicants Timeline
- H1B Visa Process Flowchart
- First Time H1B Visa Applicants Resources
- Scenario Specific Frequently Asked Questions
- I’m on STEM OPT and Applying for H1B
- I’m on H4 (and other visa status) and applying for H1B
- I’m applying for H1B Visa via a Consultant
- My current Employer is Applying for H1B from India
1. H1B Visa Lottery Guide
The expected timeline took a huge hit when Premium Processing was suspended for upto 6 months. Which means, there’s going to be several more months of uncertainty for H1B Visa applications. But, some events would follow the same pattern as previous years lottery process:
Following H1B Visa 2018 lottery guide gives a step by step guide of what to expect during this H1B Visa season.
1. H1B Visa 2018 Timeline from April 2017
- April 3, 2017: April 1 and April 2, 2017 falls on a weekend. So, I’m expecting USCIS should begin to accept petitions from April 3, 2017.
- April 3-7, 2017: USCIS accepts H1B Visa Applications
- April 7 +: USCIS conducts Random Lottery Selection
- May+: Premium Results
- Aug+: Regular Processing Results
May+: USCIS starts processing and approving H1B Visa Premium Processing Applications Aug+: USCIS starts processing and approving Regular Processing Applications
- Oct 1, 2017: H1B Visa 2018 Fiscal year starts.
Actual Timeline of H1B Visa 2018 Cap Season:
Expected time is not going to apply because of Premium Processing is suspended, but for most part, I would expect other events (like USCIS announcements, data entry, receipt numbers, etc) to stick to the pattern from previous the years.
- Mar 3, 2017: Premium Processing is Suspended from Apr 3, 2017 for upto 6 months
- April 3, 2017: USCIS starts accepting new applications
- April 3-7, 2017: USCIS accepts H1B Visa Applications
- April 7, 2017: H1B Visa 2018 Cap is Reached. (News)
- April 17, 2017: Lottery Complete. 199,000 Applications. (News)
- April 18, 2017: Lottery Results are Coming Out!
2. H1B Visa Process Flowchart
Following H1B Visa Process flowchart should give an idea (and warning) about the expected flow of H1B Visa Application to H1B Visa Approval process. You can also find additional resources (Green Boxes) available to educate yourself about the H-1B Visa Lottery Process, Finding H1B sponsors. And if in case you don’t get H1B visa lottery, I have seen students on OPT and STEM OPT scramble to find options to extend their stay in the U.S.A. and there are few courses listing the options for you as well.
3. Resources: First Time H1B Visa Applicants
H1B Visa Application to Approval process goes through various stages and departments. Here’s a list of parties involved in the H1B Visa process:
- You (Employee)
- Your Employer (Manager and HR)
- Your Employer’s Immigration Attorney
- Department of Labor (DOL) – LCA Certification
- Department of Homeland Security (USCIS) – H1B Visa Application Processing
- Department of State – H1B Visa Interview
Here’s additional resources to get educated about the H1B Visa Process.
4. H1B Visa 2018 – Frequently Asked Questions
Here’s some frequently asked questions for H1B Visa 2018 fiscal year.
1. We are in 2017, why is the title named as H1B Visa 2018?
H1B Visa 2018 refers to the Fiscal Year that USCIS follows. A calendar year for us runs from January 1 to December 31. But, USCIS follows a different schedule: October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018 (FY 2018)
2. I’m on OPT, STEM OPT and applying for H1B Visa, what should I pay attention? I’m on H4 Visa. I’m applying for H1B Visa through a consultant, what should I be concerned about?
Check out the H4 Visa Career Guide or H1B Visa 101. I have highlighted “The Hidden Challenge ” faced by H4 to H1B conversion via a consultant. Often times, H4 Visa spouse’s think that application to H1B Visa will solve their career problems. I couldn’t discuss those the problems here and you will not often hear about that in public forums.
When H1B and H4 visa applicants run into such challenge, they often do things that is a big no-no in the eyes of the USCIS and DOL. So, you seldom hear about them in forums.
3. I’m applying for H1B Visa for the first time from India, what should I pay attention to?
You have to play to win. To get H1B Visa, first you would have to apply. Give yourself a pat on the back to even have put yours fin a position where there’s an employer who is applying for your H1B Visa. Above two charts should give you a brief idea of what’s ahead. Here’s a few more thoughts based on my past years (9 years) of covering H1B Visa news and updates in here:
- If there is the H1B Visa Lottery, then this season will be long.
- You are probably going to have several sleepless nights and uncertainty
- Very high chances of feeling frustrated because of the nature of the process
4. I’m applying for H1B via a consultant from India. What should I be concerned about?
Here’s some of the issues reported by readers in the past
- I paid a consultant, they never returned by calls
- I paid to apply for H1B, they did not apply for my visa
- I paid a consultant and they are out of business now
- They are not giving the receipt number or any H1B documents
- How do I even know my consultant, applied for H1B Visa
These are just to name a few. When you don’t have the access and reach as you would have when applying for H-1B from U.S.A. you have to be extra cautious. I have covered this topic in detail in H1B Visa 101 and H1b Visa Lottery Guide.
5. My current Employer is Applying for H1B from India, what should I pay attention?
- Biggest H1B Visa users are TCS, Infosys, CTS, Tech Mahindra, Wipro, HCL, Mindtree, IBM India, Accenture, iGate, CSC, etc.
- Generally, you will not have much control of the H1B Visa Application process.
- They tend to start the process sometime from the end of January.
- You may have direct access to your attorney (that’s alright)
- Make sure to follow this blog and take part in the comments section
- Understand the H1B Visa application process
- Be in touch with other applicants from your employer
- Expect delays in getting updates from your employer about your H1B Visa application status updates.
6. Why would I get frustrated about the H1B Visa Process? Could you explain based on your experience?
When you are applying from India, you may not have a direct access to your Immigration Attorney. Now, let’s fast forward to the first week of May 2017. Some members of the blog are reporting that they have received Receipt Numbers. Now, you want your receipt number. This what you are going to be doing:
- Call your employer
- Send an email to your HR
- Send an email to your Attorney
Let me guess what you will be asking them (via email or phone voice message)
I was wondering if my H1B Visa petition is selected in the lottery? When will I get to know the H1B Visa lottery results? When will I get my H1B Case Status receipt number? Is there a way to know a timeline of H1B Visa 2018 season in detail?
Guess what? You are not probably going to get any reply from your employer or your attorney or from your consultant. Even if you get a reply, it’s going to be not the answer you are looking for.
7. What’s Going to Happen to H1B Visa Program under President Donald Trump?
How would feel if you are not hearing any H1B Visa news or latest updates from your Employer or Attorney or Consultant. That’s my friend is what that will lead you to feel frustrated and helpless.
Yes, you bet. I have two Amazing courses. First one is the H1B Visa Lottery Guide. It’s about a couple of hours long and you will get to know Stage by Stage details on what happens from the day your Attorney mails your H-1B Visa Application package at USCIS. You will see real examples and a timeline of events.
Honestly, we don’t the answer to what President Trump plans to do with H1B Visa. One thing we know is that he doesn’t like jobs being outsourced with H1B program and when H1B visa is used to replace American Workers.
8. Is the H1B Visa Cap going to increase or decrease this year?
We have seen news about the minimum salary for H1B Visa must be $100,000 (or 100k). But, it’s all the talk. Unless there’s a change in the law, we should plan for how this year’s H1B Visa season would proceed as per current law.
People are worried if the H1B Visa program will be canceled. As of now, we don’t know what President Donald Trump is planning to do with H1B Visa process. If there’s any update, I would be the first to write about it.
9. Will there be Lottery this year for H1B Visa applications?
To increase the H1B Quota, new Law has to be passed in the U.S. Congress. As of now, there’s no word on what will happen to H1B Visa Quota.
10. I’m looking for H1B Visa 2018 Sponsors, where can I find them?
- H1B 2018 Cap
- General Cap – 65,000
- Advanced Degree Cap – 20,000
- Cap Exempt – No limit
- Application Accepted – Starting April 3, 2017 (April 1,2 is a weekend)
- H1B Visa Start Date – On or After October 1, 2017
No Doubt. Unless there’s a dramatic change in the H1B Visa law, there should be a lottery process. But, keep in mind, there’s a pending lawsuit about this H1B Visa lottery process. The outcome of that case could have a direct impact on this H1B Visa 2018 lottery process.
11. What’s the expected H1B Visa 2018 Processing Time?
I think I have given a fair warning about applying for H1B Visa via consulting companies when you are not currently employed or located outside the U.S.A.
12. Should I upgrade to Premium Processing of H1B Visa Petition?
Premium Processing is suspended for upto 6 months from April 3, 2017
Just because I’m writing about warnings, 100’s applicants are still going to apply via this route. Check out the H1B Visa 101 course on how to stay safe when applying via consultants.
Refer to the H1B Visa Timeline in this post (above). USCIS is taking a lot longer than their usual H1B Visa processing time due to increase in their workload.
13. When can I upgrade to Premium Processing?
It depends on your current situation. For instance, if you are in the USA and have travel plans before October, then upgrading to Premium would be an option.
14. I have applied for H1B Visa, but I’m not sure if I’m selected in the lottery, can I upgrade to Premium Processing?
If you are someone who is tired of long delays and sleepless nights, then you can also upgrade to Premium Processing. It would cost additional $1225 in fees for USCIS. Some Immigration Attorney would charge additional fees to apply for Premium after you have submitted the application to USCIS.
15. How long will it take to get Green Card after getting an H1B Visa?
- While applying for H1B Visa
- After you have received the receipt number
That’s going to take bunch of years. I have written about Green Card Steps with video and flow chart. In a nutshell, wait time can be like 15+ years for EB3 and 5 to 8 years of EB2. EB1 would be less than 1 year. Don’t worry about what’s the difference between EB1, EB2 and EB3 now. Let’s focus on helping you get your H1B Visa first.
We don’t the dates for H1B Visa 2017 lottery dates, but we do know what happened last year.
16. H1B Visa 2018 Sponsors: Where to Find One?
- April 9 – H1B Lottery was completed
- April 12 – USCIS announced that the lottery was completed
Dates for H1B Visa lottery for 2017 – 2018 should follow a similar pattern.
Who are those folks looking for H1B Visa 2018 sponsors? Let me guess:
“I’m not hearing anything about my H1B application status, Raghu, you referred to this sponsor, I think you have to deal with this.”
Ok, you want to know where to find H1B Visa 2018 sponsors. Sorry folks, I can’t be of much help here.
Let’s say I give a referral for a consultant, you are going to ask me this:
Now, you know why I don’t provide a list of H1B Visa sponsors. I have referred in the past, but not anymore. I understand that some of you would be in desperate mode to find an H1B Visa sponsor to find a way to try your luck, but you would have to understand that challenge of referring a sponsor.
Here’s a CRZY Story: About 7 years back, there was a reader and he applied for H1B visa via 7 sponsors. He was so desperate to come to the USA, just because he wanted to drive a BMW
18. Should I worry about $130k H1B Visa Bill?
Where and How to Get H1B Visa 2018 News and Latest Updates?
P.S. How to best this H1B Visa Lottery?
If you are reading this, then you have invested several minutes of your valuable time to get educated about the H1B Visa 2018 process and I appreciate that.
I’m looking forward to helping you navigate this H1B 2018 season just like previous years. Please post any questions you may have about H1B Visa process in the comments section. Let the H1B Visa Journey begin and may your dream of working in the U.S.A. come true.
The simple math, logic applies here. There’s 10 entries for a raffle ticket. It costs $1 per entry. If the winner gets $20. What would you do?