H1B Visa 2018 – Predictions, Sponsors & 3 Ways to Beat Lottery

Raghu H1B Visa 13 Comments

What is your biggest concern about H1B Visa 2018 season?

  1. Lottery Process
  2. President Donald Trump vs H1B Visa
  3. $130k H1B Visa Salary

I’m sure this H-1B Visa season is going to be another busy year. But, don’t you worry, Happy Schools got you covered. This is the 9th straight year of H1B Visa News coverage here in Happy Schools. Now, you should know there’s very likely to be H1B Visa lottery this year as well. So, how can you Beat the H1B Visa Lottery?

Keep reading this article. You will find a simple quiz that explains how to beat the random H1B lottery.

This page you will find the following contents:

  1. H1B Visa 2018 Timeline
    1. H1B Visa Lottery Process Timeline
    2. H1B Visa Applicants Timeline
  2. H1B Visa Process Flowchart
  3. First Time H1B Visa Applicants Resources
  4. Scenario Specific Frequently Asked Questions
    1. I’m on STEM OPT and Applying for H1B
    2. I’m on H4 (and other visa status) and applying for H1B
    3. I’m applying for H1B Visa via a Consultant
    4. My current Employer is Applying for H1B from India

1. H1B Visa 2018 Timeline from April 2017

Here’s expected H1B Visa 2018 Process and Timeline:

  • 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+: 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.

I will update this timeline once USCIS publishes their annual H1B Visa FY 2018 process details (expected sometime in the months of March 2017).

H1B FY 2018 Visa Applicants Timeline

Here’s a likely H1B Visa 2018timeline for applicant:

  • January, 2017: Educate Yourself about the H1B Visa process if you are a first time applicant
  • Feburary, 2017: Anytime between January to Feburary, you should be submitting the document to your employer or Immigration Attorney.
  • March 15, 2017: Typically it takes like 2 to 3 weeks for the Attorney to prepare and file your H1B Visa application. So, Around March 15 would be the deadline.
  • April, 2017: USCIS accepts H1B Visa application

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.

Links for H1B Visa Guide

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 cancelled. 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?

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 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

16. What my H1B Visa 2018 Predictions? What is the H1B Visa 2017 – 2018 Lottery Dates?

I don’t think you can upgrade to Premium Processing without the receipt number after you have submitted the application to USCIS.

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.

17. 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?

Absolutely not. Read this  – H1B Visa, $130k in Salary vs Indians and Here’s how H1B Visa $130k salary was calculated.

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?

Now, you know how to beat the lottery ?

Related Post

Comments

  1. pranava

    hello Raghu

    currently i am on OPT stem -i completed my masters in 2015 and started working on OPT –my OPT expires in 2018- now i planned to apply for H1B .can i apply on masters cap or thru my employer ? kindly give your opinion
    thanks

  2. Krishna

    Hi Raghu,

    Its been two weeks, Trump has taken over charge and we can see many changes in the foreign policy.
    Can this effect the number applications for the H1 B 2018. I heard from couple of consultancies, where they are saying there won’t be any lottery this year since number of applications will be less than 85k.
    Is this possible?
    What are problems in the future if we file multiple H1 ?
    I really appreciate if you could answer these questions.

  3. Dinesh Reddy

    A new development in the H1B pattern.

    The big guzzlers of h1b, the big 4 outsourcers, Spoke to few of them in India and have been getting calls from these big 4 companies for FT offers like never before and OPT hiring by these guys seems to be in rising. And back in India, many people who are working in these Big 4 companies getting no clarity on h1b filing this year. I got a call from Infosys and I pretended to be on OPT and this is the offer I received.

    They will file h1B next year and no assurances on h1b. They will not file GC and after 6 years of H1B, One has to leave back to India and can come back after applying fresh h1b again and if the h1b program is scrapped or made changes, accordingly their terms will change and If the employer is willing to relocate to India after the 6th year, they should be willing to relocate to any of the development centers in India. Pay offered was $58,000 for 2 years experienced guy with an MS degree.

    There was a second case, I knew few guys who work at JPMC through TCS as contractors on C2C. Now, these TCS managers are insisting these guys become FT on TCS before April or their contracts will not be renewed. I heard these kinds of offers from TCS from 3-4 locations.

    It seems these big 4 giants finally trying to change their strategy on hiring and reduce the dependency on h1B and reduce abuse of the visa. It should have happened long back as h1B was becoming more like cheap labor import visa than specialized occupation visa. If periodic changes were made to this visa category, there would have been lesser abuse and lot of things unethical things would have fallen in place or at least would have been better than what it is today.

    These trends just started coming and maybe we get to hear more about these trends in the next 2-3 months or before April and that can actually have a huge impact on the number of applications for this year’s H1B applications.

    With these developments, I put the numbers at 220K from my earlier prediction of 300k.

    1. Ram Prasath

      Raghu/Dinesh, Any predictions on number of petitions for H1B this year – based on the recent developments, executive orders, potential EOs?

      1. Dinesh

        My earlier guess before Trump took over as a President, the number was 150k to 175k. But looking at present scenario and with the behavioral change pattern in the big outsourcing giants and a recent statement by one of founder of one such company has any weight, then the number can be much lower at 100k and chances are that 4 out of 5 people might get lucky at h1b in general quota and 9/10 will be lucky in MS quota. I still think there would be lottery and I presently estimate the numbers at 100k-125k.

        There is another situation too. The big outsourcing companies are really notorious and dynamic when it comes to h1b and sensing this might be the last chance to push in maximum number of employees under h1b, they might reach to new levels and file as many as possible applications and we might get to see some shocking numbers never ever seen. the big four might file combined 100k LCA’s is also a possibility.

        Again, this is a wait and watch game and this h1b season is going to be most exhaustive and most scrutinized season. Have to avoid layers if working EVC model, be ready for site visits, extra effort on documentation part and have to be very careful on that part, must establish that our job is a speciality occupation etc.

        1. Ram Prasath

          Dinesh, I completely agree with your first part. 100k is the number I guess. I too heard that 3 of the top players will be filing minimum number of petitions this time (reflection of statement from one of the founder). Personally I feel hopeful as my LCA will be in advanced degree quota from a full time direct employer

        2. Enj

          @Dinesh, dont you think 100K is a bit too optimistic? What are you basing this estimated number on? I still feel ~180K-200K will be the final number. Do share your sources and insights on this.

  4. Sweta

    Raghu,

    While applying for new STEM OPT extension, we filed form i-983 training plan which has current employer, manager etc information. Now while on that STEM opt EAD, how can anyone submit multiple h1 applications from different employer/consultant?

  5. Dinesh Reddy

    This year H1B is going to be a game changer.
    This year H1B numbers will trigger a debate and change the way we used to get things done and the way things would happen in the future. and with the number of applications filed, will force the Trump administration to look into why so many applications are being filled for just 65,000 quota and once if an investigation is ordered into this, rest assured of a very tough h1B 2019 season if any.

    With so much uncertainty, there is a huge demand for h1b for various reason. Trump effect, fears of h4 EAD roll back, etc lot of factors will contribute to the mad rush in the applications and even an OPT guy who is filing for the first time, will file 2 applications from two different employers.

    Last year, I predicted the final number of applications at 220,000 and it turned out to be 227K. My prediction was the only one closer to the actual number although many claims were at 250k to 300k.

    This year, I put the number at 300k and a commerce of $1Billion to be spent in the next 5-6 months. And one can expect a lot of rejections on H1B and very strict H1B process ever.

    So, Guys, Do not wait until March to file the petition but Hurry up from now itself. Concentrate on the employee-employer relation, end client, work location, job responsibilities, specialty occupation are some of the areas which need extra concentration. If you are trying to follow the age-old model of filing H1B’s you might not be lucky this time as with the last year’s H1b and OPT’s scrutiny, One can say USCIS is going to be tough and will be going by the book rigidly this time.

    Good luck.

    1. Author
      Raghu

      Hello Dinesh – Thanks for commenting. Insightful thoughts. One more thing to consider. USCIS said that STEM OPT Extension is not applicable to consulting employers. But, DSO’s issued new I-20 and STEM OPT extension. We have to wait and see how USCIS is going to adjudicate such H1B Visa 2018 petitions. But, overall, this year should to bring Change to H1B Visa system.

      1. Dinesh Reddy

        I too read that USCIS will not issue STEM Ext to consulting employers but now, after seeing many people getting their OPT extensions working as consultants at client sites, I think there needs to be more clarity on this or maybe we all did not interpret the actual rule properly. I spoke to attorneys on the same issue and they were of opinion that nothing as such was mentioned.in the rule book.

        Either way, This is just one of the issue contributing to the 300k factor apart from so many. Probably the worst h1B season since this program was implemented. In fact, I do not see this as an issue as there are enough 20,000 quota people here in the USA already and even if people go for quota petition or general petition, chances are 1 in 2.5 for MS quota and chances are 1 in 4 for General quota.

        All other factors are now negligible. ACICS accreditation, MS quota, From India, MNC’s, blah blah…The reality is 1 in 2.5 for MS quota and chances are 1 in 4 for General quota. Uncertainty in the administration and so many recent rule changes are creating a panic and thus driving an abnormal rise number of applications. unknowingly, this panic itself is going to create troubles for 2019 H1B season if exists.

        Here is the logic. Every year no matter how many numbers of applicants file, only 85,000 get their petitions. This is not the core issue. But the number of applications is becoming the scarier part psychologically. When it is reported, media says 300k applications…250k applications in just 5 days…reality is no matter how many applications are being filed but only 85k get lucky, but that number doesn’t figure when media reports. Certainly, the total number of applications is a huge number and that is creating a panic to the administration which is already screwing up and tightening the norms of H1b. And things like filing multiple applications from different employers, etc, by doing so, we are sure to hit the number 300k this year raising the eyebrows and initiating a further deep investigation into the h1B program.

  6. Parasuram

    Hello Raghu,

    Recently DOE removed ACICS board from accredeting agencies So my university accredation falls under ACICS,now my universty is no longer accredited now . Currently i am on OPT STEM extension can i apply for H1B 2018 under Masters Cap even though my university lost the accredation.I was graduated in April 2015. Please need your help on this situtaion. Thanks!

    1. Author
      Raghu

      When your status is going to be impacted, you don’t need my help first. You need to talk to an attorney 🙂 I’m aware of this. Do you have the email you received from your USCIS/University about this?

Leave a Comment - Your Thoughts Counts