What Happens If You Don’t get H1B Visa in Lottery? Trouble and Uncertainty

Raghuram Sukumar USA Visa 5 Comments

Do you want to know what happens if your H1B Visa is not selected in Lottery? You could be facing, uncertainty, anger and possible depression.

There are so many graduates from US Universities (including my close friend)  who were not selected in H1B Visa lottery in April, 2013 are facing the exact same problem faced by Rudolf (described below).

Rudolf, a recent Cornell graduate currently in his post-degree 12-month Optional Practical Training (OPT) period, is faced with an uncertain future because of the U.S. immigration system. You see, Rudolf’s employer filed an H-1B application for him earlier this year, but the application is part of a lottery drawing due to the annual cap on the number of H-1B visas available. If he’s not selected, he will have to leave the United States and return to Germany, his country of citizenship.

However, he has little connection to Germany and doesn’t speak German, since he was raised in Syria. But he can’t go back to Syria either; he lost his residency status there because he hasn’t been back since the civil war started. Recent graduates in STEM fields have the option to pursue OPT for up to 29 months; had such a benefit been extended to those in non-STEM fields, or had OPT holders not been subject to the H-1B cap, Rudolf would be able to stay in the United States longer and put his talent to use here. With immigration reform, we’ll be able to attract and keep the best workers our country needs.  –   Elizabeth Shedd, Coordinator, Cornell University International Students & Scholars office

Above story was in an email from NAFSA.org.

You could have spent lot of money, time and energy to come to United States for Higher Education, but you are still at the mercy of random lottery selection to get H1B visa.

I’m trying to get my friend to share her story here in the blog. But, couldn’t convince her yet.

Lot’s of provision’s of Senate’s Immigration bill will solve this H1B visa uncertainty.  But, there could be delay in U.S. House in considering, passing the Immigration bill.  Learn how a bill becomes a law in USA.

So, what can you do about this situation?

Speak Out. Take part and share your story.

Schedule to meet your member of Congress and his/her staff during is one of the most effective ways to share real-life stories about how the current immigration system is failing people like Rudolf and my friend and several others.

Some are worried if speaking out will come back affect them in future.

That’s assumption is incorrect. See what happens as result of people meeting with congress member.

From the email..

As a result of questions from people attending town hall events, we’ve found that Congressmen like Aaron Schock and Daniel Webster now support a pathway to citizenship as part of commonsense immigration reform. This is big news! You could be a part of this too by asking your representative about his/her stance on immigration and encouraging support for commonsense reform.

Visit the “Speak Out – Take it to the House” campaign page to access a list of town hall events scheduled in your area.

Before you attend the town hall, be sure to watch a video by super advocate Ashley Johnson on how to prepare,.

Download the list of sample questions you can take it with you to ask your representative.

Lastly, ask your colleague, friend, family member, or student impacted by immigration to attend with you.

Reach out to me, if you have a story to share about H1b visa lottery.

Share this link with your Facebook Friends. This should reach several students and H1B visa holders.


  1. What about people in non STEM fields,Raghu ?
    Proposed legislation is only for STEM graduates

    1. Yes, the IIRC, the proposed legislation is only for STEM. On the other hand, if STEM graduates are NOT counted against GC limits, then it will be much more faster to get GCs for everyone else.

  2. Hey, honestly I don’t see anything wrong with it. When someone comes to USA on a student visa, they come with a non-immigrant intent and they MUST be OK with not getting a H1B.

    If they are NOT, they are lying since the moment they applied for student visa.

    As a matter of fact, I think its actually very lenient of US Immigration system to actually allow students to get H1B which is contradictory to what they said at the time of student visa.

  3. On the other hand, I think, this is actually a great blog. The problem is obvious, suffering is bad. Everyone I have talked to whether in congress or otherwise agrees that the current system is totally broken.

    Hey guys, we all need to act to make our future better in USA, please call your house reps, go to town hall meetings and advocate your point. We want them to support comprehensive immigration reform. More green cards, NO point in getting just H1B visas increased.

    Let me know if you need help finding out what you can do to help with the immigration reform.

  4. That’s correct. However what to do when you are in India and need to be in the USA before 4-6 yrs ago.Need an immediate solution rather than a prolonged debate.

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