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You didn’t get picked in H-1b lottery. Now what?

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This is a question we hear often. What can someone do if they’re not selected in the H-1b lottery? Here are some options to consider.

1) STEM extension of OPT. If you’re on an F-1 OPT and eligible for STEM extension this should be an obvious option.

2) F1. Go back to school if there’s another degree you’d like to have or if you’d like an additional skill. You may in some cases be eligible for CPT (Curricular Practical Training) work authorization. But you should always consult with the DSO of the school an perhaps an attorney to ensure you are following the rules on CPT.

3) O-1 Visa, or EB1 green card. Are you spectacularly qualified? Do you have an extraordinary ability in a field? This will save you so much time and hassle if you qualify.

4) H4 EAD. Do you happen to be married to a spouse on H-1b? If so you could switch to H-4 and in some cases get Employment Authorization so you can work while you try next time.

5) EB-2 or EB-3. If you’re not from an oversubscribed country (I.e. India and China) you may, in some cases, go straight to a green card.

6) Cap-Exempt H-1b. Look for work at qualifying institutions such as universities, hospitals, or nonprofits that are connected with an institution of higher education or research institution.

7) Work remotely. Sometimes staying in the US isn’t an optiom, but working remotely until you can try next year is.

The above are only a few of the most commonly sought options. There are others as well. Talk to an attorney to learn which options suit your situation best.

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