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H-1B Alternatives for Individuals Not Selected in the Lottery

2014-05-08, BY WeGreened

This year, the USCIS received roughly 172,500 H-1B petitions to fill 85,000 cap-subject slots for fiscal year (FY) 2015.  This means that those subject to the cap and not selected in the lottery will have to wait until April 1, 2015 to apply for an H-1B visa, hoping that their petition is selected in this lottery.  Over the past decade, it has become increasingly more difficult to obtain H-1B status.  The difficulty is largely due to this numerical limitation, or “cap,” imposed on new H-1B visas.  Regardless of how qualified an individual is, unless exempt, he or she will not have a chance to be granted H-1B status unless he or she is selected in the lottery, which fills 85,000 slots for petition processing (20,000 of which are for beneficiaries holding a US master’s degree or higher).   While an H-1B visa may have been most appealing, there are some alternative visas that may be available to those who were unable to be granted H-1B status.


O-1 Visa


O-1A visas are for aliens of extraordinary ability in science, education, business, or athletics.  O-1B visas are for aliens of extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in the motion picture of television industry.  These individuals are people who are recognized as being at the very top of their field and who are coming to the US to continue work in that field.   The visa is granted for up to three years initially and can be extended in one year increments until the business activity is completed.  Additionally, the O-1 visa holder may be joined by his or her spouse and children.  The spouse and children will be granted O-3 status and cannot work, but are able to attend school or college.  Another benefit to the O-1 visa is that it allows for dual-intent.  Therefore, one can extend or renew their O-1 status even after filing an I-140 or I-485.  To find out more information and learn whether O-1 status may be a great fit for you, please visit


L-1 Visa


L-1 visas may be a viable option for those individuals that have been working for multi-national companies.  For L-1 status, one must have worked for one continuous year in the last three years prior to entering the US as an executive, manager, or person with specialized knowledge.  The employer abroad must be a parent, subsidiary, affiliate, or branch of the US company.  This visa category also allows for dual-intent and allows for the visa holder’s spouse and children to join him or her.  The spouse of the L-1 visa holder may be granted L-2 status and is able to obtain work authorization and/or study, while the dependent children of the L-1 visa holder and admitted as L-2’s but are only allowed to study.  These visas are initially approved for up to 3 years and can be extended for a total stay of 7 years for executives and managers (L-1A) or 5 years for workers with specialized knowledge (L-1B).  L-1 visas also allow dual-intent, allowing aliens to extend or renew their L-1 status even after filing an I-140 or I-485.  To find out more information and learn whether L-1 status may be a great fit for you, please visit


Immigrant Visas


While it typically takes much longer to obtain an immigrant visa, it may be advantageous to start the process now.

EB-1A visas are first-preference, employment-based visas for aliens with extraordinary abilities in science, arts, education, business, or athletics.  These visas are current, so the foreign national does not need to wait for the priority date to become current before obtaining a green card.  Self-petition is also allowed, so one does not need an employer to sponsor the process and a job offer is not required.  For more information on EB-1Avisas, please visit


EB-1C visas are also first-preference, employment-based visas and are reserved for multi-national executives and managers.  Very similar to the L-1 visas, the beneficiary must have been employed abroad for one continuous year in the previous three by a multi-national company seeking to transfer the employee to the US.  Unlike the L-1 visa, however, EB-1C does not allow for transfer of specialized knowledge employees.  This category is also current, but self-petitioning is not allowed and a job offer is required. For more information on EB-1C visas, please visit


EB-2 (NIW) visas are popular amongst those qualified individuals whose employers are unwilling to sponsor the foreign national for permanent residency.  Sponsoring an EB-2 employee can be a burdensome and arduous process for employers, but EB-2 NIW waives the necessity to have a labor certification and a job offer which removes the need for an employee to be sponsored.  While the individual must still be qualified for the EB-2 category, they can obtain a National Interest Waiver if they can prove that their admission to the US would be in the “national interest”.  For more information on EB-2 (NIW) visas, please visit


Miscellaneous Options


In addition to the above-referenced visas, there remains a variety of other options for those that are unable to obtain H-1B status.  B-1 Business Visitors, R-1 Religious Workers, P-1 Athlete/Entertainer, and E-1/E-2 International Traders/Investors are just a few examples of alternative routes that are available.



We are pleased to announce that North America Immigration Law Group has so far received over 7,500 EB-1A, EB-1B and EB-2 NIW I-140 approval notices. In 2015 and 2016, the approval rate is 97.9% for cases using our Approval or Refund® (money back guarantee) service and 96.9% for all cases.

Our approval rate is 99.6% for NIW petitions using our "Approval or Refund®" (money back guarantee) service and the overall approval rate for all NIW cases is 99.2%.

In terms of EB1A petitions, the approval rate is 96% for cases entitled to our "Approval or Refund®" (money back guarantee) service and the overall approval rate for all EB1A cases is 94.3%.

As one of the leading U.S. immigration law firms providing the most comprehensive services focusing on EB-1/NIW petitions, we are proud to maintain our high approval rates with a large volume of approved cases.

Our staff keeps close track of the latest immigration trends and regulations of USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services), decisions of AAO (Administrative Appeal Office) and judicial review opinions. The massive collected materials contribute to the most convincing arguments and winning strategies of our firm for EB1A, EB1B, and NIW petitions. If you are interested in filing the green card, please send your CV to for our free evaluation. Our attorneys will email you back with the evaluation result within 24 hours.

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