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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 visithttp://www.WeGreened.com/O-Visa-Alien-Extraordinary-Ability.


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 http://www.WeGreened.com/L-Visa-Intracompany-Transferee-Visa.


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 http://www.WeGreened.com/EB1A


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 http://www.WeGreened.com/EB1C-Multinational-Executives-or-Managers


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 visithttp://www.WeGreened.com/NIW/


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.



The key to our success is the way in which we present supporting evidence and provide the highest quality petition letters. With over 16,000 I-140 EB-1 ( EB-1A Alien of Extraordinary Ability; EB-1B Outstanding Researcher or Professor), EB-2 NIW (National Interest Waiver) and O-1 approvals, our firm has acquired substantial information about USCIS decisions, which gives us significant advantage over firms that only handle a small number of cases.

Based on hundreds of approvals every month and our close track of USCIS internal memoranda, AAO decisions, and judicial review decisions, we have unique insight into the USCIS adjudication trends. Not only do we apply this insight into our approaches to our clients' cases, but we also carefully review all RFEs (Requests for Evidence), NOIDs (Notices of Intent to Deny), approvals, and denials issued on our cases so that we can further increase our understanding of USCIS strategies and decision-making processes. With the insight, we are able to advise our clients on the best ways to proceed with their petitions.

While other petitioners and attorneys may still use templates to draft recommendation letters or petition letters, our clients' recommendation letters and petition letters are tailored to their individual credentials to best persuade a USCIS officer that our clients meet the requirements of the category they are applying under and therefore their petitions deserve to be approved. To provide the best EB-1 and EB-2 NIW services, our law firm only selects attorneys who have received their professional Juris Doctor degrees from the top law schools in the U.S. and who have garnered rigorous analytical skills through years of experience.