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What are Your Chances of Winning the H-1B Lottery?

Aman celebrating winning the lottery

The H-1B visa program is a sought-after opportunity for many professionals aspiring to work in the United States. However, with over 400,000 applicants competing for a limited number of spots, the odds of being selected can be daunting.

The H-1B Lottery System

Every year, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) receives an overwhelming number of H-1B visa petitions. For the fiscal year, there were more than 400,000 applicants vying for only 65,000 spots available for those with a bachelor’s degree and an additional 20,000 spots for those holding a master’s degree from a U.S. institution. This translates to approximately a 15% chance of being selected for applicants in the bachelor’s degree category.

Understanding the Numbers

Given the limited number of visas available and the high volume of applications, the selection process is highly competitive. The H-1B lottery system is designed to ensure a fair and randomized selection process, but it also means that many qualified applicants may not be selected due to the sheer volume of petitions.

Maximizing Your Chances

While the odds are challenging, there are ways to maximize your chances of being selected in the H-1B lottery:

  1. Master’s Cap Advantage: If eligible, applying under the master’s cap can slightly improve your odds, as there are additional 20,000 spots reserved for those with advanced degrees from U.S. institutions.
  2. Timing and Preparation: Ensure your application is submitted as early as possible, complete with all required documentation and evidence of your qualifications.
  3. Alternative Visa Options: Consider exploring other visa categories that might be applicable to your situation, such as the O-1 visa for individuals with extraordinary ability or the L-1 visa for intra-company transferees.


The H-1B visa lottery presents a significant challenge due to the high number of applicants and limited availability of spots. It’s crucial to understand the process and explore all possible avenues to increase your chances of securing a visa.

If you have questions or need guidance on your immigration journey, take advantage of our free resources and schedule a consultation with us. Our expert team is here to help you navigate the complexities of the H-1B visa process and explore alternative options that might be suitable for you.

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