This year 233,000 applicants competed for the 65,000 H-1B visas available. This means over 150,000 applicants were not considered and denied the opportunity to apply. The unlucky applicants can wait and try again next year, but in the meantime there are other options available. This video gives a breakdown of the 6 alternative visas.
F-1 Student Visa
Students going to school in the US can apply for a F-1 visa. The F-1 visa allows the student to stay in the US as long as the student is enrolled in an accredited school and are active in a program that will result in a degree.
H-3 Visa for Trainee
Trainees are those who come to the US for training in any field, other than graduate medical education. The training program must be described in detail and approved by the USCIS.
O-1 Visa for Extraordinary Individuals
The O-1 Visa is available for any individual who can demonstrate a superior ability in science, art, education, business, athletics or the motion picture/television industry. Extraordinary ability means the applicant is at the top of the field, which is generally a very small percentage of people. Distinction or a high level of achievement shown through recognition that is not normally given to the typical person in the field may need to be demonstrated.
E-Visa for Trade Treaties
The E-Visa is available for those who come to the US under specific treaties that dictate trade between the US and certain foreign countries. Only nationals of countries that hold trade treaties with the US are eligible. Under the E-Visa category there is also the E-3 Visa which is reserved for speciality workers from Australia.
J-1 Visa for Study Based Exchange
J-1 visas are available for work and study based exchange visitor programs. Applying for a J-1 visa can be a complicated process however and some J-1 visas demand specific requirements, such as a two-year residence in the applicant’s home country. If the applicant is unable to do so, a waiver may be possible in some circumstances. The waiver must be applied for separately.
While the H-1B is an attractive visa, with limited numbers available it is worthwhile to consider alternative visa options. Instead of waiting another year to try again in the lottery it is beneficial to speak to an attorney about other options. Many visas are complicated and have many requirements. Speaking to a professional will ease the process and will assist in finding a visa that is the right fit.
Contact the Law Office of Sweta Khandelwal to discuss alternative visa options. Attorney Khandelwal is an experienced immigration attorney located in the Silicon Valley and has worked in the field for over 10 years.
Students and Employment , July 29, 2013, USCIS
H-3 Nonimmigrant Trainee or Special Education Exchange Visitor, September 9, 2014, USCIS
O-1 Visa: Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement, March 6, 2011, USCIS
E-Visas, April 23, 2011, USCIS