I have developed a software for the client's needs (as a freelancer) and now the owner decided to create a business and expand it to sell to others. At this point, they want me to move to the US and be employed by this company.

All the sources online for h1b visa shows the path if I want to move to the US myself and apply for the job afterwards. What if other way around; the company wants me to move. Do I still need to enter the lottery?

1 Answer 1


Umm - no - that's not how this works at all - it looks like you're confusing different kinds of visas.

If a US-based company want's to employ you and have you move over to the USA, then that company has to apply for an H-1B visa on your behalf.
You, as the foreigner who wants to come to the USA, cannot apply for this visa yourself.

I suspect that your confusion comes from 2 different visa 'lotteries'.

The first one, which really is much like a lottery, is the "Green Card Lottery", more correctly called the Electronic Diversity Lottery.
This is something you can apply for yourself, and it is an annual lottery in that the 'winners' are randomly drawn once yearly from the list of qualified applicants.
Winning a slot in this lottery will allow you to apply for a "Green Card" which, if successful, means that you could then move over to the USA without already having a job to go to.
But, as with most other lotteries, there are far more applicants than there are slots allocated for winners, so this is certainly not something you should bank on getting.

For the second - sometimes the H-1B process is informally referred to as a lottery, but it isn't really.
Your likelihood of being granted an H-1B visa depends on whether or not you and the sponsoring company qualify (simplistically in terms of the nature of the job and whether or not there are qualified Americans available), as well as other factors (like have the limited number of H-1B visas for this year already been issued).
The company which wishes to employ you (your sponsor) must first apply to the US Dept of Labor for a determination that the position they're looking to fill cannot reasonably be filled by someone already legally resident in the USA. Your sponsor has to have already advertised locally and not received any suitable responses, and must also be paying no less than "the going rate" for the job.
If this is granted then they have to apply to US Immigration for a visa on your behalf, and if this is successful you will be required to attend an interview at your nearest US Consulate or Embassy, where the final decision will be taken and your visa issued.
These steps are often carried out with the oversight and assistance of a US-based immigration attorney, and the costs to the sponsor are not insignificant.
However, if your sponsor does choose to go down this route, these costs are not your concern since they are legally prevented from making any attempt to reclaim them from you (at least directly anyway - there are ways to add things like early-termination clauses to employment contracts which might have you pay some penalties for leaving the position 'early').

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    "You, as the foreigner who wants to come to the USA, cannot apply for this visa yourself": technically, only the foreigner can apply for the visa (by submitting a DS-160 application), but a prerequisite for a successful application is an I-129 petition submitted by the employer on behalf of the prospective employee and approved by the US government. For an H-1B to be issued, therefore, both the employer and the worker must apply. The H-1B lottery, which is indeed a lottery ("random selection process") concerns the selection of petitions to approve, not visa applications.
    – phoog
    Feb 4, 2019 at 19:11
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    See for example USCIS Completes the H-1B Cap Random Selection Process for FY 2019. Also, those born in certain countries are ineligible to participate in the green card lottery. OP is a UK citizen, so was probably born in the UK, which is one of those countries. (Those born in Northern Ireland, however, are eligible to participate.)
    – phoog
    Feb 4, 2019 at 19:15
  • Thanks for all the clarification. Yes, I don't mean applying to green card - I wanted to ask about the work visa. Also I was born in the UK & I'm British citizen. @phoong - Yes, I meant the 65k selected people in between 195k applicants kind of lottery. The company also told me that they will apply to the H-1B visa and they will cover the costs. So, to conclude, in my case the company needs to apply for the H1-B visa on behalf of me, but I still need to be selected as 65k/195k people. Is that correct?
    – senty
    Feb 4, 2019 at 20:39

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