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H-1B visa stamping season: you need to know Timeline, events, and processes!

This year, however, for many Indian professionals and students, the excitement over being selected for the annual US H-1B visa lottery, is fizzling out. When the US Citizenship and Immigration Services released last month the numbers of H-1B visas registered for the fiscal year 2024, the agency that manages the US immigration system, also noted that many individuals had registered more than once.

For those who have applied for this visa this year, here is what you need to know about the timeline, events, and processes in the meantime.

1) Escalating demand
There is an increase in demand for H-1B visas every year. For the year 2023, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services received 484,000 registrations. According to USCIS, 780,884 registrations were made in FY 2024. This year, there is only a quota of 85,000 visas available.

Because the demand for H-1B visas far exceeds the available quota, the process takes a long time

The demand for H-1Bs is much higher than the available quota, so most H-1B applicants are filled with hope and luck during the H-1B application process. However, if you do not receive your visa this year, you will be able to apply next year.

2) Fiscal year, as opposed to a calendar year
H-1B visas are issued on the basis of the fiscal year, not the calendar year. You should keep this in mind when completing your H-1B application. The Fiscal Year 2024 starts on October 1, 2023, and ends on September 30, 2024. H-1B petitions for the next fiscal year are accepted approximately six months before the start of the fiscal year. The process began on April 1, 2023, this year.

3) Stamping and working
Applicants outside of the United States need a visa stamp once their application has been processed by USCIS. There is typically a wait time of several weeks to months during this process. Once your petition has been processed, you can schedule an appointment with the consulate or embassy.

The USCIS fiscal year 2024 begins on October 1, 2023. Once your petition is approved and your visa is stamped, you will be able to enter the US and begin working on October 1, 2023.

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