Table of Contents

Unshackled #9: File H-1B for $1, cap-exempt H-1B, & update to H-1B jobs

March 1, 2023

As the email subject reads, H-1B is the star of this newsletter. If you didn't know, the 2023 lottery opens today. Last year, USCIS received over 480,000 applications for the 85,000 spots, setting the highest record of any year! Any bets on how many they'll receive this year?Also, we welcome 145 new curious souls to this newsletter since last week! Welcome, everyone. Thanks to you if you forwarded this to a friend last week. You rock. 💚

Immigration is a complex world. So every Wednesday, I try to simplify that by sharing top stories, curated resources, & fun tweets from the internet that matter to you. I also sprinkle it with updates on my upcoming book Unshackled, at the end. If you want to get this straight to your email inbox, come sign up! You can read all past editions here. 💃

This week's TL;DR

📌 Stories you should know about

India is our ‘number one’ priority, says Department of StateGood news for Indian visa applicants! The United States visa officials have announced that India is their number one priority in terms of clearing up visa backlogs. Here’s what they’ve done so far: issued 36% more visas than pre-pandemic times, opened up visa interview slots on Saturdays, and are launching a “domestic visa stamping” program by end of this year (read: no more visiting India to get your H-1B and L-1 stamped!). I know a lot of you are waiting for the domestic stamping launch (including me!). I’ll let you know as soon as there’s more info there.USCIS revises list of occupations that are eligible for H-1B visaUSCIS recently updated a footnote on its website around the H-1B visa. Basically, they said that while an H-1B job “normally” requires a bachelor’s degree, it doesn’t have to “always” require it. This is one of those things that’s a minor editorial update that can have reasonably significant consequences for immigrants. This shows that USCIS is acknowledging that roles in tech and business change fast, and don’t always require a bachelor’s degree. This was a strict requirement under the Trump era, so it’s good news that they’re relaxing it.

🎁 Resources curated for you

Three Resources To Help You In The H-1B LotteryIf you’re planning to apply for the H-1B lottery, check out these three resources that can save you money and time! From a service that registers you in the lottery for just $1, to a non-profit organization that offers a “cap-exempt” H-1B, to an “extraordinary ability” visa with no annual cap, I hope they expand your worldview of options as an immigrant!Open Avenues Monthly Info Session: Global Talent FellowshipAs a follow-up to the resource above, if you’re interested to explore the “cap-exempt” H-1B option, now’s a good time! Open Avenues, a cap-exempt non-profit, is hosting an information session to share info on their Global Talent Fellowship program. The event will cover a program overview, cost, partnership options, and a Q&A session. Save the date!Top 10 Common Reasons for Travel Visa DenialApplying for a U.S. travel visa can be nerve-wracking, especially when you’re not sure what to expect. Unfortunately, visa denials can happen, and it’s important to know some common mistakes people make during the visa process that may lead to a denial. This article gives an insight into the possible reasons for visa denial.💡 None of the information shared in this newsletter is meant to be legal advice. If you're looking for legal advice, speak to a lawyer, or email me and let me know so I can connect you with one.

📕 What's the latest on Unshackled?

It's been a chaotic week.I don't remember doing any one thing, rather I remember switching between a dozen things: editing the manuscript, following up with people to confirm quotes, hiring and onboarding a second designer, interviewing for a potential grant, finalizing illustrations with the designer, and doing research in the little pockets of find I found everyday. This was me in one picture, working on a tight deadline. (btw this is an illustration from Unshackled! ;))

But there's one thing I'm really excited about: hiring a professional developmental and copy editor with 20+ years of experience. She's not easy to get, but she really liked this book and said yes! Now, you can be sure that when you read Unshackled, it'll feel like you're reading a professional, grade A book.But this also means the timeline might be delayed by another 3 weeks, since the editor wants to have enough time to ensure she can follow her full process. For now, if you had purchased Unshackled, here's a heads up in advance. I'll confirm once I know for sure!Hey, by the way, if you haven't yet purchased, be the 794th person to pre-order the book below. 👇Get UnshackledThank you so much for reading till here.Got a burning question? Did you come across a resource that seemed useful? Want to say hi?Whatever it is, email me. I read and respond to every email.And, if you enjoyed reading this email, forward it to one friend. It helps more than you know.Until next week, stay awesome.​Yours truly,Soundarya 💚

👀 Fun corners of the internet

A simplified map of the current legal immigration system. No wonder so many come illegally!

— The Alex Nowrasteh (@AlexNowrasteh) February 13, 2023

A simplified map of the current legal immigration system. No wonder so many come illegally! Source: Alex Nowrasteh


Unshackled is the name of a book and its accompanying online community. On here, you’ll find articles on everything from building your profile for an O-1A visa to starting a company on your H-1B. Want to get such resources directly in your Inbox? Join 7000 immigrants who hear from us every Wednesday.

Click to learn more →