# Calculating the Probability of Winning a Masters Degree H-1B Visa Lottery

• MHB
• Jeny George
In summary, the new system has a higher probability of a visa for a master's degree holder because they have a chance in the general lottery after not being selected in the advanced degree lottery.
Jeny George
I am fairly new to statistics and probability, I'm currently studying for a career change. I was asked this question but I don't know how to navigate through and get to any kind of an answer.

Previously, the government conducted a lottery to award visas to 20,000 advanced-degree holders first. Those who weren't chosen then got a second chance with the other H-1B petitions in a larger 65,000-visa lottery. This year, instead of conducting the advanced-degree lottery first, USCIS will run the regular H-1B cap lottery to meet the 65,000-visa quota with all advanced-degree earners included. It will then put the remaining applicants with U.S. master's degrees or higher into the separate lottery for 20,000 visas.

What’s the increased probability for a masters student given that there are 3 lottery attempts?

Assume 190000 total applicants with 90000 being masters students

Is there a possible explanation for this?

Jeny George said:
I am fairly new to statistics and probability, I'm currently studying for a career change. I was asked this question but I don't know how to navigate through and get to any kind of an answer.

Previously, the government conducted a lottery to award visas to 20,000 advanced-degree holders first. Those who weren't chosen then got a second chance with the other H-1B petitions in a larger 65,000-visa lottery. This year, instead of conducting the advanced-degree lottery first, USCIS will run the regular H-1B cap lottery to meet the 65,000-visa quota with all advanced-degree earners included. It will then put the remaining applicants with U.S. master's degrees or higher into the separate lottery for 20,000 visas.

What’s the increased probability for a masters student given that there are 3 lottery attempts?

Assume 190000 total applicants with 90000 being masters students

Is there a possible explanation for this?

Hi Jeny George, welcome to MHB! ;)

Let's take a look at the old system.Old system for holder of master's degree

The probability that a holder of a master's degree gets a visa in the 20000 lottery is:
$$P(\text{visa in advanced degree lottery}) = \frac{\text{Number awarded}}{\text{Number participants}} = \frac{20\,000}{90\,000} = \frac 29$$
The probability they do not get chosen in this first lottery is then $\frac 79$.

The ones that were not chosen get a second chance.
There are $90\,000-20\,000=70\,000$ that were not chosen. So in the general lottery each of them has another chance of:
$$P(\text{visa in general lottery}) = \frac{\text{Number awarded}}{\text{Number participants}} = \frac{65\,000}{190\,000 + 70\,000} = \frac{1}{4}$$

If the master got a visa in the first lottery it stops.
However, there is a chance he did not get it, and if that chance applies he gets a chance in the general lottery.
The total chance for a master to get a visa in the old system is then:
$$\begin{array}{lcl}P(\text{master gets visa}) &=&& P(\text{visa in advanced degree lottery})\\ &&+& P(\text{did not get visa in advanced degree lottery AND gets visa in general lottery})\\ &=&& P(\text{visa in advanced degree lottery})\\ &&+& P(\text{did not get visa in advanced degree lottery})\cdot P(\text{visa in general lottery})\\ &=&& \frac 29 + \frac 79 \cdot \frac 14 \end{array}$$Next is to do the same for the new system to find the increase in probability.

Btw, it's not clear to me yet what is meant that there are 3 lottery attempts.
Aren't there 2 lottery attempts in both the old and the new system?
Can you clarify?

I sincerely apologize for the late reply. To clarify your doubt, there is a 3 year OPT period after your done with your masters. So 1 attempt for each year which is what is meant by 3 attempts above.

## 1. How is the probability of winning a Masters Degree H-1B Visa lottery calculated?

The probability of winning a Masters Degree H-1B Visa lottery is calculated by dividing the total number of available visas for Masters degree holders by the total number of applicants. For example, if there are 20,000 visas available and 100,000 applicants, the probability would be 20,000/100,000 or 20%.

## 2. What factors affect the probability of winning a Masters Degree H-1B Visa lottery?

The main factor that affects the probability of winning a Masters Degree H-1B Visa lottery is the number of available visas and the number of applicants. Other factors that may play a role include the country of origin, education level, and job market demand for certain skills.

## 3. Is the probability of winning a Masters Degree H-1B Visa lottery the same every year?

No, the probability of winning a Masters Degree H-1B Visa lottery can vary from year to year depending on the number of available visas and the number of applicants. It is also affected by changes in immigration policies and global economic conditions.

## 4. How can I increase my chances of winning a Masters Degree H-1B Visa lottery?

There is no guaranteed way to increase your chances of winning a Masters Degree H-1B Visa lottery. However, some ways to potentially improve your chances include having a high level of education, in-demand skills, and a job offer from a reputable company in the United States.

## 5. What happens if I do not win the Masters Degree H-1B Visa lottery?

If you do not win the Masters Degree H-1B Visa lottery, your application will be automatically entered into the regular H-1B Visa lottery. This gives you another chance to be selected for a visa, but the chances of winning are even lower in this category.