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H1B Historical Data – Lottery vs 85K Quota, Masters vs Regular Split

As part of the H1B Registration Process regulation document, DHS revealed many of their internal H1B statistics data regarding petitions filed, overall lottery numbers, premium petitions, US masters vs Regular quota filings, etc. This H1B data used to be only provided on request and not widely published to everyone. Now, it is officially published. Below are some of the H1B historical data stats from the document and our analysis on the same.

H1B Lottery – Actual Petitions Selected vs Standard Cap of 85K.

As per our Historical H1B Cap Reach Dates, Lottery Data, we have seen lottery since year 2013 and has never slowed down. As you all know, the overall H1B visa cap is 85,000( 65,000 is regular quota and 20,000 is US Masters quota). USCIS has said in the past that they pick more petitions than 85,000 in the H1B Visa Lottery accounting for the denials, revocations, and other reasons, but they never revealed the actual numbers publicly to everyone.  Below is the historical data trend from Years 2013 to 2017 on how many additional petitions they have picked.  On an average is about 12,000 petitions and about 14.3% of more petitions selected. We can estimate that about 14.3% or around 12,000 of petitions are either denied or revoked annually. We have also put the same in graph for better visualization, see below.

H1B Cap-Subject Petitions Years 2013-2017 – Percentage of Extra H1B Petitions Selected Overs 85K Cap

YearTotal H1Bs Filed with USCISOverall H1Bs Selected in LotteryAdditional H1B Petitions Picked in LotteryPercentage of Petitions Over Standard Cap of 85,000

Historical Data  – Extra H1B Petitions Picked during H1B Lottery Process

Percentage of Extra H1B Petitions Selected Overs 85K Cap

H1B Visa Regular and US Masters Quota Petitions Split – Historical Trend

USCIS never disclosed the exact split of US Masters’ degree quota filed H1B petitions and Regular Quota petitions. If you look at the trend from 2013 to 2017, the number of US Masters quota petitions keep increasing, while the regular quota petitions filing continue to reduce. Within a span of 5 years, the US masters quota has almost doubled, which indicates more Masters students in US are applying for H1B, than internationals living abroad planning to move to US for work.  With this trend, we can anticipate that more US Masters students will continue to apply in upcoming years.

H1B Regular and Masters Cap Petitions Filed Split percentage, count

YearTotal H1Bs Filed with USCISRegular Cap PetitionsMasters Cap PetitionsRegular Cap %Masters Cap %
H1B Cap Count Split for FY 2020

Below is the data from USCIS website from 2019 captured, when the page existed. Now it is replaced. 

Historical Data  – H1B Regular vs Masters Quota filed Petitions Split Percentage

H1B Petitions Regular vs Masters Split - Historical Trend

H1B Premium Processing Filings by Year – Historical Trend.

If you have filed for H1B petition in regular processing, you would have been waiting for a very long time and every year it was taking even longer… But, it was not clear, why the wait kept worsening every year. It was assumed that USCIS load was high due to premium processing and they had a deadline of 15 calendar days. Now that we have data, we know exactly the ration of numbers and why overall regular H1B Processing times  took more time. As you can see below, since 2013, every year the percentage of Premium processing petitions kept on increasing from 25.15% to 32% in 2016. That’s when USCIS realized that they need to do something and in 2017 USCIS suspended premium processing to manage the load.

H1B Cap-Subject Petitions FY 2013-2016 – Premium Processing Filed

YearTotal H1Bs Filed with USCISOverall H1Bs Selected in LotteryPremium Processing FiledPercentage of Premium Processing Filed

Historical Data  – H1B Premium Processing Petitions filing Trend

Percentage of H1B Premium Processing Filings History

Overall, all of these numbers give us an idea of how the H1B program is used by various types of applicants and how USCIS handles them and estimate denials and future H1B filing trends.

What do you think of the above H1B Visa Historical stats? Any further insights ?

References : Official H1B Registration Rule in Federal Register


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  1. Can I get information about, total percentage of master degree holders ,selected , and applied, v/s bachelor degree holders

  2. Does this new process is going to increase the number of H1-b applications for lottery, as it is just 10$ registration fee before lottery. If yes, what could be the expected applications for upcoming year ?

  3. Hi Kumar,

    Can you pls answer to below question. I just heard USCIS is temporarily withdrawn 240 days rule for H1 B extension and we Can work after 240 days as well until we get decision. I don’t see any news on Website. Do you have any idea on same. Can you play share your Thoughts

  4. I understand in regular category means (Non-Advanced degree from US). In H1B lottery system all the IT people and other technology people (like: construction, design, procurement etc.) in Regular category. Is there any quota for IT vs other technology?


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