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H1B visa 2013 Predictions ? Lottery ? Data Analysis

Are you looking for H1B FY 2014 predictions ?
Check out H1B Visa 2014 Lottery prediction- USCIS Data Analysis

As most of you know, in general, USCIS accepts H1B visa petitions for the next fiscal year beginning April 1st of previous year. Last year USICS did a press release on March 18th, 2011, indicating that it would accept H1B visas for Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 starting April 1st. As of today, we do not have any official press release from USCIS stating the date of accepting H1B visa petitions for fiscal year 2013. But, it is assumed, based on previous history, that USICS would accept H1B visa petitions starting on April 1st. So, we can assume that for H1B visa FY 2013, USCIS would start to accept H1B petitions from April 2nd, as April 1st is Sunday. Also, Some of you may have followed the H1B visa 2013 plan we suggested. As we had H1B lottery in some of the previous years, some of you might be curious to know the lottery situation of H1B visa filings for fiscal year 2013.  As I am not an oracle, I believe in past data for any predictions. Check out below graph.

H1B visa cap reach dates by year from FY 2004 to FY 2012.

H1B visa 2013 Lottery Prediction

From the graph, it is very clear that US economy is recovering from recession as the H1B cap for FY 2012 reached in November 2011, whereas it was January 26 for FY 2011.  What can we expect for FY 2013 ?   Based on the above data analysis,we can definitely tell that H1B cap reach date for fiscal year 2013 would be earlier than November. What it would mean is that the number of petitions filed before that would be more…But, would that mean there will be a H1B lottery ? In my view, it is very unlikely to have H1B lottery for fiscal year 2013. I say that because of the below reasons :

  • Rules for H1B petition filings have become stringent with additional requirements Neufeld H1B visa memo
  • H1B visa filing fee has raised by $2000 during recession
  • H1B visa rejection rates were  about 17% in 2011
  • US unemployment rate is still at very high rate of 8.3 %
  • Masters degree holders of STEM category are eligible for 17 month OPT extension

All the above reasons are not very encouraging for H1B sponsors. With all these complexities, employers are very cautious about selecting candidates for H1B employment and visa sponsorship. In fact, the rate of H1B filings by consulting companies have gone down drastically after the new guidelines for H1B visa filings in 2011.

If there is no lottery, the next question that comes to everyone’s mind is that how many petitions would be filed on first day ( April 2nd) of H1B filings ? Well, for H1B visa FY 2012, we had about 5,900 for regular cap and 4,500 for masters degree quota. Also, for H1B visa FY 2011, we had about    13,500 for regular quota and 5,600 for advanced degree quota. Honestly, we cannot predict the H1B cap count numbers as they are driven by various factors. But, just for the sake of prediction, we can take a wild guess based on the concept of averages, I would go with a range of 7,000  to 9,000 for regular quota and about 5,000 to 6,000 for masters degree quota.

Check out our H1B visa FY 2013 cap count Tracker

You can also check out our last year’s H1B visa FY 2012 lottery prediction.

What are your predictions ?

Image credits ( modified ) : http://www.flickr.com/photos/skewgee/6547339715/ 


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  1. For the application filed in April 2013, till which month or what date can we expect the status of the application filed.


  2. Hi All,

    All the comments in this blog is very useful,
    I have a question , i have got an offer letter from a premier IT company of USA, they are filing my H1B for 2014, they have given me a fedex courier tracking no. which shows it was picked up from NJ on 29th March 2013 and received on 1st April in California. The HR recruiter is saying this is your fedex tracking no. we are waiting for your EAC. Friends here i have a question, how many dayz it takes to get my EAC#, is my petition filed sucessfully , shall i consider this..? a quick reply is appriciable. Thanks Sanjay

  3. Hi
    Unemployment rate is still more than 7%


    1. Can we say safely that H1B cap would remain open till May 10 at least?
    2. I am asking because I can only start work(already in US) from Jan 1, 2014 and not Oct 1, 2014 so we can file LCA 6 months before the job start date, Right? (planning to take medical leave in Nov and Dec)

  4. My son is in the final year ( Last semester) of B Tech course. He was selected by a US company in the campus. His result will be coming only by June 2013.. Company wants the candidates to join by Oct 2013. We understand that company can only file for H1B visa with 8 semester results as per the US visa policy..

    Want to know whether the cap for H1B visa will be available upto June 15th..
    Want to know whether they can submit any other documents from college ,hence company can file for H1B by April 2013..

      1. Most likely no
      2. I don’t think so. Can the employer file H-1 based on his Bachelors (if he qualifies for the position based on just the Bachelors) in the non-advanced-degree cap?

  5. Hi,

    Thank you so much for the information and updates about the H1b visa! Is very helpful. I have a quick question.
    I have 6 years of college, 2 1/2 in and I community college and the rest in a 4 year college in WI. I graduated with the a degree on Accounting eligible for a CPA.

    In my senior year I started an internship with a local corporation and after graduating I got hired with my OPT visa that will expire by next may. So I have roughly one year of experience.
    My company is more than willing to help me with my H1b visa and all the costs. We actually already started the process with an big immigration law firm and we are just wating for April.
    My question is. How high are my chances to get the visa? Being in the US and already working in the company

    Thanks a lot. Jose Vasquez

    • Hello Jose,

      Your chances are just the same as everyone elses, H1b visas are given out on a first come, first serve basis. As long as you apply by around the first week of April, you should be in the clear.

  6. I have done MSc in Chemistry and done 2 years professional diploma at NIIT training institute. I have 7.5 years exp in IT. Am I eligible to apply for H1B?

    • Suresh kumar,
      My suggestion is to get your degrees and marksheets evaluated by an equivalency agency in US. They will determine the US equivalent of your education. If it comes out as 4 years, then you are eligible for H-1. If it comes out less, then you need at least 3 years of relevant work experience for each missing year of education to become eligible.

        • Suresh Kumar,
          You may be eligible, but as you have done 3+2 it doesn’t necessarily mean 4 years of college degree. There are other factors that go into consideration to get the US equivalent. You can find an employer willing to sponsor H-1, and they can get the educational equivalency done for you.

  7. Hi ,
    I am an Engg Graduate from Mumbai University post which I worked in Infosys for 29 months. After that I pursued MBA and now working in Infosys after MBA for the past 8 months. Can I apply for an H1 visa.? I mean externally through consultants?

    • Manasi Das,
      You look eligible for H-1. So an employer (consulting or otherwise) can apply H-1 for you for a specialized job that you qualify for.

  8. Currently I am working in India. A Consultancy from US Filed H1 b petition for me and it got approved. Recently I have attended H1 b visa interview in Chennai, after interview, VO told that they sending my H1 b petition for revocation to USCIS. I have valid b1 visa valid for 10 years. Current employer in India sending me to US in next month.
    if I go to US on B1 visa, can I work from there using my approved H1 b petition without coming to India ??

    • Sai,
      If you come to US on B-1, then you need to perform only the B-1 duties. If you plan to work on H-1, then the employer needs to file COS from B-1 to H-1 and you can start working on H-1 only once the COS has been approved.

  9. Hi,

    I am 3 year Bachelor degree holder(in Information Technology) with 8 years of experience. I am with current employer for last 3 year and with previous employer worked for 5 yrs.

    Do I fulfill the criteria for H1B in terms of education and experience ? Please advice.

    Thanks in advance for the help!!!

    • Rohit,
      From outside, you seem to be qualified for the H-1 position. Still, your employer should get the degrees evaluated by an education equivalency agency and show that you have enough experience in lieu of missing years of education.

  10. Hi ,

    my company have just now raised for my H1B for 2013 .

    i am bcom graduate and require 6yrs exp and need 6yrs experience as per criteria .. but my 6yrs will be completed on 5th april 2013 ..

    will i eligible under experience criteria .

    • abdul hafeez kalsekar,
      Does your education qualifies you as a 2 year college degree equivalent? I am asking this as you said you need 6 years of experience, and that would be a H-1 requirement only if you have equivalent of 2 years of college degree.

  11. Hi Saurabh,
    I am currently a project manager in an IT firm in India. I have a total of 4.5 years of experience. Experience in last company is 2 years. My B1 visa has been rejected twice, I was going for business meetings. In my first application I was travelling for 6 weeks and I was a Sr. s/w engineer that time, in the second one I was promoted to PM (recently) and was travelling for 1 week. In both the cases I was going for genuine business purpose. But the VO rejected it suspecting I was going to work there. He didn’t check my documents even in both the denials. I tried to explain him but he refused and rejected under 214(b).
    However, my client in US is going apply for H1B in 2013, so —
    – How much is the probability that i’ll get visa this time after 2 B1 rejections?
    – What steps should I and my client in US take to get my H1B accepted?
    – Will the VO again reject it saying how come a PM will be going for H1B?
    – How much is the probability that an H1B is rejected?

    • Swarup,
      1. It should not impact as 214(b) usually doesn’t impact H-1 processing and stamping
      2. Proper documents etc
      3. You need to be qualified for the offered H-1 position. They will have to show that the position is specialized enough and needs a PM
      4. Such numbers are not available/applicable

  12. Hi,
    My pitetion was filled on 29th May and i got the reciept num also, I am confused as on what basis they pick up profiles for approvals of RFE as many people from my team who’s pitetion was filed 6-9 days after me have got updated with approved/RFE status but mine is still Initial review. Can some one throw some light on this please

  13. Hi All,
    I have filed my H1B COS form L1 to H1 on June 5th on regular filing and received receipt on June 7th Per USCIS, my question is how long usually it takes for approval? My understanding was due to this year filing magnitude it will take around 90 days. However one of my friend you filed a month back have received his approval 2 weeks back. Wondering is that was the duration is currently taken my USCIS for approval?

    Note: He filed on regular quota.


  14. hi all
    I’m currently waiting for my visa approval. It was filed on april 15th.
    I have a question:
    I have been recently promoted from Software engineer to Senior software engineer.
    I still havent got my approval. Will this be a problem?

    Waiting for reply

  15. Hi Saurabh,

    My employer had applied for an H1B visa for me and it recently got approved. I need to now appear for the Interview for stamping.
    Is there any possibility of rejection at stamping? My employer is a reputed one and has not had any rejections till date. The salary offered to me is as per the industry standards. This is my first job and I am directly employed by the US petitioner (my employer).Also, is there anything that I should prepare for in order to make sure that the interview goes well?


  16. My employer filed my H1B. I got the receipt number from USCIS in JUNE 7, 2012. I am really worried how long it might take now. Please can anyone tell me how long it takes. … After accepting my documents is it true I will get H1B.. or… will they deny too.. please make me clear…

  17. Hi Saurabh,

    My H1B file petition got approved last week. I have filled in DS160 form and sent to our HR. So when can I expect the Visa interview ? Is there any restriction ( or rule ) ? Read in some blogs that Visa interview can be scheduled only 90 days before joining date in US. Is it so ?

    Please reply.


    • Bharath,
      As per VFS, one can go for H-1 stamping at most 90 days prior to H-1 start date. Also, HR seems to be managing the stamping process in your case, and you will have to check w/ them about the interview date. In general, if the dates are available you can go for stamping as early as July 1.

  18. Hi Saurabh,
    My application (premium processing) reached on Jun 11th. At that time my employer told that my application is accepted. He called me now and saying that we are in lottery. Is this correct?
    If that is correct please let me know when will I know my status. Please respond.

    • I don’t think there is a lottery……
      My file reached on 11th as well and I got the receipt number from my lawyer……..

      • Thanks for the reply david. I’ve just called him and asked him to give the correct info even if it is +ve or -ve. He again told that your application is not rejected. There may be lottery because of overflow of applications on last day. If your application is accepted you will get a receipt in a week. Please let me know your comments.

        • Hi Venkat,
          USICS has not declared lottery yet. So if your application reached on 11th you will be considered in CAP. You need to be patient for couple more days to receive the receipt.

    • Venkat,
      Ask him if it’s his hunch that there is a lottery or if he is relying on some official communication from USCIS. Like others mentioned, USCIS hasn’t used the ‘L’ word this year.

  19. Is it even possible file to petition for many peoples in one form I-129 without knowing details like DOB, FullName etc.

    What I understand from I-129 is you need to provide details of only one person & for others you can just mention numbers/name.

    Please correct me if I am wrong here.

    • Rahul,
      Separate I-129 needs to be filed for each employee. An employer can file LCA for multiple employees/positions, but one I-129 per employee.

      • Hi Saurabh,

        Does that mean I-129 can fill later and nothing to do with “Cap”. Only LCA is important to be filled before cap over.

        The problem is- I have got offer letter on Friday last week & my Employer told me that they have already filed petition in bulk. So I dont need to worry. How is it possible without knowing my details says DOB etc.
        And the tricky part is I have not accept the offer b’coz of less salary.

        Is this possible ? Or its like once I have to approve offer first & then they need to take next step to complete petition.

        Thanks in advance,

        • Rahul,
          I didn’t say that. LCA has nothing do w/ cap count. Cap count is increase by 1 only when I-129 has been filed and received by USCIS.

          Your employer is either confused or intentionally lying. H-1 cannot be filed w/o knowing your details. They might have filed LCAs in bulk, but I-129 still needs to be filed for you, and that is what will put you in the cap.

    • Siva,
      USCIS publishes the count every Monday, unless quota is reached in b/w of the week. At the moment, there is no new update from USCIS.

  20. All of you who visit the comments section today, please tell the date your LCA filed and the date approved. it is useful to many of us waiting to get LCA approval. Please post as a reply to this comment. Thanks

  21. Hi,

    My H1B got filed today. The company has not received the receipt of petition receipt from USCIS yet. It was filed under premium processing. What are the chances of it being considered for this year’s cap?


  22. Saurabh

    My company attorney has filed LCA on JUNE-1, 2012 and waiting for the approval to file my H1B………..Probably they may file my H1B to USCIS on next Monday, June 11, 2012…
    I am a PhD holder from American University…What are my chances of getting H1B so that I can start working from October 2012…..please respond!!

  23. Hi Saurabh,

    Is Indian IT companies having any kind of fixed qouta for USA visa? if yes then what is the approximate no. for top Indian IT cos like TCS Wipro and HCL.

    • C S Tiwari,
      Companies do not have any fixed quota. They might have internal caps on how many petitions they want to file each year, but USCIS doesn’t block any numbers for them.

  24. Hi Saurabh, My employer has filed a H1B petition for me today. What are the chances of me getting the Visa approved ? I’m an iOS Developer and have my B.E from Information-Science. Total experience ( 2years work experience + 6 Months internship )
    I just saw people getting rejected for H1B in immihelp.com site. He said H1B got rejected on 221-g and Visa officer told him ” Your salary is at the entry level”. What does this mean ?
    I can even disclose my salary if you want.. Please help me!!
    Thank you very much!


    • Bharath G M,
      Chances of approval vary from case to case. A person should be offered salary which is at least what’s mentioned in the LCA. It should also match person’s experience and skill set. In the example you mentioned, the person person might be having multiple years of experience, and being offered salary for an entry level position.

  25. Hi Shweta,
    My H1b petition got denied in 2011 And I moved to US last month on H4.
    I am yet to look out for a consultancy to file my H1 in 2013 cap.
    I am hearing that it is not advisable to go through consultancies for H1b filing because of the Neufeld memo by USCIS ( they ask for employee employer relationship which the consultancies can not justify leading to denial ) .How genuine is this ? What would you advise?
    ( I have 3 yrs of post MBA experience and 5 yrs of overall exp in IT in reputed MNC in India).
    Also, by looking at the significant spike in applications this year, by which month is the cap expected to be filled ? Badly need some advise regarding this!

    • Shweta,
      Filing through consulting companies carries a huge cloud of uncertainty. Best is to work for direct employers which are reputed. Next comes EC models and finally EVC model where you are working through a middle vendor. This should be least preferred way.

      I expect the cap to remain open till July-Aug this year.

    • there is no other way to apply h1b except through consultancy, denials are everyone’s problems.even my friend got rejected in 2011, he applied it again this year through another consultancy and he got it. and being on h4 u r legally not supposed to work.

    • even i work for cognizant india.there is lot of uncertanity even here with h1b’s.Its now problem for consultancies and even MNC’s to.rejection rates are rising even for cts, tcs, wipro, satyam….just apply it through a consultancy, thats the only way

  26. Hi,

    Just our of curiousity, everyone is talking more about the number of petitions being filed during first (working business) day, first week and first month of petition acceptance for FY 2013. Does it really mean much? Not sure how it goes, but incase petitions filed in first month are less than a few thousands, say 5000, and USCIS receives bulk of applications during the month of August, say 70000+ (may be practically difficult), I guess in that scenario too H1B lottery would come into picture for all the applications/ petitions, isn’t it? Kindly suggest.

    Thanks in Advance & HAND.


    • Harish,
      This is how lottery would work in this scenario.
      Aug 23: USCIS received 63K petitions
      Aug 24: USCIS receives 3K more petitions, taking the total count to 66K

      USCIS will conduct the lottery of just the 3K petitions received on Aug 24 and randomly select 2K petitions. The petitions received prior to Aug 24 will all be considered to have made through the quota and will not be subject to lottery.

  27. Hi ,

    I am currently on H4 and looking for H1B jobs . I have found a consultant who is willing to file my H1 in the month of June . I was worried if June would be too late to file a H1 because of the predictions of the economy doing good . your suggestion would be valuable to me

    • Vani,
      You can keep an eye on weekly counts released by USCIS. If it looks like quota is getting over quickly, you can check w/ employer if they can file it early. You can still talk to them now asking if they are willing to file it early in case it looks like quota won’t survive until June 2012.

  28. Sir,
    I am currently on STEM extension and my employer is filling H1B position for me.
    I entered USA in year 2003 on F1 visa for undergrad and then subsequently pursued my grad studies in year 2007-09. I own immovable property over here in US too.

    So in case of lottery if my petition is not selected, can USCIS may force me to leave US or what are my options in that situation?

    • Shreya,
      I don’t think there will be a lottery this time. However, in case your petition gets denied, then you will have to file another H-1 petition or leave US by the end of your F-1 term (OPT extension expiration date + 60 day grace period). If you qualify for any other visa, then you can move to that visa status as well.

  29. Its a pretty helpful information.
    However, I have heard major IT companies in India are opting for new H1-B in mass instead of going for L1 or L1 extensions (considering the rejection rate is higher in L1). What impact do you see?

    • Anuj,
      IMO, they would be cautious when filing H-1s in bulk. From their perspective the biggest concerns are increased salary (they can’t pay someone in INR like they used to on L-1) and the fact that a person can change employers on H-1. These were some of the reasons which drove them away from H-1 to L-1 and misuse the L-1 visa. So they may move towards H-1, but I don’t think they will file in bulk.


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