H1B Visa 2016 Lottery Predictions Factors USCIS

H1B Visa 2016 Lottery Predictions – Analysis, News, Date, Results

In H1B Visa by KumarUpdated : 187 Comments

As I look back, it just amazes me that this is the sixth year of doing the H1B lottery predictions starting with H1B FY 2011 Predictions.  Time just flies! So far, all these years our predictions have been very accurate and hope to continue the trend this year too J.  We will look at some historical data of the past, H1B cap reach dates, work visas situation, and various macro-economic factors and do our analysis for H1B Visa 2016 lottery predictions.

Updated : H1B FY 2016 had lottery as we predicted below with about 233,000 Petitions filed towards that. If you are looking for FY 2017 related predictions, you should read article H1B Visa 2017 Lottery Predictions, News and Dates

Analysis of USCIS Historic Data – H1B Cap reach dates from FY 2004 to 2015

The below graphs illustrates the H1B cap reach dates from early 2004 all the way until H1B FY 2015 quota.  As highlighted in the graph, it is very clear that the US economy primarily drives the demand for H1B visa highly skilled technical workers.  Last couple of years were crazy with quite a bit of H1-B petitions filed. As we did in our H1B Visa 2015 predictions, USCIS received about 172,500 petitions.  We will look at the US economy and other factors in detail below, but as per the graph trend below, it is very likely that we will have a lottery for FY 2016.

H1B Visa 2016 Lottery Predictions

H1B Visa 2016 Lottery Prediction Analysis by various Factors

Every year there are various factors that impact the H1B Visa petitions filings, it ranges from US economy to USCIS immigration policies changes, including students influx volume into USA…Let’s look at each of them. For clarity sake, will divide them into two categories…one that increases the H1B Visas demand and other that will pull it down.

Factors that can INCREASE Number of H1B Visa Applications:

Some of the factors below are macro-economic in nature, some are very specific tied to past events and situations.

  • US Economy – GDP Growth: If you look at the GDP growth rate graph below, it is pretty clear that the US economy is doing absolutely fine, except a small hiccup in early 2014. As per the WSJ US GDP forecast, the growth in 2015 looks solid at 3% and better than 2014’s growth of 2.6%.  This growth is primarily driven by the long lasting lower oil prices. What it means is for US businesses is that they will invest more and hire more people for jobs, which directly increases the demand for highly skilled labor, leading to more H1B visas sponsorship. US Economy and H1B 2016 Impact
  • Unemployment rate in USA : The unemployment rate in US has been constantly falling and the below graph clearly illustrates the trend. Currently, it is about 5.5% compared to 10% in 2009. This is a very positive sign for H1B visa holders because, there are less people in US who are jobless and it directly implies that the highly skilled labor demand would be more and companies would need to do H1B sponsorships to cater to the demand.  US Unemployment rate and H1B 2016 Impact
  • Missed H1B FY 2015 Lottery Applicants: Only 85,000 applications were picked last year from the lottery of 172,500 H1B 2015 applications received by USCIS. So, about 87,500 applications were not picked. If not, all of them at least good half to one third of them could potentially apply for H1B Visa this year.
  • Internationals students on F1 visa in USA – Graduating, Expiring OPTs, 17 month OPT extensions: According to the IIE Report, the international students grew by about 8.1% in 2013-14. Many of these new students may not apply, but the students from prior years of 2012, 2013 who would graduate this year or with expiring OPT could potentially apply for this year H1B visa. Also, the key thing is STEM graduates with 17 month OPT who would have graduated almost 2 years ago would very likely apply for H1B, if they have not done yet. All of these adds a lot of demand for H1B visa applications.F1 Students Applying H1B Visa FY 2016

Factors that can DECREASE the Number of H1B Visa Applications:

  • H4 Visa EAD rule: As many of you know, H4 Visa EAD rule was passed and will be effective from May 26, 2015. This rule essentially enables certain H4 Visa holder with an approved I-140 or H1B extended beyond 6 years under AC21, apply for EAD.  The impact of this rule is significant as about 179,600 H4 visa holders are eligible for EAD with this rule.  Many of those H4 visa holders, who probably planned to apply for this year quota, would NOT apply for H1B 2016. The simple reason is that EAD gives them more options to work and there is no reason to go through lottery, when they can get a work permit as a dependent on H4.
  • H1B Rules Tightened, Fees, RFEs : Over the last few years, the H1B rules are more strict  with Neufeld H1B visa memo introduced  in Jan 2010 and H1B visa filing fee was raised by $2000 during recession, which was in effect until September 30, 2014…still the USCIS H1B fees section shows this fees listed, not sure what’s the status on this fee. Also, there have been good number of H1B RFEs and Rejections in the last few years. Some large companies like Infosys have been hit with immigration breaches in the past and many IT consulting companies have been in trouble with these rules…All of these factors will NOT encourage employers to file for H1B visa petition, unless there is a real need.

 Now, What the judgment on Analysis? What is the Lottery Prediction? 

Well, the factors that influence the increase in the H1B Applications weigh much more than the ones that can decrease them…so, there will be H1B Lottery for FY 2016 quota. The next question is how many petitions will be filed with USCIS?  Despite the H4 visa EAD rule, I strongly believe that the demand is historically high and there are many people who are in need of H1B visa.  As far as the numbers go, based on above factors, we expect that USCIS can receive anywhere between 170,000 to 200,000 H1B petitions for fiscal year of 2016.

Also, below are the couple of questions everyone would be thinking about…

When is the H1B Visa 2016 Lottery Date?

USCIS will accept H1B petitions for the FY 2016 during the first 5 business days starting from April 1st, which would be until close of business day of April 7th . Last year, the H1B Lottery was conducted on April 10th, 2014. We expect similar dates this year either it could be April 10th or the week of April 13th, depending on the number of petitions received as USCIS has to deal with initial paperwork for conducting lottery.

When can you expect H1B Visa 2016 lottery results?

This is a very tricky question, it depends on various factors and there is no time limit set as such for this, unless you filed under premium processing. Usually, many of the selected petitions in lottery would receive the receipt numbers starting with premium processing cases and then regular processing cases. They can start coming in from April 13th all the way for couple of months or more depending on the work load of USCIS.  Also, last year, the H1B applications not selected in Lottery were rejected and returned to employers/attorney as late as end of June 2014, so it can be quite frustrating to wait….All in all, there is going to be quite a bit of wait folks and be ready for it…!

What is your guess for the H1B Visa 2016 Lottery prediction?

Any other factors that can influence the FY 2016 applications volume ?

Any other thoughts to share ?

Credits : for US GDP and Unemployment Graphs :  http://www.tradingeconomics.com/united-states/


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Comments ( 187 )

  1. Bostonh1b

    One of my friend just found out her check is cashed this morning.she is AD/RP/VT. I guess AD/RP is speeding up and PP is almost over.
    I am NON-AD/RG,we still have to wait.I haven’t heard many with NON-AD/RG is being selected.

      1. Vikram

        whether the lottery depends upon the date on which its filed, this year it was from April 1 to April 7 , what if it was filed on 6-7 ??

  2. Yogesh

    I got receipt with regular process, last year my all friend selected in regular process so i would say from my personal 3 times of experience that there is more chances to select in lottery with regular process instead of premium.

  3. Yogesh

    just, got Receipt today, Finally selected in 2016 lottery with my 3rd try.

    So don’t loose your passion i was struggling since 2013 for H1 with master degree, first 2 time i did premium processing but this time i did with regular process and selected.

    1. Vignesh

      Hey Yogesh,
      Good luck and congrats for you getting selected.
      Please share us the details on how you received the updates. I believe the results would be sent through mail post. Just curious to know more details.

    2. ke

      Hey, could you tell me how do you know you are selected? Since you are not premium, should you supposed to know the result around mid May?

        1. Yogesh

          yes, in receipt say received date is April 12th so i am assuming they did lottery for regular processing at 12th april, and in receipt says notice date is April 17th, so i am assuming they send me receipt at 17th April, but i did from regular and picked up and got receipt in reguler mail at 23rd April.

          1. Harpreet Harry

            Whether all the results are out even regular processing??
            we are not geting any update as of now from employer

          2. Harry

            My one is regular processing whether all results of lottery are out??
            from where we can get information,as of now no update from employer

  4. Ram


    How to check the status of the lottery. Kindly share the webiste address where we can check and what all information is required to check the status.I have filed in normal processing

  5. Anil

    Dear Fellow H1B seekers,
    I want to share my Experience Here to help others who is desperately seeking H1B.My H1B application got picked in Lottery.

    H1B Application-> 1 Application
    Center -> Vermont
    Degree-> Bachelors
    Process -> Premium.

    I hope the above details can help you and I wish all the Good Luck and Pray God to get H1B for those who is really Seeking.

      1. Ash

        No email from Fragoman yet. I checked the status of my receipt number in USCIS and it is showing that case is approved. It was a premium processing.

        1. SAM

          As yours is premium process it has been updated early than others..Thanks for sharing the information Ash..All the very best for your masters.

    1. ravish

      Hi, when we will know about the results, i am very curious whether my profile got picked in lottery or not and my employer not revealing anything as of now

        1. Bob

          Oh.. Alright.. It is for premium…..Whatever ….wait will be answered in a month……. Fingers crossed….. Good luck to you toooo…………

  6. Andy

    Im getting a masters in public health and aiming to get a doctor of dental surgery.
    Visa expires in 2017 and i still have 2 years of study to go.
    How many attempts will i get to acquire h1b status?
    Will i be considered in masters cap as well cz i have masters degree from the states?

    1. Lu

      You can apply for the masters cap quota if your masters degree is from an accredited nonprofit or public university.I don’t know about how many visa attempts you can have or if there is any restrictions on how many times you try it.

  7. lucky

    So, if we file the petition twice, will this be rejected directly or if both are picked in lottery, then only they will reject the application?

  8. inspire

    Al d best to each and everyone who has filed fr H1… Pray n hope that ur application was picked in the lottery. Waiting period to gt d receipt begins!!!!

  9. lucky

    If we have filed 2 applications with 2 different technologies, will be der any kind of rejection due to multiple applications?

  10. H1B Aspirant


    The below 2 factors are making people anxious:

    1. People are predicting less numbers bcoz of new H4 rules and ease of getting L1. This is very gud for H1 B aspirant.

    2. I work in an IT MNC in India. This time the num of applications from all major IT companies have gone up.

  11. Red Neck

    bob- the USCIS numbers are out and it seems like they pooped on your analysis! So much for your expert analysis. Lottery this year as well.

    1. Superman

      Don’t know what you mean by “USCIS numbers are out”. Everyone knew, long before the cap season started, there would be a lottery. No public info about the numbers of submissions (Master’s cap/Regular cap) yet (the numbers are NOT out), and when that’s announced, the “expert analysis” may very well turn out to be accurate.

  12. Adriana

    I need to travel with work from April 14th until April 16th. My company filled for my H1B visa this fiscal year.

    Would I have an issue re-entering the US on the 16th? My F1 visa has not expired, and I have a valid EAD.

    Please advise.

    1. Ujwal

      As long as you have F1 OPT till after Oct 1st, you should be good. If not, you will have a problem. You cannot work between your F1 expiration and October 1st(this is when your H1B visa starts).


    Dear All,

    Can I know when are we going to get the results (approximate date) of the Lottery, like picked up in Lottery.

    Nagaraj patil

  14. SacKum

    Is it pure lottery I.e. pure luck or USCIS must be applying some rule while picking H1B cases to have the correct people for the country, as much as they can make sure.

  15. Sunny18

    Adv-Degree Regular Total P(AD) P(Reg) Effective Prob for AD
    40,000 140,000 180,000 50% 38% 69%
    40,000 160,000 200,000 50% 34% 67%
    45,000 140,000 185,000 44% 37% 65%
    45,000 160,000 205,000 44% 33% 63%
    50,000 160,000 210,000 40% 32% 59%
    50,000 180,000 230,000 40% 29% 57%
    1. Only 61,000 visas are considered in general as visas are kept aside for Singapore and Chile nationals
    2. Formula used is: P(AD)+[1-P(AD)]*P(Reg)

  16. Bhavin

    Every need to wait at least 5 working day last Friday was holiday, I guess lottery announcement will be happened on 8 April, wait for till that any enjoy ..

    1. Superman

      The official H-1 premium processing starting date is 5/11 this year vs. 4/28 last year. So expect 10-15 day delay in the lottery announcement compared to last year, i.e., the announcement should come later this week or some time next week.

  17. USADreamer

    Hi Kumar,

    It’s 4th April today here in India. Do you have any unofficial update about the number of petitions received by USCIS so far??

  18. packers

    Hi Kumar,
    Thanks for the informative analysis and useful comments by others. Can you please reply to my email ID with your contact details. I would like to discuss about few questions I have


  19. Jha

    I think it shall be more than last year. Just based on intuition :).
    Around ~200K.
    I consider the US current and future economy plays it more than any thing else. As H-1B is not limited to filing from India only.
    Easing of L-1B news came very late to have any impact on it. Also it is just a news as of now.
    All the best to all aspirants who have applied for FY2016.

  20. Mahesh

    Everyone expected the count to be very high above 200k this year.. But it us going to be equal to less than last year. Even my company initially estimated count to be too high and started initiating visas for more people to increase lottery chances.but now they have decided not to file more and file only what are required..

  21. Md. Abdur Rob Khan

    Dear Sir/ Madam
    I have completed Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Bangladesh in 1988 . Right now working in Bangladesh . I completed graduate course under F1 visa at 2011 from “American Institute of Baking ” ( AIB ) Manhattan , Kansas . I have also B1/B2 visa vail up to 2020 .
    Now i want to work in USA and need H1 B Visa 2016 . For H1 B how can i proceed and list of genuine Sponser / Employer . Pls advise.
    Md. Abdur Rob Khan

    1. Kashif

      You are late bro. You can try next year for H1b. If you are doing any job why not go ahead with your greens card instead of H1b which is a pain to get.

  22. Akif Dadan

    My employer in India does not share any details.
    The internal system shares a unique ID (which is generated internally).
    They do not share any application number through which you can track your status, and after a couple of months they will inform whether you are selected in lottery.
    Is there any other way to know whether your application has been sent to USCIS and its status ?

  23. Vijay


    My application is not selected in the lottery for last 2 years. Will USCIS consider history of those applications and give priority?

    Thanks in advance,


    1. Mahesh

      I dont think there is any such consideration. However most of my frnds who missed it for the first time in lottery got througj the second time..infact all of them that I know of. So stay calm.even my petition was not selected last time. So hoping for the best.

  24. Adolfo

    Hi Kumar,

    Thanks for the info. In case some people have more than one application and two or more of them are approved, how does USCIS proceed? Whay if someone is selected and then back off, do they assign that visa to another application? And does the degree matter at that point?

      1. Dhruvak Chokshi

        Hey Bob…
        Thanks for comments…
        Could you please elaborate why do you expect prediction will be 120k to 130k this year?

  25. JasonH1Seeker

    Hey guys!! I have applied with 25 different Consulting companies, did not want to take the risk and fail again as 2014. If I don’t get this year I will give up and stay in my country.

    Good Luck to all!!

    1. bob

      Bcoz multiple applications you have high chance of clearing lottery. But my friend lottery selection does not mean approval. Bcoz of applications from multiple employers you have very strong chance of strong RFE or even rejection. USCIS is tracking authenticity of multi applications this year.

    2. bob

      I am assuming you have paid for 25 application. The USCIS assumes same for folks who apply with multiple employers. Therefore USCIS will be tracking authenticity of multi applications. If would have bought state lottery for the amount you might have paid for h1 lottery, you had high chance of winning MILLIONS USD! which you might not save in H1 job. Think about it!

      1. mk

        hey bob.. he is just bluffing.. do u think he can pay for 25 h1b applications.. or 25 companies are ready to hire this guy.. no way… just relax and stay calm… all the best..

  26. bob

    Also there will be lot of rejections for folks applying with multiple employers, doubtful employers etc. This will also roll up to select more cases

      1. bob

        Multiple factors.
        1. L1B are getting approved nowasdays.
        2. This year in H1 It will mass RFE and rejections for folks applying with multiple employers and also small or doubtfully companies.
        3. H4 EAD rule will reduce application count in H1.
        4. I 140 EAD rule implemented last year will further reduce application
        5. Indian companies are selective this year to file H1b since majority of their employees going on site just switch companies. This constitute a major chunk of applications. Like last year there was 30k application just from one indian IT company. The USCIS has questioned this company.
        6. This year Americans joining IT market from college is more than ever. Genuine companies prefer to hire Americans over H1 as it saves cost n hassles of visa.

        1. bob

          My prediction is that there will be around 120 to 130k applications this year in FY 16. Similar to what we had few years ago. Contact me if my prediction goes right or wrong.

          1. HopeItsCorrect

            Hi Bob, Hope you are correct which will increase chance for everyone who applied. But I doubt your predictions.. IMO as well it wont be below 200K this year. I am working for MNC and see that my company has applied for H1B for many of the folks even with exp 2 yrs or less. My organization is generally choosy while applying for H1 but this time I dont see that choosiness. Another Indian IT company has the same thing happened.. thought it usually applies many every year this year its huge from their side too. So general trend I see here is huge number of applications from all IT MNCs.

          2. HopeItsCorrect

            and yeah this is my second year for H1 last time I did not get selected.. hoping for the best this time.. this would be the last time I will be applying for US visa.

          3. DGN

            Hey Bob,

            Thanks Bro don’t what would be the count but by reading through your analysis makes my mind cool & Relaxed.


        2. raju

          Hi Bob,

          Can you please provide us the evidence or circular from USCIS as they will reject or issue RFE for those candidates who apply through multiple employers. OR do confirm on what basis you are commenting this.


  27. SAM

    Thanks for giving such a clear analysis. Your analysis cleared many questions in mind. Thanks a lot Kumar.

    All the best for co-appliciants.

  28. Sunny18

    First of all, thank you for the great work you’ll are doing!

    I had applied last year under regular processing and my petition was rejected. This year I will be applying again but under Advanced Degree and this is my last chance to make it. So, I have been following every piece of news that’s coming.

    I estimate the following:
    Total visas ~ 225,000 – 250,000
    Master’s Students ~ 40,000 – 50,000
    Probability under Advanced Degree ~ 70-75%
    Probability under Non-AD ~ 30%

    I wish all applicants the very best!

        1. Sunny18

          No, traditionally the breakup of AD and non-AD applications hasn’t been given out by USCIS. But this year USCIS will be revealing the applications under AD and non-AD (check out the table in the link):


          1. administrator

            Sunny, Prat,
            The table always existed in the last 6 years. Its significance comes in, when there is no lottery and USCIS updates the H1B Applications received weekly. Check out the H1B 2012 Tracker page , where the AD applications count is tracked weekly.

    1. administrator

      Lok, it is just the work load they handle and volume of H1B petitions they need to handle around April 1st week. USCIS has lot more other things to do besides H1B..so they take time… The actual start date for the applications is October 1st, so they may be looking at it from that perspective to process the same.

  29. Prat

    Thanks for the insightful analysis.
    Is there an estimate of how many Masters students would apply for H1B this year? Any idea about last year as well?

    1. administrator

      It is very hard to judge that number as USCIS does not give the split whenever there is a lottery. They just mention that USCIS received more than 20,000 petitions required for Masters quota.

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