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H1B Visa 2017 Lottery Prediction, Analysis, News, Results

It has been over 7 years since we have been writing regarding the H1B visa predictions…In the previous years, we were wondering, if there would be lottery or not…but, looking at the H1B petitions filing and demand in the past couple of years, now we only wonder “how many h1b petitions will be filed this year and what are my chances in the lottery for H1B Visa 2017 ?”. We are very proud to say that our H1B visa lottery predictions were pretty much accurate all these years. Now comes another USCIS fiscal year and H1B season…Below is our analysis on the H1B lottery prediction for FY 2017.

As always, I believe in data that will impact the H1B lottery situation for FY 2017. I believe that the below factors will greatly influence the number of petitions filed for FY 2017 and in turn the lottery.

  • Historical Trend – Will we have Lottery?
  • New H1B Fee increase Rule
  • US Economy – GDP Growth, Unemployment Condition
  • International Students graduating/ graduated, OPT holders
  • New OPT 24 Month Rulemaking
  • Missed Lottery Applicants from previous years
  • H4 Visa EAD Rule from 2015.

Let’s look at each of these factors in a little more detail for our conclusion at the end on the approximate number of petitions we can expect for FY 2017.

Historical Trend – Would we have H1B Lottery for FY 2017 season?
The answer can pretty much be taken for granted looking at the historical data…Yes, we would very likely have lottery for FY 2017.  As you can see the below graph, the H1B cap reach dates and it shows that we had lottery for FY 2014, 2015 and 2016. Last year, we had a whopping 233,000 petitions filed for a FY 2016 quota for total of 85,000 cap. Ignoring FY 2014 and 2015, even, if half of the ones, who were not selected in lottery applied for FY 2017, we would still have a lottery situation. So, it is kind of clear that we would have H1B lottery for FY 2017.  You can also read article H1B Cap Reach Dates from 1999 – 2017 for more history.

H1B Visa 2017 Lottery Prediction - News and Results Dates

New H1B Fee increase Rule:  As per Omnibus Bill passed, the H1B Fee was increased by $4000 for certain employers with 50 or more employees and 50% of their employees are non-immigrant workers. This fee increase is in effect till 2025 and impacts all the employers falling in that category.  The biggest impact will be for all the Indian outsourcing companies like Wipro, Infosys, Cognizant, TCS, etc. who work in the model of off-shore. We can expect to see some decrease in filings from these companies. USCIS does not publish any data on how may H1Bs were picked from last year for these large outsourcing employers, but as per the LCAs data filed with Department of Labor, we see that a lot of LCA applications were filed last year for FY 2016. We can anticipate some drop in filings by these large employers. This fee increase will NOT really impact any of the small employers, large American firms like Facebook, Google, Microsoft, including some of the IT bodyshops…You may check our H1B Sponsors Database is up-to-date with latest LCAs until FY 2016.

US Economy – GDP Growth, Unemployment Condition:  US economy is doing pretty well on paper, despite the hiccups around the world. The unemployment is at the lowest at 4.9% compared with last year 5.5%, it has even come down. In terms of annual GDP growth rate, it is not growing at the same pace as last year, but still positive and expected to be about 2.1% for this quarter.  To compare with past lottery years, the unemployment rate was about 8% for FY 2014 and we had lottery at that time, now you can see that we are at about 4.9%, which is significantly less…Though the GDP growth is slow, the unemployment rate is significantly less, so it clearly tells that there is high demand for jobs and we can expect more companies to look for highly skilled labor like H1Bs.USA Unemployment Rate and GDP Growth impact on H1B Visa 2017

International Students graduating/ graduated, OPT holders :  International students studying in US on F1 visa is ever increasing. The international students growth increased by about 10% in 2014-15 year. The primary set of students who will apply for H1B for FY 2017 would be the one who plan to graduate in 2016 or have graduate in 2015 or earlier. As per the graph below, we can see approximately 300,000 Graduate Students and about 100,000 students on OPT, who could very likely pursue H1B this year. Also, you can see the other graph on STEM graduate composition, who would very likely be applying for H1Bs and OPT.  These numbers are staggering and it adds up a lot to this year H1B filings potential.International Students OPT Students in US STEM graduates impact on H1B Visa 2017

New 24 Month OPT Extension Rule making Impact : As you know 24 month STEM OPT Extension Rule Making news has been in headlines for many months now and it is at the verge of completion as the process is complete and waiting for the rule to be published in Federal register. The biggest catch in the new rule, despite 24 month OPT period, is the amount of overhead employers have to take for OPT program rules with oversight and mentoring . The amount of time and resources they have to spend on OPT students is an overhead and employers may sponsor H1B ahead of time rather than the overhead for longer period of time. This can add up a lot for potential H1B applications for FY 2017.

Missed H1B Lottery Applicants from FY 2014, 2015 and 2016 : In summary for FY 2016, there were about 233,000 Applications, for FY 2015 there were 172,500 applications and for FY 2014, there were about 124,000 applications filed.  If we do simple math in the last 3 years, the total applicants who were not picked in lottery were about 274, 500  (233000+172500+12400 – 3*85000 ). If even 30 % of them apply, we will hit the quota. So, this is a big factor to consider.

H4 Visa EAD Rule from 2015 : One of the most awaited H4 Visa EAD rule  passed last year and was effective from May 26, 2015. The new rule gave eligibility for about 179,600 H4 visa holders in the 2015 and an  estimated 55,000 for this year 2016. What it means is that a good amount of H4 visa holders benefited from this rule may NOT apply for H1B visa. This rule definitely reduces the H1B applications for FY 2017.

Summary of H1B Visa 2017 Lottery Predictions? How many Petitions ?

Now that we have looked at various factors that impact the H1B 2017 season, it is very clear we will very likely have lottery. Based on our analysis, despite the factors like $4000 H1B fee increase, EAD for H4 rules that may impact in less filings, we believe that there will be significant demand for H1B filings this year due to the fundamental growth in international students in US, demand for highly skilled labor in America with less unemployment and also, up until February the OPT Extension rule was in confusion state, so students would have been alert to get their discussions going with their employer and may have planned for their H1Bs as well.  In terms of numbers, we anticipate that there could be anywhere from 230,000  to 250,000 H1B petitions filed for FY 2017 that could be part of the lottery.

Update : Our H1B predictions are spot on ! On April 12th, 2016, USCIS released a press note indicating that they received over 236,000 petitions for FY 2017 and lottery was conducted on April 9th, 2016. Read Summary of Press release at News : 236,000 Petitions filed for FY 2017

Most commonly asked questions around H1B lottery are below

When is the H1B visa 2017 Lottery Date?

Update : For FY 2017, the Lottery was conducted on April 9th, 2016.
USCIS typically starts accepting applications for next fiscal year from April 1st and in lottery situation they would accept for 5 business days. For FY 2017, they will very likely accept from April 1st to April 7th. Last year, the lottery was conducted on April 13th and the year before it was April 10th.  So, it would definitely be in the week of April 11th.  The date depends on the total number of petitions filed as USCIS has to do basic paperwork to conduct lottery.

How about H1B Visa 2017 Lottery Results Date? When will I know the news and decision ?
Well, unfortunately, it is a waiting game and there is no specific date for getting your results, unless you file the H1B petitions under premium processing. USCIS process petitions and keep sending receipt numbers and reject notices in their own sequence and there is no information on how they prioritize. You can see the results like receipt number and reject notices coming along, but it is the painful waiting game for everyone filed under regular processing. Last year, USCIS did a news alert indicating that they have returned all the rejected petitions on July 14th. So, you can expect the last date for receiving lottery decision around that…depending on the number of petitions filed this year, it may be earlier or even later in July or even early August.. We will have to wait for USCIS news release on lottery for this final date.

So, what do you think about H1B 2017 Lottery?

NOTE : The above article was for FY 2017 Quota. For current year, You should read  H1B Lottery Predictions for FY 2018 – Analysis 

How may petition is your guess? Share your thoughts and insights.


Other Articles


  1. Hello Saurabh/Kumar,

    Quick question .

    I have attended visa interview on 2 week b4 and vo issued 221g for end client letter , tax docs etc
    I submitted all of them .

    Now employer got another good client and he will amendment and provide a new LCA and I need to appear for interview…

    I need to know how risky is this and is this procedure correct?

    • I am waiting..,

      If VO decides to check w/ the client, will they still verify that you are planned to join them? As long as that can happen, employer can start the amendment process. You don’t need to appear for interview again if the current one gets stamped.

  2. Hi Guys,

    i got RFE request from USCIS team.
    will this be a huddle for my process?
    how hard this process will be?
    how long this will take for next step?

    Please share any info on this.

    • Raj,

      A lot depends what the RFE is about. Once you know the details post them here, and then one can tell more about it.

      • they asked me SOW and onsite manager letter. we provided ,its one and half month with no update and still it RFE recieved we will get back to u,
        Any idea how long this will take? a maximum time for their response.

  3. No luck for me either! Oh well, next year again I guess. At least my company was nice enough to offer me a spot in Europe at one of their offices.

    I would, purely out of curiosity, be interested in seeing just how large of a proportion of these applications are coming from one single country aka India. Seems like everywhere I go in forums the comment sections are always filled up with us indians and considering that all the big offshoring-outsourcing companies employ almost completely only indians…I reckon the number is over 100 000 applications from India yearly.

    I wonder what would happen if they restricted the H1B cap to only allow Indians who have done their degree in the US. Would ultimately prevent those H1B-system abusing companies bringing in masses of cheap labor (NOT saying all of the people in said category are abusing the system. Some amazing and great people in that pack!). That is essentially the reason why the H1B system has been dragged into the center of immigration conversation in the 2016 elections.

  4. Hi All
    I filed my H1B petition under non premium category.

    I m still waiting for the results.I received neither file number nir rejection letter.
    So how long I need to wait whether the letters will be sent to attorney or directly to my mail
    Thank you

    • Hi All
      I filed my H1B petition by my company (IBM PVT LTD).

      I m still waiting for the results.I received neither file number nor rejection letter.
      So how long I need to wait whether the letters will be sent to attorney or directly to my mail
      Thank you

    • Yes until you receive the return package. But the chances are very less meaning less than 10%. If any one have filed multiple petitions and those multiple petitions got selected then only 1 will be approved and remaining slots will be adjusted by other petitions. So untill you get your return package do not confirm to anything.

  5. I heard this year there are 233000 application filed for H1B cap, this includes both regular and master students applications.
    Any one aware of approximately how many students application in this and how many regular companies in this 233000 ???

  6. Jab naseeb me na likha ho , insaan kitne bhi koshishein kar le , wo apna manzil nahi pahunch paata.
    bhaiyo i crossed 30 now , got laid off due to budget (wrong industry at wrong time )and going back to India and starting from zero again .. Wish me luck please ..
    Talent and hard work can only get you this far , the rest lies on your fate….
    Whoever said work hard and dream big lied to me …

  7. Yes, H1 B results are out.. pretty good results for one of the company.Its confidential.
    Let’s hope for the best! It will continue till may end 🙂

  8. @Shikhar, Hardwork never gets fail ! Don’t worry you will get one day 🙂

    @GajapathiRaja – Stop abusing have lil shame while posting like this.

    Everbody has their own opinion.She might be trying hard but may be luck is not favoring her.

    Shikhar- Have faith in GOD. Never ever compare yourself with anybody. Be yourself 🙂

    • hi Taniya – you never know when that one day will come – time is the problem – we all get old – luck is mattering here – hard work is not enough considering that we don’t have time to wait – we all age !

  9. Hey when we will get to know the result of Lottery. I have tried last year and now this year… eagerly waiting .. just want to know the approximate date ….

  10. actually the lottery process is a bad idea and lot of undeserved people will be sent to US rather than technically sound and deserved people. Myself realized in last year many people who are not technically good and bad in communication were selected in lottery and sent to US. Some of them lost their first job and some of them tried to get job by cheating employers. Most of them are from Andhra pradesh in India.

    • Please don’t think like you are rocket scientist. Please change the mindset buddy … Think twice before giving this kind of statement…. just understand the meaning and procedure of lottery system.

    • AP is one of the states from where there are more IITians and more NITians. It is the state when Google established its presence because there are many talented people around . Its not about state . its all about people. stop pointing fingers and better use ur fingers to wipe ur smelly baattt.

    • I agree with you. Beside this, such people take jobs by inflating their resumes with 8-10 years of fake experience because of which genuine professionals with 3-4 years of experience will are upfrontly ignored. There are seven people including myself in my office whose H1 petition has been filed by our company. Out of these, I found 3 people had faked their resumes. I immediately reported to my manager and got them terminated. I am not at all feeling guilty, instead I am feeling much better.

  11. Made some calculations looking at trends and it seems people within USA who are planning to apply for H1 is rising significantly than people applying for h1 from India.

    We presently have 36,000 STEM graduated as on Nov 2015 and adding another 10,000 by April makes it total of 46,000 or let’s assume maximum of 50,000.

    H4 dependents applying for h1 is considerably low and negligible. May be less than 5000. With expected another 50,000 number from India, another 10,000 people with double applications and another 5000 with triple applications, the total number could still be less than 150,000.

    Considering my analysis as stupid, we can still increase the number by another 50,000, it would still be around 200,000 which I believe the maximum number of applications for 2017.

    Either way, we would know it by tomorrow…

  12. Been trying for the lottery since 3 years in the advanced degree quota. Had to return to India last year because my OPT expired. This is my 4th attempt. Hoping this year I will be lucky. I’m guessing there will be about 2,50,000 applications this year. Fingers crossed. All the best everyone.

  13. Hello Guys…
    First of all RedBus2US , great forum.
    I didnt make through lottery during 2014 season.
    Now i’m applying this year. I got a FedEx receipt from my Employer. Package is delivered on April 4th.
    Lets see my luck this year… I wish all the fellow applicants good luck…

    H1 B Fever Started 😛

    All the Best.

  14. I have a question, if someone can answer me with facts, my company XYZ has filed my H1B last year and it was not selected in the lottery, this time again I have applied, I have checked the LCA last year and this year as well I can see in the official website of USCIS.

    So, the question is does LCA certification means that your h1b is filed properly and the petition is sent to USCIS or are these are two different things, again does LCA certification grantees that it must be sent to USCIS. This may be insane questions but why I asked coz people keep on saying that your company tricked you. I hope you knw what I mean 😀

    Another reason, we usually do not get any receipt or any number to track our status.


    • SD_BITS,

      Every H1B petition file should have an certified LCA file.
      LCA File is raised on DOL site for free of cost, every LCA doesn’t guarantee filing but every H1B filed should have certified LCA.

      Companies might trick you, no one can prove it. Its all on belief… If there is a need to file your H1B.. They will….

      I hope I answered all your questions

        • SD_BITS

          You check with the denial notice if it is not selected… If your employer can not give you the denial notice from uscis and just tell you orally that its not picked then assume that he cheated.

          Any ways i wish you a good luck this time 🙂

  15. It’s all gambling so .. I feel that it’s just waste of time to predict the results .. Guys lets wait till some time baca use even if you predict nothing will be in favour to you .. I would say all the very best to ones who applied this year

  16. Point of increased fee will come into account only when its get picked. So there is no hard stop for those who wanted to try. I would think it would be same or more as last year. 232000 + is my guess.

    • Surely there will be impact, because a company A allocated some X amount for Visas this year, suddenly when it doubles they can only file for half employees than what it actually can.

      Leave about picked or not picked they will maintain full funds for all the petitions filed.. Who knows if lottery is not there this year???.

      So I will say 100% there will be impact for the raise in fee. Wait and watch

  17. The calculation 274, 500 (233000+172500+12400 – 3*85000 ) seems to not accounting for the same person reapplying in those years. The right calculation should be the last years no. of people – 85,000 which is 1,89,000.

  18. My prediction – Around 2 Lakhs(+/- 10K) this year.

    Big companies(Top 5) might not bother bother much about money but companies from 6th position to 25th position might bother for the fee hike and so that reduction in number.

  19. Below is an LCA case number information. What does it mean? Can new 5 employees be hired on 1 LCA case number?

    Worker positions needed/basis for the visa classification supported by this application

    Total Worker Positions Being Requested for Certification
    Basis for the visa classification supported by this application
    (indicate the total workers in each applicable category based on the total workers identified above)

    a. New employment
    b. Continuation of previously approved employment without change with the same employer
    c. Change in previously approved employment
    d. New concurrent employment
    e. Change in employer
    f. Amended petition

  20. There are already 32000 people with STEM extensions working on OPT plus non stem majors. I am guessing 40000 plus will apply for the advanced degree quota.

    • ranga
      friends – please help with answering with this question

      will premium processing help also to know the results of the lottery faster or it helps only for approval faster if it is picked up in the lottery?

      is notifying about lottery results common for premium and non premium?

      • ranga,
        yes, it will help get the results of lottery as they have 15 calendar day SLA. No, it does not help with approvals. It is always the adjudication process and time that is shortened to 15 calendar days, if you select premium. You may read H1B Myths about Lottery

        • Kumar,

          Does premium processing commence date (5/15 this year?) mean they should have sent out all notice and start the actual processing? So basically means everyone using PP should know the result by 5/15, if selected? Thanks

          • Ranga,

            What USCIS said is that all PP petitions will commence no later than May 16. So if selected, they should know the selection result by May 16 and the eventual result by May 31 (15 calendar days from May 16). If RFE is issued, then final decision will be delayed.

  21. This is my last chance for H1. I am currently on my STEM OPT. I work full time for company A. My employer A has filed H1 for me last year. It did not get picked. This year, employer A is applying again.
    I am in talks with employer B (a consultant who also has internal projects) to apply for a second H1. Employer A has no idea about this employer B. Employer A doesn’t hire contractors, so there is no remote relation between Employer A and B.
    Now, employer B is planning to apply for my H1 showing an internal project position. Having said that, employer B’s real intention is to hire me as a contract working for any client (not Employer A).
    In this scenario I am still not sure how good Employer B is going to be in proving his internal project is legitimate. In the rare scenario that both petitions get picked, will Employer B’s inability to show sufficient documentation for internal project affect my prospects with Employer A?

    • Sanjay,

      If B’s petition runs into issues related to internal project, it will not impact A’s petition. So there is a possibility that B’s petition is denied while A’s approved.

        • Thank you for the response, Saurabh. Yes, if both run into RFE, asking for them to prove they are unrelated I am pretty confident that will be cleared, since there is no conemction between them.

          • @Manuj , you should be blaming the government which allows such rules. Why ? Let me tell you an example. If a person apply through Employer A and Employer B. If either one of them is picked then ‘the person’ can transfer the H1B(more like shift) even before October 1st. So it does not make sense why the government allows such rule if everything were to be lottery, but hey come on a guy gotta live. he is getting his life by the way 🙂

          • @Manuj Retard
            You obviously don’t understand the meaning of lottery. This is possibly the most unfair meritless process that decides the fate of your job. So, you may try doing whatever you call fair in this unfair process. Nothing is justified. You want to know what is the only right thing to do here? Stop applying for H1 lottery. Start a strike. If everyone strikes and don’t apply for H1, may be congress will hear about it and bring upon a change to convert the H1 process from lottery to some merit based system. That way retards can be kept out of the pool. But, obviously that’s not going to happen. Well, survival of the fittest applies even here. You either depend on fate, or you look for alternatives to improve your fate.

    • Check on DOL site with your employer name, you will get big list of all LCA files.

      Now you shd know what is your LCA file number to understand which one is yours.

  22. According to estimates from some people I have talked to who are in recruitment business, this year there would be around 300 k applications.

  23. My guess is less than 200,000 petitions due to the following reasons

    1. EAD for H4 rule
    2. Increase in H1B processing fee for companies with more H1b employees (technically for all IT companies)
    3. Job market is not as good it appears to be on paper.

    • Ravi,
      Would be nice, if your count prediction comes true ! Our rationale is that these factors does help in reduction of filing of petitions, but the previous petitioners who did not make it in lottery of previous years and students graduating will impact the overall number to be higher…

      • Why the increase in fees will not affect IT companies

        They have to pay the fees only if the applications are selected in lottery, not for all those applied, they have to submit a check with all the applications but not en cashed unless selected in lottery. So number of applications filed wont increase their burden.

  24. I was shocked the number they predicted. I really hope it is 230K-250K! But that’s impossibly low just thinking about the number of new graduate students and the number of petition got declined last year. My attorney (a large law firm processing these cases for big corporations) estimated it would be around 300K this year.

    • RC,
      They might very well be correct…USCIS pushed the date for premium processing by 5 more days, it means they are expecting more…All we can do is hope that is not correct…20 more days to go…

  25. All the 3 years that I applied had lottery and did not make it. All the years that I did not apply, there was no lottery. As far as I know, there is no decrease in the h1b filling by the big IT companies. H4 will hardly have an impact. My prediction of 2. Lakh

    • Surendra,
      It depends on the employer. Some small employers do give it, if you ask…They give UPS or Fedex mail slip tracking details to indicate delivery.

  26. Guys, my employer told me that this time it would be 350000 petitions, this source was the attorney who files the petitions for many east coast IT companies.

    I am also one of them so hope that the numbers are far less than last year. My guess is it will be around 250000.

  27. Last two years one of employers applied H1B for me. Unfortunately I couldn’t win lottery. May be they didn’t applied, just said we applied. It’s possible for Indian companies. Some of them liars.

    This year I won’t apply. So good luck to everyone.

      • Akhil,

        Amongst the Republicans, I think he has the best plan which causes least disruption to current H-1B program. Ted Cruz wants to halt the program for 6 months, do a study and then decide what to do.

  28. Any idea on how many petitions for Masters cap? I am sure it goes beyond 20000. I know USCIS does not publish this data, so what’s your estimate? I an guessing it should not be less than 40000.

    • Anil Ramamurthy,
      It is very hard to guess. You are probably right, it would not be less that that as all the OPT students would apply in that category.

  29. I completed my Masters from top university in USA. I couldn’t get into lottery for 3 years and had to come back to India. These calculations looks about right. I have no hope again this year.

    • Onemoretime, Same here dude.. Did MBA from one of the top business schools in states with just 12 month of OPT. Could not get through the lottery and had to return to India..

    • Yeap, I tried twice – no luck. Everyone around me seemingly had better luck 🙂 (as is usually the case).

      Anyways, good luck guys !

    • I feel for you buddy. I am in the same boat. Back in India after failing to make the lottery for the last 3 years. The months of March-May have been really stressful last couple of years due to this.

    • Same thing happened to me. it seems luck is the keep to success since it changed my friends lives with below grades then me (no grudge here).

      anyway, i m trying for the last time in my life.

    • @Onemoretime, Try for L1 from medium sized companies. Many of my managers came back on L1(A) . Green card processing is easy for L1(A) than L1(B) it seems. I know for a fact that its not so difficult to get a promotion in middle sized companies when you have a degree from reputed college in USA. Hope the best for you my friend .


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