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H1B visa cap reach dates for FY 2004 – 2011 – H1B 2012 filing decision

In general, it is always a good idea to look at past data and understand the trend for future decisions.  Let us look at H1B cap reach dates by year from 2003 to 2011 in this article and analyze on how it can help us to estimate the best time to file for H1B visa 2012.

H1B visa cap reach statistics from year 2003 to 2011


Fiscal Year

H1B Visa Cap Reached ?Cap Reached Date
2004YESOctober 1, 2003
2005YESOctober 1, 2004
2006YESAugust 10, 2005
2007YESMay 26, 2006
2008YESApril 3, 2007
2009YESApril 7, 2008
2010YESDecember 21, 2009
2011YESJanuary 26, 2011

Analysis of H1B visa cap reach dates for 2012 petition filing :

If you look at the below graph, you can get a feel of the H1B cap reach dates based on macro economic conditions. In 2003 and 2004 the H1B cap lasted till October 1st because of the 2000- 2002 recession period…as recession eased and economy recovered we can see that the H1B cap reach dates pushing closer and closer to April first week, even resulting in lottery. After April 2008, we can see the impact of recession as the cap reach dates are pushed away to December and for this fiscal year, FY 2011, lasting until January 26th, 2011.

H1B visa 2012 cap reach dates Statistics Prediction

In Macroeconomics, after recession, there is a general expansion phase as in above graph (first one under title).  Based on National Bureau of Economic research report, we have hit the recession trough in June 2009 for the recession that started in 2007…technically, we are in expansion phase according to them since June 2009…. but, the growth has been sluggish, which has been a worry…The pace of growth predicted for 2011 seems optimistic and good…If we go by logic, we should reach the H1B cap earlier than this year i.e. FY 2011.  It can be very hard to predict the exact H1B visa 2012 cap reach date right now just by the data at hand as we only have data for one economic cycle.  In general, it should reach earlier than H1B visa 2011 cap reach date. So, if you are one of those people looking to file H1B visa in Fiscal year 2012 quota, which starts in April. Start planning ahead…If you are looking for info prior to 2003, read article : H1B cap reach dates by year from 1999 – Graph

What are your thoughts on cap reach dates and prediction of the same for H1B FY 2012 cap?

Economic cycle Image credit : http://www.harpercollege.edu/mhealy/eco212/lectures/asad/asad_files/0901.jpg


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  1. hai saurabh,
    how many times can we apply for h1 visa?
    if an valid h1b visa expires,can we file and stamp a new h1bvisa by staying in US itself,or we have come back to India and stay for one year to apply for a new h1 visa?

    plz reply me fast and thanks in advance plz help me

  2. Saurabh,

    Can you please help me in understating “LCA – Certified stage” ?
    what it mean ? Is it different than approved ?


  3. Hi Saurabh,

    I have my OPT status untill jan 2013… i have applied H1b visa for 2012. if it get rejected. can i continue on my OPT status?


  4. Hi Saurabh,
    My passport had a H1b Visa during 2005 and was valid till 2008. I never used that visa to enter USA. Now i moved to another company and want to come to USA. Is it possible to use the expired visa under “Cap Excempt” category?

    • Anand,
      You cannot use that visa stamp. However, you can use the petition which was approved along w/ that visa to go the cap-exempt route. As it was approved more than 6 years ago, check w/ your attorney if it can be used now. In either case, you have to go for new visa stamping.


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