H1B Visa is the most sought temporary work visa in the US by international professionals and students. There has been an extreme amount of demand in recent years for H1B visa slots. It is important for anyone to understand the past to predict future demand and how one can plan for the future.
The H1B quota cap was sufficient in the past and demand was low and in some years it wasn’t even reached at all (including the years when the cap was increased to 195,000. We have been tracking H1B visa trends for over a decade now and continue to research every day on the same.
In this article, we present H1B cap reach data, including graphs and trends. The data in the article is up to date as of H1B FY 2022 season. The H1B Season for FY 2023 starts in March 2022 and so far we do not have data. We will look at the history of H1B Cap reach dates, How many applications were filed, and all other data, including H1B Data Availability and How we got the data.
H1B Visa Cap Reach Dates History – FY 2004 to 2023
Total H1B Visa Cap Applications Filed by Year – FY 2004 to 2023
Below are the descriptions of the fields for the table that is below with H1B past data.
- H1B Fiscal Year(FY): It corresponds to USCIS Fiscal Year. It starts on October 1st and ends on September 30th. Example: H1B Fiscal Year 2022 starts on October 1st, 2021, and ends on Sep 30th, 2022.
- Cap Reached Date: The exact date when H1B Visa Cap reached. Read What is H1B Cap, Regular vs Masters Quota Cap ?
- Cap Reached: If the cap was reached means ‘Yes’, if not, it will be ‘No’.
- H1B Cap Open Days: How many days the H1B cap was open
- H1B Applications Received by USCIS: Total number of H1B Applications received by USCIS in that fiscal year. It is total count of registrations from FY 2021 as USCIS introduced H1B Registration process
- H1B Lottery : It is a situation when there were more H1B filings or registrations submitted to USCIS than the annual limit of 85,000 per year. Read more at – What is H1B Lottery ? Selection Order, Process ?
|H1B Fiscal Year||Cap Reached Date||Cap Reached (YES or NO)||H1B Cap Open Days||H1B Applications Received by USCIS|
|2004||Oct 1, 2003||YES|
|2005||Oct 1, 2004||YES|
|2006||Aug 10, 2005||YES|
|2007||May 26, 2006||YES||55 Days||No H1B Lottery|
|2008||April 3, 2007||YES||2 Days||123,480 ( H1B Lottery)|
|2009||April 7, 2008||YES||5 Days||163,000 ( H1B Lottery)|
|2010||Dec 21, 2009||YES||264 Days||No H1B Lottery|
|2011||Jan 26, 2011||YES||300 Days||No H1B Lottery|
|2012||Nov 22, 2011||YES||235 Days||No H1B Lottery|
|2013||June 11, 2012||YES||71 Days||No H1B Lottery|
|2014||April 5, 2013||YES||5 Days||124,000 (H1B Lottery)|
|2015||April 7, 2014||YES||5 Days||172,500 (H1B Lottery)|
|2016||April 7, 2015||YES||5 Days||233,000 (H1B Lottery)|
|2017||April 7, 2016||YES||5 Days||236,000 (H1B Lottery)|
|2018||April 7, 2017||YES||5 Days||199,000 (H1B Lottery)|
|2019||April 6, 2018||YES||5 Days||190,098 (H1B Lottery)|
|2020||April 5, 2019||YES||5 Days||201,011 (H1B Lottery)|
|2021||Mar 20, 2020||YES||20 Days||275,000 ( H1B Lottery)|
|2022||Mar 25, 2021||YES||15 Days||308,613 (H1B Lottery)|
|2023||March 18, 2022||YES||18 Days||483,927 (H1B Lottery)|
Total H1B Applications Filings Trend Chart – FY 2004 to 2023
- For H1B FY 2022 season, USCIS received 308,613 registrations.
- For H1B FY 2023 season, USCIS received 484,927 registrations.
- If we compare FY 2022 registrations with the most recent FY 2023 year’s numbers it is a whopping 57% increase in the number of H1B registrations.
Extra Count of H1B Registrations Selected by USCIS by Year
Below is the extra count of H1B registrations that USCIS selected in the recent years for each of the H1B lottery rounds and for the total year that is more than the H1B cap of 85,000. For FY 2023, so far we only had the first round lottery.
|Initial Round Selected count||Second Round Selected count||Third Round Selected count||Total Selected Count||Extra %|
over H1B Cap
|2023||127,600||Not done||Not done||Not done||50%|
|2021||No numbers released||No numbers released||Did not happen||No numbers released||No numbers released|
H1B Cap Count FY 2013 to 2017 : Percentage of Extra Selected Over 85K Cap
Before the introduction of the H1B registration process, USCIS was accepting H1B petitions during the first 5 days of the H1B season. USCIS published data in Nov 2018, as part of a proposed rule on the details of how many H1B petitions they picked extra on top of the total cap of 85,000 and also the split of Masters quota filings vs regular quota filings, and also the premium processing data split as well. We have put together all of that info in an article with graphs at : H1B Lottery Data Split, Extra Petitions, Premium Stats
|Year||Total H1Bs Filed with USCIS||Overall H1Bs Selected in Lottery||Additional H1B Petitions Picked in Lottery||Percentage of Petitions Over Standard Cap of 85,000|
H1B Historical data – 1999 to 2004
|H1B Fiscal Year||H1Bs Filed||H1Bs Approved||H1B Cap Available||Cap Reached Date||Comments / Reasons|
|1999||138,000+||138,000+||115,000||Over Cap||KPMG audit reported that INS approved more visas than the cap in News release.|
|2000||164,814||136,787||115,000||21-March||USICS believes they have enough petitions to fulfil the cap|
|2001||201,543||201,079||195,000||NOT reached||USICS considers visas accepted after November 5, 2001 will be considered for 2002 H1B Cap|
|2002||109,576||103,584||195,000||NOT reached||USCIS says in news release that H1B petitions filing declined by 41%|
How was H1B Historical Data Collected from USCIS/DHS
There is no historical data available on the USCIS website for the years 1990 – 1999. In 1999, INS approved more visas than they were supposed to. The US Congress jumped in and took action. It was reported by KPMG Audit. So, the policy changed after 1999 and USCIS accepts H1B petitions and uses its discretion to decide when to stop. As per data is concerned, which is after 1999, it is available on USCIS in its Archive News releases and it is kind of unclear.
Fundamentally, in the past until FY 2021, USCIS stops accepting applications when they think they have enough H1B visa petitions, including the backlogs they have to process and they will be able to meet the cap numbers. Their decision is just an approximate decision based on the amount of H1B approvals vs Denials and the backlogs they have with them. Data from 2004 is very good with proper reports, but before that, we just have to go with some approximations based on news releases info.
Good Data is available since 2004. There were no excess visas left out. The cap was reached every year. The data USCIS presented in the reports include all the visas filed. We only know if the H1B visa cap was reached or not and when was the cap reached? If you are looking for the maximum amount of H1B cap and how the cap numbers changed, you can check out the maximum H1B cap numbers from 1990 to today. That article only talks about the general H1B quota. It does not include the Advanced degree H1B visa cap reach dates. There is no special split that is given by USCIS on this, so we have to put it in a generic way…
All the information is available to the public on the USCIS website. Should you need further clarification, please visit the USCIS Website . The information presented here is based on the data published on the USCIS website.