In general, it is important to understand the past, to predict the future…H1B quota cap is no different…there has been extreme amount of demand in the recent years, but in the past, the demand was low and it wasn’t reached at all (including the years when the cap was increased to 195K. As our website focuses on US Visas, and specifically H1B Visa, we continue research and update historical and current H1B data for everyone’s benefit. The article is updated with graphs and is up to date as of FY 2021.
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 2020
Total H1B Visa Cap Applications Filed by Year – FY 2004 to 2021
Below are the descriptions of the fileds
- H1B Fiscal year : It corresponds to USCIS Fiscal Year. It starts from October 1st and ends on September 30th. Example : H1B Fiscal Year 2021 starts from October 1st, 2020 and ends on Sep 30th, 2021.
- 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 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 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)|
Total H1B Applications Filings Trend Chart – FY 2004 to 2021
Extra Percentage of H1B Applications/ Registrations Picked
USCIS also 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 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
H1B Cap Count FY 2013-2017 – % of Extra Selected Over 85K Cap
|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
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 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 their discretion to decide when to stop. As per data is concerned, which is after 1999, it is available on USCIS is 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 from 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 H1B visa cap was reached or not and when was the cap reached ? If you are looking for maximum amount of H1B cap and how the cap numbers changed, you can check out maximum H1B cap numbers from 1990 to today. The article only talks about 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 generic way…Below is the graphical illustration and tabular data.
All the information is available for public on USCIS website. Should you need further clarification, please visit the USCIS Website . Information presented here is based on the data published on USCIS website.