H1B Visa Rejection Rate, RFEs, 2012 Report – History from 2003 to 2011

In H1B Visa by KumarUpdated : 15 Comments

With USCIS official press release, all prospective H1B applicant for fiscal year( FY) 2013 are eagerly waiting for their petitions to be filed. If you have not, check out the H1B visa 2013 lottery prediction article, it has some insights with past date. Anyways, National foundation for American Policy (NFAP), which is a non-profit organization, that focuses on public policy research on trade, immigration, education, and other issues of national importance, has released a research study recently in February 2012 on USCIS’s H1B and L1  Visa rejection/ denial rates.   They have considered all the H1B and L1 Visa data from USCIS from 2003 to 2011 and performed data analysis. Check out some excerpts below. All the data below is from petitions filed with USCIS and does not reflect decisions made at consular posts.

H1B Visa Denial Rate, RFEs Rate at USCIS from 2003 to 2011

The rejection rates of H1B visa petitions by USCIS has increased dramatically in the last 3 years. It was only 12% for FY 2004, but it creeped up to 29% for FY 2009 and still stays very high for FY 2011 at  17%.   Also, the H1B RFEs ( request for evidence) rate also increased from 12% in FY 2005 to 35% in FY 2009. Check out the trend below:
H1B Visa Rejection Rates 2012 report 2011 to 2003H1B Visa RFE rates 2012 - 2011

Reasons for high H1B Visa Rejections and RFEs in last 3 years ?  
In my view, the primary reason for the high rejection rates and RFEs in FY 2009, 2010 and 2011 can be attributed to the US economy recession and high unemployment rates in America.   Moreover, the H1B visa rules changed with the neufeld memo increasing guidelines and employee-employer relationship clauses, which caused the spike of RFEs to meet the new rules.

Predictions for H1B rejection rate and RFEs for fiscal year 2013 ?
We can clearly see the trend of increasing H1B rejections by USCIS in FY 2008 and 2009 due to peak recession period around that years. Unlike, in FY 2010 and 2011 with US economy slowly recovering, the H1B rejection rates are decreasing, including decrease in US unemployment rate.  My speculation is that as US economy is doing ok and the unemployment rate in US is also decreasing, for H1B visas FY 2013, the rejection rates will be pretty similar or even less compared to FY 2011 and 2012.

What are your thoughts on H1B visa rejection rates for fiscal year 2013 ?

Also, check out :  US recession and H1B, F1 visa holders entering America report

Reference :

NFAP Policy Brief report : H1B and L1 Visa denial rates


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Comments ( 15 )

  1. Guddu


    My h1b is filed this year fiscal 2013…and i got RFE for my petition.
    Just wanted to know if RFE is normal process or my petition can be rejected at RFE stage also,
    How many RFEs are converted to approvals..any statistics available.

    1. administrator

      RFE can be issued to anyone for bunch of reasons. Once the RFE is responded, the petition will either be approved or denied. No statistics available on RFE conversion rate. I would suggest getting in touch w/ your employer to know the RFE reason and working on its resolution. What happened to other RFEs will not determine the outcome of your RFE.

  2. Sainagakishore Srikantham

    How does the rejection rate look now (June/July 2012)? I have the I-797A approval notice as we filed for a Change of Status. I still have to get my visa stamped. From the looks of it, it seems it is better to hold off for a while. The I-94 is valid till Sep 2014, so I’m fine for a while. Any thoughts on what I should do? Can someone post a fairly recent experience at the Bombay Consulate?

    1. administrator

      Sainagakishore Srikantham,
      Unless travel cannot be avoided, one should avoid travelling if it involved visa stamping. Even the safest of the cases can run into issues.

  3. High Rejection rates

    The rejections have increased with very high scrutiny levels , I have friends who have been issued 221g and are in forever-wait mode.
    All this happened post Obama, the administration is totally against outsourcing, H1B , unemployment rate, Banks who took tax money denied h1B etc etc.

    This will not change until immigration friendly new administration comes to power. US still needs lot of highly skilled workers but they are unable to find the right people.

    Meanwhile outsourcing companies like Cognizant, Infosys, etc are raking money by outsourcing jobs. Some of them have been accused for visa frauds causing others to suffer.
    These companies enjoy added benefits of increase in Dollar Rupee rates. They are at a win win situation compared to even the local contractors . They have dropped consultant rates sharply , the local people in US are at huge disadvantage due to introduction of these companies.

  4. Unny

    I would like to know, how to get L1 visa from the company I am working for in India

    My current work location is India.
    I joined this company in Feb 2012.
    I had traveled to US before for training purpose in B1, 3 times (2009, 2011, 2012). The last visit was through this company. So will this make tougher to get L1.

    Will I be eligible for L1, if there is requirement to work from US office for long term ?

    What is the process, what is the expected processing time?

    1. administrator

      To qualify for L-1:
      – you should work for that employer for at least 1 year outside of US in the past 3 years
      – work on employer proprietary tools/applications/technology/skills that are not known outside the employer. This means not working on commonly available technologies like Java, .NET etc

      If you qualify, employer can fiel I-129 petition for you. Once approved you can go for L-1 visa stamping. Your past B-1 visits will not be an issue as long as the duration of each visit was not more than 3-4 months.

  5. vamshi

    I have H1 stamped recently. My wife’s h4 visa interview is scheduled next week in Hyderabad. I opted for Telugu as language for interview.
    Please help me understand the following::

    1. What is this translator mean?? Is it that a third person will be there(Apart from VO and the applicant) who will be translating the questions and answers or will the VO only question in regional language??

    2. Will there be any rejections in H4 cases also?? or will there be any 221g cases in H4??

    3. My employer is paying for travel and visa fee for my wife. Is it OK to inform the same or should she say that i am paying for travel and visa fee?

    Please help me out, Very Very tensed about my wife’s interview.

    1. administrator

      1. VO will be a bilingial person knowing both Telugu and English
      2. Yes, 221g can be issued in case of H-4 as well. Do not treat H-4 interview any lighter than H-1 interview.
      3. Yes, it is ok to confirm the same.

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