H1B Max Cap History Stats by Year

H1B Visa Total Cap Stats from FY 1990 to 2021

In H1B Visa by KumarUpdated : 10 Comments

It is always good to have a historical perspective about anything in life…In the context of H1B Visas, it is H1B Visas Cap numbers and their availability from beginning until now….if you are new to the term cap, don’t be confused. Read What is H1B Visa Cap ? Masters vs Regular Cap ?

Before we dive in, let’s explain how we got these numbers…

How was H1B Cap Historic Data Gathered  ?

We have been tracking H1B related information from 2009 and have done a lot of research on this topic over the years… All the information is gathered from USCIS Reports, their legacy web pages, and current web pages. USCIS gives out data in the form of PDF reports and they are basically images for older versions of reports…you cannot read like text, it is an image…We went through all such research reports to get the data. Hope it helps you all to have a broader vision about the H1B cap numbers availability from 1990 until today…


Maximum H1B visas Cap

Description for changes

199065,000First H1-B category enacted
1999115,000Under ACIWA( American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act) in 1998, increased number of H1B visas to 115,000
2000115,000 Stays same for year 2000.
2001195,000AC21 Act ( American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first century act ) and increased
2003195,000 stays increased number.
200465,000H1B Cap reverted back to 65,000



Additional 20,000 visas for aliens with U.S earned Masters or Higher degree.

There have been no changes to the H1B Quota Cap since 2004.  If we were to put in a table and graph, this is how it would look.

Fiscal Year

Regular Quota

Masters Quota


History of H1B visa Maximum Cap Statistics from 1990 to FY 2021

No changes to the H1B cap numbers of since 2004. Below is the graph that illustrates the same.

Total H1B Cap History by Year from 1990 to 2020 - Full History of Max Cap Numbers

Proposals to Change H1B Visa Cap Counts

Many have proposed many rules and tried to change the quota, but they all went nowhere.  The most recent one was the Obama Comprehensive Immigration Reform that proposed to increase the H1B Quota like below.

  • The regular quota  H1B Visas cap from  65,000 per year to 110,000 per year.
  • The advanced degree H1B cap for STEM degree holders from US schools  from 20,000 to 25,000 visas.
  • Also, some provisions to increase H1B quota to 180,000 per year, if there is extreme demand for highly skilled workers that fiscal year.

As of FY 2021,  the CIR has not gone anywhere and no changes to H1B for FY 2020 season. New Trump Administration has not yet passed anything. You should check out H1B Visa  Cap reached dates by year from 2000 to today

For complete detailed information, you may visit USCIS website and look at H1B visa Research reports


Other Articles

Comments ( 10 )

  1. Suhash

    Hi Kumar,
    Is there a delay in getting LCA nowadays (post September 2010)?
    My employer says despite going for Premium, the LCA itself will take 2 months to recieve and I can get it filed only in January, 2011.
    Im worried that the quota shouldnt get full by then.


  2. Lauren

    Kumar, what is your first and last name, along with qualifications? I am writing a paper and need to cite you since I am using a source from one of your pages, but cannot find this information.

    1. administrator

      Lauren, you can just quote it as Kumar. Honestly, you should not quote blogs as official references because they reflect personal opinion and not citation eligible.

  3. ankit

    Hey……Please tell us what is Master Quota and General Quota ?

    MS consider in Master Quota or General Quota?
    And if possible please tell us about the term ‘cap’?
    It is difficult to understand those facts for newbies like me
    Ankit Sharma

  4. JoeF

    That data doesn’t say much. The cap itself doesn’t provide any useful information.
    What would be useful would be a plot of when the cap was reached in each year. In some years, it wasn’t reached at all (including the years when the cap was increased to 195K.)

    1. administrator

      Joe, Very good point, your question is answered here with this post. Let me know what you think on the article with analysis.


Leave a Comment

Comments Policy :
  • Comments are to drive conversation, add your thoughts, experiences, ask questions!
  • Do NOT write hate speech, swear words, or get into fight. Maintain etiquette
  • Enter your Name, valid Email, URL(optional - Facebook, LinkedIn profile URLs).
  • Your email will NOT be published. Do NOT post any phone numbers, email-ids
  • Do NOT post any links from other websites, unless official sites, University websites.
  • By submitting your comment, you agree to Term and Conditions of our website.