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H1B Visa Seasons History: Updates by Year – Lottery Dates, Numbers

If you need to work in the US as a foreign national, you need work visa. One of the most popular US work visas utilised by many is H1B Visa. There is an annual cap of 85,000 for H1B Visas, of which 65,000 is for regular quota and 20,000 is reserved for US masters applicants.

Due to varying demand cycles for H1B visa, sometimes, they exhaust in the first few days and sometimes, they do not get filled for few months. Also, since USCIS started the H1B registration process, there are first round, second round and even third round lottery done to select registrations to fill the H1B annual cap. This article is a summary of the history of the H1B seasons’s cap count updates for the last 12 years on how the H1B cap was met.

H1B Visa Fiscal Year 2022 Season Cap Updates

Below are the updates for H1B Visa Fiscal Year(FY) 2022 on how the H1B cap was met.

Third Round Lottery for FY 2022 Season

USCIS announced that they conducted third-round lottery on Nov 19, 2021. Below is the summary:

  • USCIS conducted third round H1B Lottery selection and selected 16,753 registrations.
  • The third round lottery was conducted on the initial set of registrations that were waitlisted.
  • In total, if we add up the first round selection of 87,500 registrations and second round selection of 27,717 with the third round of 16,753 it comes to 131,970 (87,500 + 27,717+16,753) total registrations selected so far for the FY 2022 Season.

Second Round Lottery for FY 2022 Season

USCIS announced that they conducted second-round lottery on June 29, 2021. Below is the key summary:

  • USCIS conducted second round H1B Lottery selection and selected 27,717 registrations.
  • The second round lottery was conducted on the initial set of registrations that were waitlisted.
  • In total, if we add up the first round selection of 87,500 registrations, it comes to 115,217 (87,500 + 27,717)total registrations selected so far for the FY 2022 Season.

Initial (First) Lottery Results for FY 2022 Season

USCIS announced that they conducted initial lottery on March 30th, 2021. Below is the key summary:

  • USCIS accepted H1B visa registrations for the FY 2022 season starting from March 9th, 2021 and it lasted for two weeks until March 25th, 2021
  • There were total of 308,613 H1B Registrations filed by applications as part of the H1B Registration Process
  • USCIS Selected 87,500 Registrations in first round H1B Visa lottery that was conducted on March 30th, 2021. The total H1B cap for the year is 85,000. So, basically for 85,00 slots, they selected 87,500 registrations.
  • All the applicants selected in first round lottery were given an option to file H1B on their behalf from April 1st, until June 30th, 2021.
  • In total there were about 37,000 H1B Employers who filed the registrations. Also, about 48% of all the H1B registrations submitted were for US Masters quota.

H1B Visa FY 2021 Season Cap Updates

This is the first year that USCIS has implemented the New H1B Registration Process and online registration system for submissions. Below are the updates for H1B Visa Fiscal Year 2021 and how the H1B visa cap was filled.

Second Round Lottery Details

  • On Aug 14th, 2020, USCIS silently conducted second round lottery for FY 2021 Season.
  • USCIS did not announce how many registrations were selected.
  • The Second Round registration notices that were selected would say “August 2020 Selection of Reserve Registration”
  • They will have filing period listed as “8/17/2020 – 11/16/2020”.
  • User who are selected in second round can file H1B petitions starting from August 17th until November 16th, 2020.
AILA - USCIS Second Lottery H1B 2021
AILA – USCIS Second Lottery H1B 2021

First Round Lottery ( Initial Selection Results) Details

  • USCIS announced on March 27th, 2020 that they have received enough registrations to reach the H1B FY 2021 Cap.
  • USCIS received a whopping 275,000 unique H1B registrations or applications in the new H1B Registration online system for fiscal year 2021.  This is the first time USCIS has received so many applications (registrations) in the history of H1B Program. The previous highest was 236,000 petitions in FY 2017.  
  • US Masters Registrations Count : USCIS for the first time gave the split during the filing season and they say about 46% of the petitions filed were in US Masters Category. If you look the numbers, it comes down to 126,500 applications or registrations. 
  • How many Employers – Accounts Created : There were 40,000 registration accounts created. Technically you can think of this as 40,000 employers have filed H1B registrations this year.
  • Country Counts for Filings : USCIS says that India and China accounted for about 81% of the total submitted registrations. Below is the split.
    • India H1B Registrations Count : 67.7% of total registrations = 186,175
    • China H1B Registrations Count : 13.2% of total registrations = 36,300

H1B Visa FY 2020 Cap Season Updates

  • USCIS started accepting petitions from April 1st, 2019 for FY 2020 season.
  • USCIS accepted H1B petitions for the first 5 days and announced on April 5th, 2019 that they have received enough petitions to meet the H1B Cap for FY 2020. Check Press release
  • USCIS announced on April 11th, 2019 that they completed H1B visa Lottery for 2020 quota. They mentioned that they have conducted H1B lottery on April 10th .
  • They have received 201,011 H1B petitions for FY 2020 Quota
  • They used a computer-generated random algorithm, which is popularly known as H1B Lottery, to select the petitions for FY 2020 quota.
  • Lottery Order : USCIS confirmed that they used the New H1B Lottery Order for FY 2020, where first they conducted lottery for regular cap considering all received petitions to meet 65,000 quota and then conducted lottery to meet masters cap of 20,000 from the unselected US Master’s petitions from the first lottery pool. This is different order from all the previous years. This new order is based on the New H1B registration Rule that will be fully effective from FY 2021 season.
   

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