H1B Visa 2016 Predictions: Over 200,000 Applications. Find Your Odds Here.

Raghuram Sukumar H1B Visa 83 Comments

When I received the H1B Visa 2016 predictions from few Immigration Attorney’s, I was like OMG! Is this Really that Big!

There was H1B Visa lottery last year and the estimate was between 124,000 to 250,000.  H1B Visa 2016 Cap season is about to begin in April. I reached out to few Attorney’s and asked them the following two questions

  1. How many total H1B Visa FY 2016 petitions do you think USCIS would receive?
  2. Are you noticing any new trend in the applications you (or your firm) is processing/applying?

I received answers from few attorney’s and waiting to hear from others.

H1B Visa 2016 Predictions

Here’s Predictions based on the Immigration Attorney’s response received so far.


h1b visa 2016 predictions

Lakshmi Challa (@ChallaLaw)

Murali Bashyam (@BashyamSpiro)

1. How many total H1B Visa FY 2016 petitions do you think USCIS would receive?

My prediction is between 220,000 – 250,000. The volume has definitely gone up this year as compared to last year.

2. Are you noticing any new trend in the applications you (or your firm) is processing/applying?

Processing of H-1B cap cases is about the same as last year. There are no new major trends.

Tahmina Watson (@TahminaWatson)

1. How many total H1B Visa FY 2016 petitions do you think USCIS would receive?

My guess is that USCIS will receive record numbers of H1B’s this year. As the economy gets better, employers cannot hire skilled people enough. That is being demonstrated by the demands being seen from clients. My prediction is that the government will receive well over 200,000 H1b petitions this year.

2. Are you noticing any new trend in the applications you (or your firm) is processing/applying?

The technology industry continues to grow and it is apparent in the client calls we are getting as well as the cases we are preparing. So there is a high volume of H1bs in the tech industry. As technology gets more and more sophisticated, H1B’s are getting more and more difficult. For example, a few years ago, a Web Developer would unquestionably be a specialty occupation. However, the Department of Labor under it Occupational Outlook Handbook does not consider that a Bachelor’s degree is necessary for a Web Developer position. So, I would say that there is a trend in more applications in the tech industry. Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see how USCIS will treat these petitions and what new trends we will see from the government.

Dimo Michailov (@CILawGroup)

We are seeing a very busy H-1B cap season and our clients are generally filing more H-1B than they did last year, so my sense is that the number should be around or slightly higher than last year. Around 180,000-190,000 applications.

Emily Neumann (@Immigrationgrl)

1. How many total H1B Visa FY 2016 petitions do you think USCIS would receive?

Based on our observation, we are expecting more then 250K applications this year.

2. Have you noticed any new trend in the applications this year?

We are noticing lots of requests from the masters degree people for filing duplicate H-1B (more here). According to us that is not a good idea and will end up in revoking both H-1B’s.


Greg Siskind (@gsiskind)

I’m not good at making predictions, but I’m guessing we’ll see a ten to twenty percent increase over last year’s filings. I haven’t noticed any major new trends this year. I think a lot of people are watching the changes announced by President Obama to see how it might affect the H-1B category, but it is still too early to say for sure and won’t affect this year’s cap.


Now, here’s my Here’s my 7 Bold H1B Visa 2016 Predictions (not from Attorney’s)


h1b 2016 predictions

There’s a saying – Two things are certain in Life – Taxes and Death. This year, three things are certain in life – Taxes, Death and H1B Visa Lottery.

Why I’m not expecting over 200,000 H1B Visa 2016 Applications?

The H1B Visa Buzz” is less compared to last year. I don’t have the same level of access as an Immigration Attorney but my gut instinct says, number of H1B Applications will be less than 150,000. I could be 100% wrong, but let’s wait and see.

If the number of applications is less compared to last year, then that’s good news right? There will be better odds of getting picked in the lottery.

Last year, here’s the selection percentage

  • About 40% odds for General Cap
  • About 80% chances of Advanced Degree Cap

From the trends, questions and comments I can see that, many H1B Visa applicants who are applying  (F-1 Students and H-4 Visa Holder’s) are applying via Multiple Employers (here and here).

Look at my 8 bold H1B 2016 predictions (#4 and #6). Why? The primary reason is due to Multiple H1B Applications.  People to such extent to get H1B Visa (like I want to get H1B to get BMW Car is once such example). Most of the H1b applicants applying via multiple employers are likely to be using a consulting company. It’s not always going to be a pleasant experience when applying for H1B Visa via consulting company from outside USA.

H1B Visa Section Odds

Those with Advanced Degree will have must higher chances of getting selected in the lottery.


You have 2 chances in the lottery.

Once in the Advanced Degree Lottery.

Second time in General Cap Lottery.

But, the odds are stacked against you as a General Cap Applicant.

What’s Your Predictions?

Can you guess how many H1B Visa applications would USCIS receive this year? Let’s see who will be correct.

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  1. I guess it will be less than last year because of the new h4 EAD rule. I guess it will be around 100000 to 110000.

      1. i agree. My laywer- top lawyer at one of the largest tech companies in the world – predicts around 110,000.

      2. Hi Raghu,

        Any idea how many applications USCIS has received till date for H1B.


  2. I guess it would be 120000. There will be demand for advanced degree lottery and multiple applications filed by an individual candidate for the lottery.

  3. It would be definitely less than last year because of new H4 EAD and multiple applications.

    1. Kamal! what do you mean by multiple applications. Can you please clarify.

  4. I guess it will be atleast 250,000 due to various factors such as previous years missed lottery applicants, many internationals graduating and on OPT, 17 month OPT extensions, growth in US economy.

  5. Hi Raghu,
    Do you have an idea about the number of applications in the advanced degree cap every year? I couldn’t find the statistics

    1. Author

      UCSIS doesn’t report that Advanced Degree Cap count numbers.

      1. Hi Raghu,

        Any idea how many applications USCIS has received till date for H1B.


    1. There will be no lottery or less competitive lottery this year. This analysis is based on various factors.

      Multiple factors.
      1. L1B are getting approved nowasdays.
      2. This year in H1 It will mass RFE and rejections for folks applying with multiple employers and also small or doubtfully companies.
      3. H4 EAD rule will reduce application count in H1.
      4. I 140 EAD rule implemented last year will further reduce application
      5. Indian companies are selective this year to file H1b since majority of their employees going on site just switch companies. This constitute a major chunk of applications. Like last year there was 30k application just from one indian IT company. The USCIS has questioned this company.
      6. This year Americans joining IT market from college is more than ever. Genuine companies prefer to hire Americans over H1 as it saves cost n hassles of visa.

      1. Application with multiple employers is permitted? You mentioned “RFE and rejections for folks applying with multiple employers”, reason being I am applying with 2 (top tier) IT companies this year.

  6. We are trying this year for the first time through an independent attorney. She predicts anywhere above 200,000 applications.
    @Raghu – Any idea till which date will USCIS accept the applications? Although the cap will be reached on 1st April itself, how many days will they accept the applications?

      1. Thanks. Our application was sent over on 4th April which should ideally reach the USCIS by 7th.

  7. Hey Raghuram,

    I just wanted to clarify regarding the H1b lottery system and chances of approval. I understand that its a random selection. I can see huge IT giants apply for more number of petition. In my case my employer applies only one application in the whole organisation. So how much chances are there where as my petition will get selected in lottery? Thanks in advance for your comments


  8. Guessing on the numbers

    124,000 (2014) –> 172,000 (2015) –>149,000 (172000 + 50000 -(30,000(H4 EAD rule) – 46000(duplicates))) (2016)

    I am thinking around 149,000

    1. Hi,
      What do you mean by 46000 duplicates? Is USCIS filtering out duplicate applications before lottery? If yes, how they filter?

      1. No they dont before the lottery! after the lottery if two applications picked then they will start working on it!

    1. Arey yar wait till 7th Uscis is going to tell the count why you worried.

      1. Raghu,

        I have applied on Non AD/RP category. Can you please tell me, when can i expect my lottery results? I think, now there are doing AD and Non AD PP. When they will start RP.

    1. Hey Raghuram, I remember you. last year also you were the active user and lost the lottery correct? You look thin now.

    2. Hi Raghu,
      Any idea what time they announced? Our application was delivered at 12:40pm on 7th April. I hope our application is accepted.

  9. How come so many individuals are openly confessing to filing multiple applications? Is that not fraudulent?

  10. When USCIS is going to inform about the H1B total applications ?

    Is filling of more petition from different employers is legal ?

  11. Hi, I have a question about the H1B lottery. Do you think that big IT giants who file many H1B applications have more chances of selection than any other smaller company that would probably file just 1 or 2 applications. Would that mean that there are high chances that smaller company would not get any H1Bs? Please share your thoughts.


    1. Author

      H1B season changes, but questions don’t 🙂 Every time there’s lottery, I see the same questions.

      As far we know it’s random selection. So, logically, a company with large number of application stand to gain. But, it’s also possible for them to lose out if smaller companies number gets selected.

  12. What happens to duplicate picked quota, how USCIS handles it to replace other petition, will they execute one more lottery on top of it.

    Example: If A person files two petitions from two different companies, assuming both got selected, however that person will choose to go with one and further with draws other petition, How USCIS fills the blank

    Any ideas please ?

    1. Author

      We don’t know if they use that petition or ignore it. Based on the stats I have seen, they may not be allocating that to other applicants.

      1. If thats the case then lot of prospective applicants might loose and there is chance that good number of visas go unused at all.. I heard that unused previous years visas will be added to the next year CAP .. is that correct Raghu ?

  13. How many Advanced degree applications were received for H1B-2015?
    What are the predictions for the same cap this year?

    1. Hi Raghu,
      My Application is picked up in the lottery. I am so happy :-). Just now received mail from my employer. I have applied Non AD-RP. Is there a way to track the processing using receipt number?


        1. Yes Its been ten days..I dont see any change of my case status.Will that give any status? Like intial review,acceptance,decision pending something like that?

          1. If your application was filed in regular processing then you would see any update after few days only. Currently premium processing is under progress so regular applications will take some days to be updated. You can also register on uscis for sms/email alerts.

  14. Dear Friends,
    Can anyone let me know that how many days before USCIS encash the cheque prior to sending out receipt numbers? I shall be thankful.


  15. Hi last year I applied for H1b they given me petition no but not selected this year also I applied, how can we know whether the employer submit our application or not please let me know I m really confused on this. .
    It’s regular and please let me know upto which date I can keep hope.

    1. Author

      No you can’t find out. Just have to trust your employer.

  16. Hi Raghu,
    If we are through the lottery, does that mean we are 90% in for the VISA, or will there be any twists when they check our documents etc.,

    1. Author

      About 15% rejection from previous years. So you not yet out of the woods.

  17. Hi Raghu,

    After filing the H1, if the client gets changed do we need to file the H1 amendment?….If so what is the time limit for filing this…
    Does this have any negative impacts??

    1. Author

      New client location change requires H1B amendment. Wait for new video interview for more details.. But, this has time delay impact.

  18. My wife’s application (Regular, Non Advanced Degree, Vermont) is approved. We got the case number from the consultant today. Very Very Happy :). Now I’m waiting for my result from my employer.

  19. Hello,

    I havent still heard anything about H1 visa. My question is there any chance of me getting the visa this time and how should I wait to hear about my visa?


  20. Hi Raghu,

    Got an RFE for my H 1 B application today – PP.

    Can you advise what would the course of action after this. I am so worried. Got picked up in the lottery and now this RFE.

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Author

      Depends on type of RFE. I would like to know what this RFE is about.

      1. RFE is regarding my Education and Experience evaluation. My lawyer gave me a list of documents and the agency from which I will have to conduct my evaluation for degree certificates. I will have to contact all my previous employers and the universities for the required documents.
        I am so worried. What usually is the case when USCIS ask for these kind of documents?

        1. Author

          This is straight forward compared to others RFE that consultants get.

  21. Hi raghu,

    I got my receipt on arpil 21 2015.I got an rfe on may 6 2015,regarding my maintenance of status.Mine is h4 to h1.
    The rfe is about my I94 date.I have I797A approval extension till 2017.But When i recently entered US on dec 2015 I got I94 with my old visa which is 27 Sep 2015.Now Uscis is asking me to show validity of status for 28Sep 2015-30 Sep 2015.Since my H1b will start at 1-oct-2015.Orlese they said it has to go by consular processing.

    So what i did is i wen to CBP office and corrected my I94 date to reflect my latest extension date (ie 2017) and my attorney responded to the query yesterday.Waiting for the decision.I am not sure whether i will get approval .Please throw in your thoughts from your experience whether this RFE will get cleared or not?

    I am so tensed now.

    1. Author

      I don’t think you should have any problem. But, your attorney knows the best.

      1. Thanks Raghu.My attorney says the same,She said at any worst case h1b petition can be approved.

  22. Hi Raghu,

    Is there a way we can track our application results via Passport number or company name?


    1. Kabir, apparently you cannot track your application with your Passport Number not your Company Name. You will have to wait for the WAC number issued by USCIS.


      1. Hi Latha,

        One more question. I got my receipt number EAC15***** from USCIS. Is it possible to get the Petitioner name/Passport number using this receipt number? I am checking the status online but its not giving the information like Name etc. Please help me if you have any idea.


  23. My son’s application under premium category was submitted in time.He is an M.S Mechanical engineer from NCSU, Raleigh. His employer has informed him he is not selected for h1 b.
    What are the options for him to continue in U.S and apply for visa later.

    1. Author

      Does he have time left in STEM OP, if so how long?

  24. Hi,

    When will be the lottery result out for normal category. I and one of my friend have applied for h1b. My friend already got rejected and no updates till now for my application.


  25. Hi Raghu,

    1. If the name is not selected in lottery, when does USCIS returns the case.
    2. Will there be another lottery lot in June.

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