h1b visa 2020 probability odds lottery process
H1B Visa

Do You Want to Know H1B Visa 2020 Probability in the H1B Visa Lottery?

Do you want to know your H1B Visa 2020 probability?

I’m sure you have heard about the reversal of H1B Visa Lottery order for H1B 2020 fiscal year.

How does that impact you?

What about the odds of getting selected in the H1B 2020 Visa Lottery?

Let’s Take a Deep Dive:

The probability of picked in H1B Visa 2020 lottery is high for Advanced Degree cap applicants.

Why is that?

USCIS announced for H1B Visa FY 2020, Advanced Degree Cap lottery will be conducted first.

Unselected Advanced Degree cap applicants will be added to Regular Cap pool for the second lottery.

Not clear?

Let me show you via these two flow charts

H1B Visa Lottery Order – 2019, 2018, 2017 and Before

If you have followed the H1B Visa Lottery process in the last year and before that, the two random lottery selection of the H1B visa process looked as follows.

h1b visa 2019 and before lottery order

New H1B Visa 2020 Lottery Order

H1B Visa applicants from April 1, 2019 for FY 2020 will have the following Random Lottery Order for selection of Cap-Subject H1B Visa petitions.


new h1b visa lottery order 2020


H1B Visa 2019 Probability

Before we can find the H1B Visa 2020 probability, let’s see what were the odds for last year H1B Visa 2019 cap-subject applicants.

h1b visa 2019 cap count

Here’s the breakdown of H1B Visa Applications from USCIS

  • 95,885 were submitted towards the cap exemption of 20,000 for holders of U.S. advanced degrees, and
  • 94,213 were submitted towards the standard quota of 65,000.

Advanced-degree H1B Visa petitions had a 21% chance of selection in the advanced-degree lottery.

All remaining H1B Visa cases had a 38% chance of selection in the Regular Cap lottery.

What will be the Cap Count for H1B Visa 2020 petitions?

My initial estimate for H1B Visa 2020 predictions was 125,000 to 140,000 total H1B Visa applications.

And I’m revising that estimate as follows:

  • Expected Cap Count for Masters Degree Cap H1B Applications – 100,000 to 120,000
  • Expected Cap Count for for Regular Cap Applications – 65,000 to 85,000

Why Increase in Advanced Degree H1B Visa Cap petitions?

About 20,000 more students would have been graduated and came into OPT are likely to apply for H1B Visa this year.

Why Decrease in Regular Cap Petitions?

I believe major IT Services companies might not be as motivated as previous years to apply for H1B Visa for their employees.

Due to the increase in RFE and H1B Visa Denials. That’s why I have lowered the estimates for Regular Cap Applications.

That puts us to a total of 165,000 to 205,000 total H1B Visa applications.

H1B Visa 2020 Probability and Odds

I don’t have to do complex math here to find the H1B Visa 2020 probability.

And if I try do it, it will require assumptions and estimates.

Why is that?

H1B Visa 2020 lottery order have been changed.

To calculate the odds of getting selected in the lottery for Regular Cap is straight forward.

Let’s use the last year’s rounded H1B Visa Cap Count Numbers.

  • Total Regular Cap Applications = 94,000
  • Total Advanced Degree Cap Applications = 96,000
  • Total Petitions = 200,000


  • Regular Cap = 94,000/200,000 = 47%
  • Advanced/Masters Cap = 96,000/200,00 = 48%

Lottery One – Regular + Advanced Cap

Expected Number of Advanced Degree Cap Petitions to be Selected = 48% 

You might ask, how can I assume 48% of  Advanced Degree petitions would be selected.

That’s what DHS have used for the calculation during the H1B Visa Lottery Pre-Registration rule making explanation.

h1b advanced degree cap selection in random lottery 1

Let me save you the trouble of reading 100’s  pages of the Rule and give a short explanation.

DHS assumed the following

  • Total H1B Petitions = 192,918
  • Total Advanced Degree Petitions = 55,900 (29% of total applications)
  • Total selected in the lottery with combined regular and advanced = 29% of 65,000 = 18,835

For our math, we are using last year’s Advanced Degree Cap petition count.

So, we will arrive at the following total for the H1B advanced degree petitions and Regular Cap selected at the first round of H1B Visa lottery.

  • Advanced Degree Petitions = 48% of 65,000 = 31,200
  • Regular Cap = 65,000 – 31,200 = 33,800 ( I did not use 47% here)

After the First Round of  H1B Visa lottery is completed.

  • Remaining Advanced Degree Cap applications = 96,000 – 31,200 = 64,800

Second H1B Lottery – Advanced Degree Cap Holders

20,000 would be selected from the remaining pool of 64,800 Advanced Degree Cap applications.

Total Advanced Degree Holder Selected = 20,000 + 31,200 = 51,200

Now, let’s look at the H1B Visa 2020 Probability

Advanced Degree Cap

  • Percentage of Total Application = 51,200/200,000 = 25.6%
  • Percentage of Advanced Degree Cap Applications = 51,200/96,000 = 53.3%

Regular Cap

  • Percentage of Total Application = 33,800/200,000 = 16.9%
  • Percentage of  Total Regular Cap = 33,800/94,000 = 35.95%

Depending on the H1B Visa 2020 Cap count  for both quotas, we would know for certain the expected number of applications under each cap would be selected in the lottery.


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  1. The math and assumptions are not only wrong, it’s also very confusing. Kudos to attempt it, but be careful with calculations.

  2. Total Regular Cap Applications = 94,000
    Total Advanced Degree Cap Applications = 96,000
    Total Petitions = 200,000

    94k + 96k = 190k (not 200k). How do you account for the other 10k applications?

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