The denial rate for new H-1B petitions dipped to 7% in the third quarter of fiscal year 2020, though overall H-1B denial rates remain high, according to an analysis of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) data by the National Foundation for American Policy.

Key Points:                                                                                                          

  • According to the NFAP analysis, H-1B denials were lower in the third quarter (April to June) compared to the rest of the fiscal year, because this period coincides with the first batch of H-1B cap season adjudications when cases are decided quickly and the agency issues requests for evidence (RFEs) or holds other applications for later in the fiscal year.
  • The 7% H-1B denial rate during this period is comparable to the 10% denial rate in the same quarter in fiscal year 2019.
  • The overall H-1B denial rate remains high. Through the first three quarters of fiscal 2020, the denial rate is 21%, consistent with 21% in fiscal 2019 and 24% in 2018. In 2015, the H-1B denial rate was 6%.
  • IT consulting companies account for the highest H-1B denial rates, which increased by 14 percentage points from fiscal year 2015 through the first three quarters of 2020.
Fiscal Year H-1B denial rate
2020 (Q1-Q3) 21%
2019 21%
2018 24%
2017 13%
2016 10%
2015 6%

Source: USCIS

Fiscal Quarter 2020 H-1B Denial Rate 2019 H-1B Denial Rate
Q1 30% 32%
Q2 27% 35%
Q3 7% 10%
Q4 Not yet available 15%

Source: NFAP

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