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H1B visa applications for 2025 saw a significant drop, decreasing by 38.6% compared to 2024. The H1B visa remains one of the most sought-after pathways for professionals seeking employment in the United States, as the demand for skilled foreign workers continues to rise. Every year, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) receives a significant number of applications, far exceeding the available slots. For the fiscal year 2025, this trend has dropped. In this blog, we will explore how many H1B applications were filed for 2025. We will discuss the factors influencing these numbers. Additionally, we will examine what this means for prospective applicants and employers.

What is the H1B Visa Lottery?

The H1B visa program is designed to allow U.S. companies to hire foreign workers in specialty occupations that require specialized knowledge and skills. Each year, the USCIS sets a cap on the number of H1B visas available, making the application process highly competitive. Understanding the number of applications filed for 2025 can provide valuable insights into the current demand for skilled labor and the landscape of the U.S. job market.

What is the annual cap for H1B visas?

The annual cap for H1B visas is set at 65,000, with an additional 20,000 visas available for applicants holding a master’s degree or higher from a U.S. institution. This brings the total number of H1B visas available each fiscal year to 85,000. However, the number of applications far exceeds this cap, leading to a lottery system to randomly select petitions for processing.

Number of H1B applications filed for 2025

For the fiscal year 2025, the USCIS received 479,953 H1B visa applications. This number represents a substantial decrease compared to previous years, reflecting the growing demand for skilled foreign workers across various industries.

The following chart from USCIS shows registration and selection numbers for fiscal years 2021-2025 (as of April 12, 2024):

Cap Fiscal YearTotal RegistrationsEligible Registrations*Eligible Registrations for Beneficiaries with No Other Eligible RegistrationsEligible Registrations for Beneficiaries with Multiple Eligible RegistrationsSelected Registrations

*The count of eligible registrations excludes duplicate registrations, those deleted by the prospective employer prior to the close of the registration period, and those with failed payments.

**The number of initial selections for FY 2024 – 110, 791 – was smaller in than in prior years primarily due to (a) establishing a higher anticipated petition filing rate by selected registrants based on prior years; and (b) higher projected Department of State approvals of H-1B1 visas, which count against the H-1B cap.

***The number of initial selections for FY 2025 – 120,603 – was smaller than in prior years primarily due to establishing a higher anticipated petition filing rate based on the beneficiary-centric selection process (i.e. selection by unique beneficiary). USCIS selected the number of unique beneficiaries projected as needed to reach the congressionally mandated caps and exemptions. All properly submitted registrations for those beneficiaries that were selected were set to a selected status. Accordingly, the number of selected registrations was higher than the number of selected beneficiaries and this number is not completely comparable to prior years that used a direct registration selection method.

Why did the number of H1B applications for 2024 decrease?

The number of H1B visa applicants for 2025 dropped significantly due to changes in the lottery selection process. Previously, the lottery was based on the number of H1B registrations submitted, allowing applicants to increase their chances by submitting multiple registrations. For instance, if one person submitted five registrations, all five were included in the lottery. However, the new H1B lottery process focuses on the individual applicant rather than the number of registrations.

Now, even if an applicant has five registrations from different employers, only one will be considered in the lottery. This change ensures fairness by requiring all employers to submit a valid passport or travel document for the H1B applicant. The online H1B registration system will use unique passport or travel document numbers. This ensures each applicant is entered only once in the lottery, preventing any unfair advantage.

The number of unique beneficiaries and employers remained nearly unchanged

According to information provided on the USCIS’ website, here are the key statistics regarding H1B visa applications for the fiscal year 2025:

  • The number of unique beneficiaries this year for FY 2025 (approximately 442,000) was comparable to the number last year for FY 2024 (approximately 446,000).
  • The number of unique employers this year for FY 2025 (approximately 52,700) was also comparable to the number last year for FY 2024 (approximately 52,000).
  • The number of eligible registrations, however, was down dramatically for FY 2025 (470,342) compared with FY 2024 (758,994) — a 38.6% reduction.
  • Overall, we saw an average of 1.06 registrations per beneficiary this year in FY 2025, compared to 1.70 for FY 2024.

What happens if you use multiple passports to apply for an H1B Visa?

For individuals with dual citizenship, only one passport can be used for all H1B registrations, even if they have multiple job offers. The USCIS mandates this rule to ensure fairness and transparency in the application process. Using different passport numbers or an alternate passport for additional registrations can lead to serious consequences. If the USCIS discovers such actions, they will invalidate the registrations and may deny or revoke any approvals in the future.

Impact on prospective applicants

The high number of applications filed each year means that the competition for H1B visas remains fierce. Prospective applicants should be aware of the following:

  • Lottery System: Due to the overwhelming number of applications, the USCIS conducts a lottery to randomly select petitions for processing. This means that even highly qualified candidates may not be guaranteed a visa.
  • Preparation and Documentation: Ensuring that applications are complete, accurate, and submitted on time is crucial. Working with legal experts or immigration consultants can help applicants navigate the complex process.
  • Alternative Options: Given the competitive nature of the H1B visa program, applicants should explore alternative visa options. Consider the L1 visa for intra-company transferees or the O1 visa for individuals with extraordinary abilities.

Impact on employers

For U.S. employers, the high number of H1B applications underscores the importance of strategic workforce planning. Companies should consider the following:

  • Talent acquisition strategies: Employers may need to broaden their talent acquisition strategies. This can include remote or international workers. Investing in training programs to develop local talent is important. These steps can help address talent shortages effectively.
  • Legal compliance: Ensuring compliance with immigration laws and regulations is essential to avoid legal complications and potential penalties.
  • Retention initiatives: Retaining existing employees, especially those on H1B visas, can help mitigate the impact of the competitive visa landscape.


The fiscal year 2025 saw a decrease in H1B applications filed. This reflects changes in the lottery selection process from last year. While the competition for H1B visas remains intense, both applicants and employers can take proactive steps to enhance their chances of success. By staying informed about the latest trends and regulations, and exploring alternative pathways, stakeholders can navigate the complexities of the H1B visa program and contribute to the growth and innovation of the U.S. economy.

Alexander Alfano

Alexander Alfano is the Director and Chief Legal Counsel of Financial Legal Group INC. He is a member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), a member of the Federal Bar, and is licensed to practice in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.