Record RFE and Denial Rates For H-1B: Trend Expected to Continue for 2020

During the past 5 years, H-1B denial rates have been historically high. In the fiscal year of 2015, the denial rate for H-1B petitions was only 6%. Prior to then, the denial rate has never surpassed 8%. However, due to a stricter immigration policy by the Trump administration, denial rates have steadily increased. The denial rates of H-1B petitions for initial employment, which are cases that count against the H-1B cap, have reached 24% in both FY 2018 and FY 2019. The denial rate is three times higher over the last two years compared to the denial rate in FY 2015.

Unsurprisingly, H-1B petitions are also more scrutinized as seen by an increase in Requests for Evidence (RFE). In FY 2015, only 22.3% of H-1B petitions were issued an RFE. In comparison, the RFE issuance rate reached 39.6% in FY 2019 and 39.3% in FY 2018. USCIS has also become stricter when it comes to analyzing responses to RFEs. In FY 2015, 83.2% of the H-1B cases that received an RFE was subsequently approved. However, only 62% of H-1B cases were approved after an RFE in FY 2019 and 62% approval rate for FY 2018. To view the H-1B statistics, please click here.

This adjudication trend H-1B adjudication is projected to continue with the possibility of it being even stricter in the coming H-1B season. It is critical to prepare your H-1B application in the manner that will get the best results. Here at Zhang & Associates, we have observed this trend first hand as we have been working on H-1B cases since 1996. But by keeping an eye on changes in adjudication outcomes, the seasoned immigration attorneys at Zhang & Associates, with decades of collective experience successfully representing H-1B petitioners, are best equipped to tackle RFEs and navigate our clients through all their options, both in and outside of the H-1B category. In fact, a primary reason for our success over the span of more than two decades is that we don’t merely keep track of developments—we stay ahead of the curve, identifying trends first, recalibrating our strategies in response, and understanding the impetus to any changes made in immigration law or regulation.

It is clear to us how important the H-1B visa is to a host of industries and foreign nationals. If you are interested in a case evaluation at no charge, whether you have recently received an RFE on your pending H-1B petition or are contemplating your future H-1B or other nonimmigrant or immigrant visa options, we invite you to start a conversation with us here.

For more information on the H-1B visa, refer to our articles here.

Former U.S. Consular officer, Attorney Sechyi Laiu joined Zhang & Associates, P.C. on June 26, 2017

At Zhang & Associates, P.C., Attorney Laiu specializes on Consular Processing cases and business development. Attorney Laiu also focuses on TN visas, E visas, CBP administrative proceedings (monetary confiscation, deferred inspection), and overseas financial compliance.

Prior to joining Zhang & Associates, P.C., Attorney Laiu worked for the U.S. Department of State as a Chinese and Portuguese speaking diplomat. As a consular-coned officer who served in Vancouver (Canada), Shenyang (P.R. China), and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Attorney Laiu processed over 30,000 visa cases and worked in every section of Consular Affairs overseas (Fraud Prevention Unit, Immigrant Visas, Non-Immigrant Visas, and American Citizen Services).

He will use his experience and expertise to deliver the highest quality of service to our clients.

Founded in 1996, Zhang & Associates, P.C. offers legal services to clients worldwide in all aspects of U.S immigration law. We have successfully handled over ten thousand immigration cases.

At Zhang & Associates, P.C., our attorneys and supporting professionals are committed to providing high-quality immigration and non-immigration visa services. We specialize in NIW, EB-1, EB-5, PERM, I-485 I-130, H-1B, O, L and J cases. In the past twenty-two years, we have successfully helped over ten thousand clients get green cards. If you plan to apply for a green card, please send your CV to Attorney Jerry Zhang ( for a free evaluation.

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