The Green Card backlog has been a longstanding issue for immigrants seeking permanent residency in the United States. With demand for Green Cards consistently exceeding the supply, the backlog continues to grow, leading to long wait times and uncertainty for applicants.
Given the dynamic nature of immigration policies and the impact of external factors like the COVID-19 pandemic on visa processing, applicants and stakeholders must stay updated on the latest news and statistics related to the backlog.
This article discusses the current state of the Green Card backlog, including the latest 2023 US Visa Backlog Statistics, news updates, and tips for navigating the application process. We also explore the potential impact of policy changes, the COVID-19 pandemic, and legal challenges on the backlog.
The Green Card backlog refers to the significant delays in the processing and approving applications for United States lawful permanent residency (Green Card). The backlog has accumulated due to various factors, including the annual limits on the number of Green Cards issued, per-country quotas, and processing delays caused by administrative and bureaucratic hurdles.
The Green Card backlog has significant consequences for applicants, as some can take years or even decades to obtain permanent residency. This can impact their professional and personal lives, as they may face uncertainty regarding their immigration status, international travel restrictions, and job opportunity limitations. Efforts have been made to address this issue through legislative reforms and administrative improvements, but the backlog remains a pressing challenge in the U.S. immigration system.
As of March 2023, there are approximately 439,131 pending Green Card applications in the United States. There are 50,223 applicants scheduled for interview appointments (good news: this is an increase from 36,372 in February).
In fact, there wasn’t a month in 2022 with more than 39,000 applicants scheduled for an interview.
The largest backlog originates from countries with high numbers of applicants, such as India, China, Mexico, and the Philippines.
Processing times vary by category and can be influenced by factors such as the applicant’s country of origin and the specific visa type. On average, family-sponsored applications can take between one to 20 years (or longer), depending on the preference category and country. Employment-based applications typically have shorter waiting periods, ranging from a few months to several years. When selected, diversity lottery applications usually take about one year to process.
Congress is considering several proposals to improve the Green Card backlog.
The current administration has issued several executive orders to reduce processing delays, increase transparency, and promote fairness in the immigration system.
These proposals, if enacted, have the potential to significantly alleviate the Green Card backlog and help create a more efficient and equitable immigration system. However, it is important to note that the legislative process can be lengthy and complex, with no guarantee that these proposals will ultimately become law.
USCIS is working to simplify the application process, reducing redundancies and bureaucratic hurdles to improve processing times. USCIS has also invested in technology to help automate repetitive tasks and make processing applications more efficient.
As vaccination rates increase and restrictions ease, consular services have gradually resumed normal operations, helping to alleviate some of the pandemic-related delays. Despite progress, the pandemic’s effects on processing times are still felt. USCIS is exploring options such as remote processing, digital document submission, and virtual interviews to continue addressing these challenges.
Several lawsuits have been filed against USCIS, challenging the agency’s handling of the backlog and demanding swifter processing of applications. Organizations such as the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and other immigrant advocacy groups continue to push for policy reforms and support applicants navigating the complex immigration system.
H.R. 3648 was a proposed bill in the United States Congress that aimed to provide relief to immigrant workers who have been waiting for decades for green cards due to country-of-origin allocation. This bill proposed eliminating the per-country caps for employment-based immigrant visas. The bill would have significantly reduced the backlog for green cards for individuals from countries with high demand, such as India and China.
H.R. 3648l was introduced in the House of Representatives in September 2021 by Representative Zoe Lofgren of California and gained support from several immigration advocacy groups. However, despite this support, the bill ultimately failed to come to a vote on the House floor.
The experienced immigration attorneys of Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C., have helped countless immigrants successfully navigate the complex U.S. immigration system and are dedicated to assisting clients in achieving their goals.
Our team can provide advice on how best to pursue a green card, assess your eligibility for alternative visa options, and represent you in court if needed. Contact us today to set up a consultation by calling (312) 444-1940 or filling out our online form.View Similar Articles