Wait For Immigrant Visas Is Over A Decade For Some

Article publisher: 
Huffington Post
Article date: 
4 January 2014
Article category: 
National News
Article Body: 

...Here are some questions and answers about the U.S. immigration system, and the widely varying waiting times facing those who deal with it.


Q: How many people are "in line" seeking to emigrate to the U.S.? Are they on any sort of comprehensive official list?

A: There are many different queues... In general, to obtain an immigrant visa, an applicant must be sponsored by a prospective employer or relative who is either a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident.

According to the latest State Department figures, there are 4.2 million immigrant visa applications pending at U.S. diplomatic missions abroad based on family sponsorships, and about 111,600 employment-based applications. On top of this are permanent-residency applications... such as refugees and foreign students.


Q: How many of the immigrant visa applications are likely to be approved?

A: Under current U.S. law, immigrant visas for the 2014 fiscal year are limited to no more than 226,000 for family-sponsored applications and about approximately 150,000 for job-related applications.


Q: In terms of chances for approval, does it make a difference what country an immigrant is from?

A: Yes... For 2014, the maximum number of applications that can be approved from any one country is set at 26,320, while Mexico has 1,312,198 pending applications and the Philippines has 436,639. Under U.S. law, no one country can account for more than 7 percent of the approved applications...


Q: How long can the waits be?

A: For some categories, applications can be processed in just a few months — for highly skilled professionals, for children being adopted by American parents, for the spouses or fiances of American citizens.

However, the timetable is far slower for adult children or siblings of U.S. citizens or permanent residents... it's estimated that such applications will take from 10 to 12 years to be processed... 20 years for applicants from Mexico...


CAIRCO Research

State Department information