Tens of thousands of Indians, sometimes in a year more than a hundred thousand, apply for green cards to live their American dream in the US. But, as the number of green cards to be issued is capped around 7 percent against applications for each country in the US, a vast majority of Indian applicants have no choice but to wait for their turn.
Almost all of these are applicants under the EB2 and EB3 (for professionals and skilled workers) categories, used by technology companies to sponsor visas for immigrant workers. The green card, or permanent residence, option is available on these visas.
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“This only tells you how many people are waiting for their visa numbers to get a green card. They have not provided the number of family members that are attached to these principal applicants, and this is important because visas granted to family members are also counted towards the per-country maximum allowed each year. So, we are looking at several decades of wait time,” said Poorvi Chothani, managing partner at LawQuest, a global immigration law firm, in a business daily ET’s report.
These applicants have an approved Form 1-140 which is the first step towards an employment-based green card. “After an I-140 is approved, employment-based applicants who are Indian-born usually have to wait several years for their priority dates to become current. After the dates become current, the final step of the green card, the issuance of the immigrant visa, can further take several years because of the USCIS processing delays,” said Rajiv S Khanna, managing partner at immigration. com.
H-1B and L-1 visa holders can only live and work in the US for a limited number of years. Therefore, most of them apply for permanent resident status, within a few years of arriving in the United States.