December 4, 2023

Immigration Green Card

Immigration Is Good For You

Wait for US green card gets longer for Indian applicants

2 min read
Wait for US green card gets longer for Indian applicants

Wait for US green card gets longer for Indian applicants

Photo : BCCL

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.

In view of a large number of Indian applicants for green card, the wait is likely to remain long, with 369,322 applicants having approved employment visa petitions awaiting visa availability, according to recent data from the US immigration agency.

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.

Indians filed the highest number of I-140 petitions in the first two quarters of fiscal 2022 (October 2021-March 2022), in line with the trends over the last several years, as per data released by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The agency received 37,719 applications in the six-month period. In the same period, 25,274 applications were approved, including some filed earlier. This doesn’t mean that they have been issued green cards.

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.


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