A green card is issued to individuals who have established their legal permanent residence in the United States, and it’s the precursor to becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen.
The Cato Institute reports that there’s currently a backlog of more than 9 million for employment and family green cards. This number marks the highest it’s been over the past three years. In 2018 and 2019, there was just over an 8.7 million backlog. It first surpassed 9 million in 2020.
Who is being affected by this backlog?
The majority of the backlogged applications are family members of U.S. citizens or permanent residents and those seeking employment visas. Some of these individuals are also seeking an adjustment of their current status.
Data compiled by the Cato Institute shows that at least a million applications for employment-based green cards are backlogged so far in 2021. The organization discovered these applicants have been wait-listed because the cap on employed-based green cards has already been met. This doesn’t come as a surprise since the request for employment-based green cards has steadily been increasing over the past few years. During the third quarter of 2018, the number of backlogged applications was just over 1.2 million. It’s currently at just over 1.5 million.
The most recent data suggests that there has been an increase in new applicants for family-based green cards and a significant uptick in the adjustment of status petitions. The number of applicants for family-based green cards has nearly doubled during the past few decades, from 3.3 million in 1992 to 6.2 million in 2009. The adjustment of status petitions has nearly tripled in the past eight years. It increased from 116,000 in 2012 to 358,000 in 2020.
What can you do to improve your prospects?
Many analysts are noting that it may be best for prospective immigrants and green card holders to begin applying for both family and employment-based green cards or to apply for them under two different companies. You’ll definitely want to carefully review your situations to see whether one of these options is ideal for you.