DOS Annual Report Reveals 4,367,052 Visa Applicants are Waiting in Line

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In October, the Department of State (DOS) asked the National Visa Center (NVC) to report the totals of applicants on the waiting list in the various numerically-limited immigrant categories. Applications for adjustment of status which are pending at USCIS offices are not included in the tabulation of the immigrant waiting list data which is provided below. As such, the following figures only reflect petitions which the DOS has received and do not include the significant number of applications held with the USCIS offices.

The following figures have been compiled from the NVC report submitted to the Department on November 1, 2016, and show the number of immigrant visa applicants on the wait list in the various categories subject to numerical limit. All figures reflect persons registered under each respective numerical limitation, for example, the totals represent not only principal applicants, but also their derivative spouses and children.

Family Sponsored Preferences

Category & Number as of November 1, 2016

Family first: 310,884

Family second total: 700,212

    2A Spouses/Children: 276,839

    2B Adult Sons/Daughters: 423,373

Family third: 781,810

Family fourth: 2,466,667

TOTAL: 4,259,573

Employment-based Preferences

Category & Number as of November 1, 2016

Employment first: 3,801

Employment second: 14,370

Employment third total: 64,325

    Skilled workers: 55,521

    Other workers: 8,804

Employment fourth total: 354

Employment fifth total: 24,629

TOTAL: 107,479

GRAND TOTAL: 4,367,052

Immigrant Waiting List by Country

Immigrant visa issuances during fiscal year 2017 will be limited to no more than 226,000 in the family-sponsored preferences and 140,000 in the employment-based preferences. (Visas for immediate relatives, i.e. spouses, unmarried children under the age of 21 years, and parents of U.S. citizens are not subject to numerical limitation, however.)

The 12 countries with the highest number of waiting list registrants in fiscal year 2017 are listed below. Together these represent 78% of the total. This list includes all countries with at least 50,000 persons on the waiting list. There is a seven-person per-country limit, which visa issuances to any single country may not exceed. This limit serves to avoid potential monopolization of virtually all the annual limitation by applicants from only a few countries. That limitation is not a quota to which any particular country is entitled, however. For fiscal year 2017 the per-country limit will be 25,260.

Country & number of applicants

Mexico: 1,309,282

Philippines: 387,323

India: 331,423

Vietnam: 266,297

China-mainland born: 252,497

Dominican Republic: 199,055

Bangladesh: 179,504

Pakistan: 127,768

Haiti: 115,580

Cuba: 106,351

El Salvador: 78,947

Jamaica: 54,398

All others: 958,627

WORLDWIDE TOTAL: 4,367,052

Family-sponsored Immigrant Waiting List by Country

The 10 countries with the highest number of family-sponsored waiting list registrants are listed below; together these represent 74.8% of the total. This list includes all countries with at least 106,000 persons on the waiting list. (The per-country limit in sets an annual maximum on the amount of Family preference visas which may be issued to applicants from any one country; the fiscal year 2017 per-country limit will be 15,820.)

Family-sponsored Preferences

Country & Total

Mexico: 1,308,000

Philippines: 362,233

India: 299,121

Vietnam: 265,496

China-mainland born: 221,665

Dominican Republic: 198,993

Bangladesh: 179,434

Pakistan: 127,386

Haiti: 115,563

Cuba: 106,347

All Others: 1,075,335

WORLDWIDE TOTAL: 4,259,573

Employment-based Immigrant Waiting List by Country

The five countries with the highest number of employment-based waiting list registrants are listed below; together these represent 87.5% of the total. This list includes all countries with at least 1,200 persons on the waiting list. (The per-country limit in INA 202 sets an annual maximum on the amount of employment preference visas which may be issued to applicants from any one country; the FY 2017 per-country limit will be 9,800.)

Employment-based Preferences

Country & Total

India: 32,302

China-mainland born: 30,832

Philippines: 25,090

Korea, South: 4,501

Mexico: 1,282

All Others: 13,472

WORLDWIDE TOTAL: 107,479

To read the full 15-page list, please click here.

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