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Long Green Card Wait Times for Indians: Here’s Why You Might Be Stuck in Line



Many Indians seeking permanent residency in the United States face a frustrating reality: significantly longer wait times compared to other nationalities.

This news comes from a recent update from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has shed light on a concerning trend: Indian nationals are experiencing significantly longer wait times for US green cards compared to their Chinese counterparts.


Over 1 Million Indians Stuck in Green Card Backlog

USCIS data reveals a backlog exceeding 1.2 million Indians currently waiting for employment-based green cards. These individuals fall under the EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 preference categories, which prioritize highly skilled workers like doctors, engineers, and scientists.

The Per-Country Limit

The extended wait times for Indians stem primarily from a policy known as the “per-country limit.” This regulation restricts the number of green cards issued to applicants from any single country each year.

Due to India’s large population, this cap disproportionately affects Indian applicants compared to those from nations with smaller populations, like China and the Philippines.


Also Read: USCIS Introduces Indefinite Validity for Form I-693 For Green Card Applicants

Decades-Long Wait Times

The current backlog translates into lengthy waiting periods for Indian applicants. According to reports, some individuals in the EB-2 category might face delays exceeding a decade. This extended wait time can create uncertainty and hinder career advancement for these highly skilled professionals.

Also Read: Fast Track to Green Card: National Interest Waiver Explained


Impact on Families

The long wait times often force Indian applicants to prioritize their own applications, potentially delaying the processing of green cards for spouses and children. This creates a situation where families are separated for extended periods.

Current Situation: May 2024 Update

As of April 2024, Indian applicants are in the second position for green card allocation, with applications filed before May 15, 2012, deemed eligible for consideration, according to the State Department. This underscores the lengthy process and stringent requirements faced by aspiring immigrants from India.

Potential Solutions for Reducing Backlogs

The issue of green card backlogs is a complex one, and there’s no easy fix. However, discussions surrounding potential reforms, such as increasing the annual green card quota or revising the per-country limit system, might offer some hope for reducing wait times for all applicants in the future.


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