Demand for Family and Employment Immigrant Visas Are High
By Reuben Seguritan
According to the National Visa Center (NVC) report submitted to the Department of State on November 1, 2019, there is a very high demand for immigrant visas. The report did not include the applications held with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) offices.
Every year there is a limited number of visas that can be granted for each immigrant visa category to all applicants in the world. This means that when the family-based or employment-based immigrant visa applications are submitted, the applicant or beneficiary must wait for a visa number to become available for him. Once there is a visa number available, the applicant or beneficiary may file the necessary documents for immigrant visa processing. Hence, all visa categories have a wait time and in the case of categories in high demand, the wait time can reach years or even decades.
For family-based immigrant visas, the visas issued to any single country may not exceed 7% of the total number of visas available per year. There are family-based petitions that have visa numbers immediately available. They do not have any wait time and are not included in the report. These are petitions filed by US citizens for their parents, spouses, and unmarried minor children under 21 years old.
For the first preference (F1) in the family-based visa categories which refer to unmarried sons and daughters, 21 years of age and older of US citizens, 23,400 visas are available for fiscal year 2020. The countries with the most number of applicants in the waiting list are Mexico (98,424), Dominican Republic (18,699) and the Philippines (15,283). The total number in the waiting list for this category is 235,728.
The second preference F2A which refers to spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age of US permanent residents, has 182,156 applications in the waiting list (5,686 from Philippines). The second preference F2B which are unmarried sons and daughters, 21 years of age or older of US permanent residents, has 282,551 applications in the waiting list (41,892 from the Philippines). The countries with the most number of applicants in the waiting list are Mexico, Dominican Republic and Cuba for F2A. For F2B, the top countries are Mexico, the Philippines and the Dominican Republic.
For the third preference (F3) which are married sons and daughters of US citizens, there are 647,236 applications in the waiting list. Mexico (204,288), the Philippines (112,514) and India (40,057) top the list. There are 23,400 visas available in this F3 category in 2020. For the fourth preference (F4), which are brothers and sisters of US citizens, there are 2,146,581 applications in the waiting list. Mexico (721,208), India (200,090) and Bangladesh (158,318) top this category. The Philippines has 102,721. There are only 65,000 visas available for this category F4 in 2020.
The report submitted by the NVC on the number of applications in the waiting list for employment-based visas is not a complete picture of all of the employment-based immigrant visas. This is because 80% of all employment-based immigrants were processed as adjustment of status cases at the USCIS. Nevertheless, the report is important to see the large demand for visas.
In the first preference employment-based visa category (EB-1) there are 13,065 in the waiting list. The top countries are China, India and Canada.
For the second preference employment-based visa category (EB-2) the top countries in the waiting list are India, China and South Korea. There are 23,410 applicants in total in the waiting list.
In the third preference employment-based visa category (EB-3) there are 2 subcategories. The first refers to “skilled workers” and “professionals”. The second is other workers for persons performing unskilled labor The total number of applications in the waiting list for the “skilled workers” and “professionals” is 43,725. The top countries are India (20,751), the Philippines (11,956) and China (2,794). For the “other workers” the total number in the waiting list is 7,643 and the top countries are China (1,416), the Philippines (1,011) and Mexico (995).
The fourth preference employment-based visa category (EB-4) are applicants who are special immigrants such as religious workers. The total number is the waiting list is 1,055 and the top countries are India, Mexico and South Korea.
The fifth preference employment-based visa category (EB-5) has a waiting list of 37,090 and the top countries are China, Vietnam and India.