July 22

USCIS Issuing 280,000 Green Card Backlog

Time Is Running Out For Green Card Applicants

Green Card Deadline

A record number of green card surplus is putting a huge pressure on USCIS. Under immense pressure USCIS has to issue 280,000 greens cards before the end of their FY 2022. This deadline is unique because USCIS and other immigration agencies FY starts every year on October 1st. Last year 66,000 green cards went to went to waist because the immigration agency was not able to issue all 66,000 in time.

The reasoning was primarily due to pandemic driven backlogs and lack of staff. All of the wasted green cards caused a big crisis for USCIS and was very unfortunate for many immigrants could have became a U.S. citizen to live out the American dreams, however this year there’s even more uproar amongst the immigrant community in fear of a larger number of potential U.S. citizens whose case is denied simply because of how large USCIS workload is this year. Last year USCIS had 260,000 green cards that needed to be issued before the fiscal year ended. This means USCIS was able to issue over 200,000 green cards last fiscal year before the deadline.

Green Card Surplus

Overall green cards surplus is great news for employers that are wanting to file green cards for permanent residency for their employees. The green card surplus will also help applicants from India and China who’ve been stuck in USCIS backlog limbo. The surplus will help process their case faster because they’re will be more green cards available per category and the backlogs are will be reduced. Additionally there’s been a lot of approvals as we head towards the end of the fiscal year. The reason for a high surplus of employment visas is due to the pandemic which caused embassies and consulates to close. While closed embassies and consulates were not processing family petitions on regular basis as a result these visas spilt over to the employment side giving USCIS a surplus of employment based green cards to be processed. This green card surplus is atypical to the 140,000 cap.

Organizational Changes For USCIS

USCIS Changes

Recent months have seen lawmakers fail to pass bills that would return unused green cards from prior fiscal years. Legislation recently advanced by the House Judiciary Committee would lift per-country caps on employment-based green cards that fuel backlogs for certain countries. This bill (H.R. 3648) also would give applicants stuck in backlogs expanded travel rights and more flexibility to change jobs.

Many applicants from India and China have filed numerous lawsuits against the government to impel the processing of applications and as a result USCIS took notice and started to process green cards at a faster rate. As USCIS continues to tackle this backlog of green card applications, some have wondered whether the agency has the capacity to issue 280,000 cards in one month. However, USCIS has stated the following. “We are dedicated to ensuring we use as many available employment-based visas as possible in FY 2022, which ends on Sept. 30, 2022.” USCIS is also waiving more and more employment based green card interviews. USCIS has also created an online filing system called MyUSCIS. The online account helps applicants speed up their processing time and also eliminating in person biometrics which is a time-consuming process.

Bottom Line & Priority Dates

To date, USCIS has issued more than 225,000 green cards so far this fiscal year. If current trends continue, USCIS should be able to reach its goal of issuing 280,000 green cards by the end of the fiscal year. Bottom line if the agencies issue all 280,000 green cards people are still waiting on priority dates for wasted green cards and action must be take swiftly.


About the author: Jon Velie has practiced Immigration law since 1993. He is CEO of OnlineVisas

Jon is an Amazon number one best-selling author of H-1B Visa: Application & Approval, is regularly covered by major media and has won a number of international awards. Jon was also pivotal in the Cherokee Freedmen Supreme Court case.


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