The U.S. immigration system is complex and multifaceted, with various categories and preferences for different types of immigrants. One of the primary ways people immigrate to the U.S. is through family-based immigration, where U.S. citizens (USC) and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR) can petition for their relatives to join them in the country.
The Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, is the first step in this process. Once approved, the petition is placed in line based on the date it was filed until a visa number becomes available. However, the demand often exceeds the limited number of visas available each year, leading to a backlog of approved petitions waiting for visa availability.
As of March 2023, the total number of approved family-based petitions awaiting visa availability was 1,304,376. The distribution of these petitions varies by the beneficiary’s country of birth and the preference category.
The preference categories are as follows:
- F1: Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens
- F2A: Spouses and Children of Lawful Permanent Residents
- F2B: Unmarried Sons and Daughters (age 21+) of Lawful Permanent Residents
- F3: Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens
- F4: Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens
Photo by Ferdinand Stöhr
The largest number of petitions come from Mexico, with a total of 495,067 petitions across all categories. The Philippines, India, and China also have significant numbers of petitions, while the rest of the world accounts for a substantial portion of the total.
It’s important to note that these figures represent only primary beneficiaries. Dependents are not included in these counts. Also, the counts may differ from those reported in previous periods due to system updates and post-adjudicative outcomes.
For more details on Green Card Eligibility Categories, you can visit the official USCIS page here.
The priority date is based on the March 2023 Visa Bulletin Final Action Dates chart, which can be found here.
For a complete list of USCIS forms and descriptions, visit the official USCIS forms page here.
The data used in this analysis comes from the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Office of Performance and Quality CLAIMS3, queried in May 2023.
The U.S. immigration system is a dynamic and evolving entity. Understanding the current state of affairs can help prospective immigrants, their families, and immigration advocates navigate this complex landscape. Stay tuned to our blog for more updates and insights into U.S. immigration trends and policies.