How many Visas are Issued every Year in the US?

150 150 Marisol Mancera

How many Visas are Issued every Year in the US?

The United States is the world’s most preferred destination for people across the globe. It is regarded to be a land of opportunities, and many people try to find their way there in their search for a better life. However, not everyone who wishes to get to the U.S makes it there. The country is known to have the most strict visa policies worldwide. Things are even harder with the current Trump’s Administration whose campaign agenda included tightening the visa policies.

To control the number of people being allowed into the United States’ borders, the government has set an annual cap for every type of visa available. It means that only a certain number of people applying for a particular visa category can be allowed in the country. Of course, other visa types have a higher number of applicants than others. Toppins Law Firm explores the various annual issuances for the different United States visa categories in this post based on data from the year 2016.

Nonimmigrant visa

There are over 20 nonimmigrant visa types in the United States that cater for the varied reasons for travel. The most common types among these visas include the tourist visa, the student visa, exchange visitor visa, special worker visa and the specialty worker visa.

The for the business travel visa B-1 and the tourism visa B-2, the total number of visa issued totaled to 6,956466. For the F-1 and M-1 visa which is for students who were coming to study in the United States just for a short while, the total number of permits issued was 462,033. 339,712 more were granted for students who went for cultural exchange programs in the United States. The C-1/D visa is a transit/ crew member visa that is normally granted for airline and cruise ship employees who have to travel in and out of the United States. 295,140 were issued for this category.

H-1B visa is a prevalent type of visa in the United States. This specialty worker visa is for people who have exceptional skills in the fields of technology, engineering, higher education and medicine and it comes with some subcategories. The total number of H-1B visas that were issued in the year 2016 amounted to 180,157.

Immigrant visas

The main types of permits under this category are the Family Preference Visa, Immediate Relative Visa, Special Immigrants Visa, Diversity Immigrant Visa and Employment Preference Visa.

The Immediate Relative category has seven other subcategories depending on how strictly one is related to the United States lawful resident. The CR-1 for conditional residence and the IR-1 is for spouses who have been married, and one of the spouses is a conditional resident with a CR-1 visa. The number of permits issued for this segment was 133,465. For the IR-2 and CR-2 visa, only 67,382 visas were issued.

IR-3 visas are for orphans adopted abroad by a United States citizen and brought into the United States. 1,292 visas were issued in this category. IR-4 is for immigrant children who found their way to the United States and adopted there. 566 visa issued for this visa type.

The IR-5 visa category which is for parents of residents of the United States had 108,788 visas issued in 2016.

The other family-sponsored visas that exist are the F1, F2, F3 and F4 visas. In 2016, 21,800 F1 visas, 109,740 F2 visas, 22,590 F3 visas and 61,368 F4 visas were issued.

There is a specific special visa category for people who live in countries with low immigration rates. It is known as the Diversity Visa, and it is usually offered using the lottery system. The countries that are eligible for this visa are typically put in 6 regions, and for one to be available, they must have at least a high school education or have a minimum of 2 years work experience in a qualifying field. 45,664 visas were issued in this segment.

The Employment-based preference category is yet another common visa type that attracts many applicants. This category has several other subcategories, and they include the E1, E2, E3, E4 and E5 visas. E1 visa is for priority workers, and 2,361 of them were issued in 2016. 2,155 E2 visas were issued in the same year. It is a visa for persons with “exceptional abilities.” E3 visa for skilled and unskilled workers had a total of 10,301 issuances, and E4 for special groups got 1,734 visas issued.

The E5 visa is a special visa type that was created by the Congress in 1990 and is for foreign investors who want to venture into the United States’ market. A total of 8,505 E5 visas were issued in 2016.

There is another immigrant visa category called the special immigrants which slated for subgroups like the Afghans and Iraqis who for the government, Afghan and Iraqi translator and people holding green cards but have been outside the United States for more than a year due to reasons they cannot control.

While these are the numbers for 2016, the numbers vary only slightly every year, and hence these numbers provide a somewhat fair estimate of the number of visas issued by the US yearly.