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Legal Immigration Numbers are on the rise in the United States of America

Green Card Numbers are getting back to normal

Green Card Numbers are getting back to normal

282,000 people were issued Green Cards in the USA between June and September 2021, compared to only 79,000 in mid-2020

It is refreshing to see immigration numbers creeping up again as international borders reopen.”
— Thomas Smith USGCO

WILMINGTON, DELAWARE, UNITED STATES, April 12, 2022 / -- US Green Card Office released the results of a study into legal immigration numbers concerning the Covid pandemic. It found that the last quarter of 2021 (July to September) was one of the highest quarterly figures in the last 5 years.

The study also found that adjustment of status applications – Green Cards issued to those already in the US – didn’t take as big a hit and have already rebounded to pre-pandemic levels.

At the start of the pandemic, the US closed its land, air, and sea borders to all unnecessary travel. The results were staggering: tourism levels dropped by 99%, business visas dropped to 6% of their average, and USCIS suspended all Green Card interviews.

In the third quarter of the fiscal year 2020 (April to June), USCIS only issued 19,000 Green Cards, one of the lowest quarterly figures on record. During the same quarter, it issued 60,000 adjustments of status Green Cards. The quarterly average from 2016 onwards was 141,000.

As mentioned, temporary visa issuances plummeted in this period, too. Between 2016 and March 2020, there was a quarterly average of 19.6 million temporary visas issued by the US. However, between April and June 2020, this dropped to 600,000, a decline of 97%.

Returning to Pre-Pandemic Levels

The survey reaches up to the last quarter of the fiscal year 2021, stopping in September. The changes to immigration levels that it observed throughout 2021 were promising and fall in line with borders beginning to open up.

The study found that, although most statistics are nowhere near their pre-pandemic levels, there has been considerable change. For example, student visas have risen by 67%, and migrant worker visas have reached about half of their previous quarterly average.

A less considerable change is clear in tourism numbers. Pre-pandemic, there were an average of 15.6 million visas issued per quarter. Between July and September of 2021, visa issuances had only reached 22% of their previous levels. While this is by far the biggest number of visas granted in a year, it highlights people’s trepidation to go on vacation.

However, Green Card numbers are certainly on the rise. In the same quarter, USCIS issued 282,000 Green Cards to foreign applicants. It’s the highest quarterly average in 7 years, so is a good sign for the coming months.

Adjustment of status issuances, though, have skyrocketed. At the end of 2021, there were 177,000 Green Cards issued to temporary migrants already in the US. This is significantly higher than the average of 141,000 per quarter between October 2016 and March 2020. Despite not falling as sharply, these figures have risen more, too, and will likely remain high for some time.

It is refreshing to see immigration numbers creeping up again as international borders reopen. We can only hope that this is the start of a positive trend in migration to the US, as there is a considerable backlog of people wanting to enter the country. Now that USCIS has resumed its services, we will hopefully see things returning to normal in due time Thomas Smich says from the US Green Card Office in the United States.

For more information and in-depth analysis of the Green Card Numbers, check out the US Green Card Office Immigration Blog

Thomas Smith
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