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visa documents in front of American flag
How Backed Up Are Visas?

As defined by the U.S. Department of State—Bureau of Consular Affairs, “Having a U.S. visa allows you to travel to a port of entry, airport or land border crossing, and request permission of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) inspector to enter the United States.”


Even though having a visa does not automatically guarantee that you’ll be able to enter the country, it does show that a consular officer at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate overseas has deemed you permissible to seek access for the specific purpose you applied for.

The Long Wait to Obtain a Visa

In 1992, the waiting list to gain a visa in the U.S. consisted of about 2.9 million people. By 2017, that number had jumped to 3.7 million. That doesn’t even count all the people who work under temporary visas during the time their green card applications are being processed.


In 2018, it took immigrants, on average, five years and eight months to immigrate to the U.S. Due to increasing wait times, it will likely take current applicants a lot longer to gain U.S. citizenship.


As the graph ( below shows, it would take certain immigrants a highly unrealistic amount of time to gain citizenship.

Backlog, green cards, deaths in backlog, and years to process backlog, 2018


The wait times are so long, that in many cases, people attempting to earn green cards will die before they’re even able to apply. Around 675,000 (14%) of immigrants waiting to gain citizenship lawfully will perish before they see a green card if they don’t surrender and remain in line indefinitely.

We Can Help

If you have immigration goals of your own, the highly skilled immigration attorneys at Maney | Gordon | Zeller can help. Our firm has served clients just like you for over 40 years. We provide legal assistance to clients across the country and deliver more than 100 years of combined legal experience in all of the cases we take on.


Call Maney | Gordon | Zeller today at (800) 708-4399 to speak with an attorney about your case.