US Govt Will Reject 97% Green Card Applications; 3.5 Crore Backlogs Need Urgent Attention!


Mohul Ghosh

Mohul Ghosh

Feb 20, 2024


A Cato Institute report highlights that only 3% of the nearly 35 million green card applicants in the US are expected to gain permanent residency status in the current 2023-24 financial year – an all-time low. It notes that available visas under caps far exceed approved ones, with backlogs swelling from 10 million in 1996.

US Govt Will Reject 97% Green Card Applications; 3.5 Crore Backlogs Need Urgent Attention!

Green Card Approval Rates Hit Rock Bottom at 3%

Research from think tank Cato Institute suggests that the approval rate for coveted green cards granting US permanent residency status is set to plunge to just 3% of total applicants in the ongoing 2023-24 financial year. This reflects swelling backlogs and negligible visa usage.

Over 34.7 million hopeful candidates are pending currently, versus legally available visas under caps exceeding 1.1 million annually. But only an estimated 3% clear the process as yearly visa quotas remain underutilized, creating an unfavorable ratio.

Backlogs Up More Than 3 Times Since 1990s

Underscoring the severity of the situation, the Cato analysis highlights that while green card backlogs stood at nearly 10 million back in 1996, the number has now spiraled over three-fold to 34.7 applicants chasing about 1 million available visas yearly.

With the US currently approving only a fraction of yearly legally permitted green cards, analysts say the country seems to be moving towards a more restrictive immigration regime compared to the open borders policy in place till the early 20th century.

As current trends indicate, backlogs look unlikely to ease in the future amid surging application volumes. Thus, securing the American dream remains an uphill battle.


Mohul Ghosh
Mohul Ghosh
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