We're into the second week of November, which means it's high time that I post the longest current waits as listed in the U.S. State Department’s monthly Visa Bulletin.
The longest waits listed are those endured by family members abroad who are being sponsored for green cards by relatives in the United States. People in some countries, especially Mexico and the Philippines, have far longer waits than others.
Here’s why: Every nation is allotted the same percentage from a pool of family and employer-based visas available each year, regardless of the demand from any individual nation. For those waiting in countries represented by large immigrant populations here, making for a high demand for family reunification, the wait to enter the country legally can take many years, sometimes as much as two decades.
Immigrants defined as immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, i.e. spouses, parents, and children under 21, are exempt from the limits. But for others, such as the adult children or siblings of U.S. citizens or legal residents, must wait for their priority date to come up, i.e. the date on which they filed their petition.
For those whose priority dates are listed in the monthly bulletin, it’s good news, sort of: Immigrant visas have technically become available for them, though priority dates are subject to change and often do. There has been little change in the priority dates since October.
From this month’s Visa Bulletin, the longest waits have been endured by:
1) Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens from the Philippines, a wait of almost 20 years (petitions filed April 1, 1991)
2) Unmarried adult (21 and over) sons and daughters of U.S. legal permanent residents from Mexico, a wait of more than 18 years (petitions filed June 22, 1992)
3) Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens from Mexico, a wait of 18 years (petitions filed October 22, 1992)
4) Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens from Mexico, a wait of almost 18 years (petitions filed December 22, 1992)
The entire Visa Bulletin for November 2010 can be viewed here.