How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Who has had to wait the longest for a green card this month?


It’s the beginning of May, which means it's time for another look at the U.S. State Department’s monthly Visa Bulletin. Each month the bulletin lists which categories of hopeful immigrants are up to receive immigrant visas, as well as who has been waiting the longest.

Little has changed since last month. Those who have been in line the longest, sponsored to come to the United State legally by their relatives, are hopeful immigrants from the Philippines. And the wait remains staggering: The ones who have waited the longest filed their petitions back in 1988.

Here are the top four categories of immigrants who have endured the longest waits:

1) Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens from the Philippines, a wait of more than 23 years (petitions filed April 8, 1988).

2) Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens from the Philippines, a wait of more than 19 years (petitions filed February 15, 1992)

3) Unmarried adult (21 and over) sons and daughters of U.S. legal permanent residents from Mexico, a wait of close to 19 years (petitions filed August 1, 1992)

4) Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens from Mexico, a wait of close to 19 years (petitions filed November 15, 1992)

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Who has to wait the longest for a green card?

Source: Visa Bulletin for April 2011, U.S. Department of Stat

Nations with current longest waits for family-sponsored based immigrant visas: The priority dates shown are when applicants now up for processing filed their petitions.

A common question that comes up when discussing immigration, legal and illegal, is why it is more people don't get "in line" for a green card. There is a line, indeed, for people who have immediate relatives in the United States and whose families have the resources to sponsor them. But depending on where these hopeful immigrants are coming from, it can be quite a wait.

It's been since January that Multi-American featured its monthly post on the on the longest waits for green cards, and the line has budged little since. That month, the people who had endured the longest wait for an immigrant visa, the brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens from the Philippines, had been waiting an especially long time: 23 years, having filed their petitions in January 1988.

Siblings waiting in the Philippines are still the ones waiting the longest this month. According to the U.S. State Department’s monthly Visa Bulletin, those hopeful immigrants whose turn is up to receive a green card this month filed their petitions in March 1988. That's back when there was no World Wide Web, people wore acid-wash and INXS and Guns N' Roses topped the charts. That long ago.

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Longest waits for immigrant visas: January

Source: Visa Bulletin for January 2011, U.S. Department of State

Nations with current longest waits for family-sponsored based immigrant visas: The priority dates shown are when applicants now up for processing filed their petitions.

It's January, which means it's time for our monthly feature on the longest waits for green cards. Last month, the people who became eligible for immigrant visas after waiting the longest had endured a wait of 23 years, having filed their petitions in early 1988.

This month it's no different, according to the U.S. State Department’s Visa Bulletin. Some of the hopeful immigrants whose number is up to receive a green card this month have been waiting in line since January 1988. That was before the launch of the World Wide Web, when acid-washed jeans were considered fashionable, and before most people had ever heard of grunge rock.

Immigrant visas have technically become available for those whose priority dates, i.e. the dates on which petitions were filed, are listed in the bulletin. This month, the longest waits have been endured by:

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Longest waits for immigrant visas: December

Source: Visa Bulletin for November 2010, U.S. Department of State

Nations with current longest waits for family-sponsored based immigrant visas: The priority dates shown are when applicants now up for processing filed their petitions.

It's well into December, which means it's time to post the longest current waits as listed in the U.S. State Department’s monthly Visa Bulletin.

Immigrant visas have technically become available for those whose priority dates, i.e. the dates on which their petitions were filed, are listed in the bulletin. And this month, the hopeful immigrants who have been waiting the longest to come legally have been in line since the beginning of 1988. That's right, their petitions were filed in the eighties.

As listed in 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 nearly 23 years (petitions filed January 1, 1988).

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)

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Longest waits for immigrant visas: November

Source: Visa Bulletin for November 2010, U.S. Department of State

Nations with current longest waits for family-sponsored based immigrant visas: The priority dates shown are when applicants now up for processing filed their petitions.

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.

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