Multi-American | How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Longest waits for immigrant visas: August

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Source: Visa Bulletin for August 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.

For countries with the highest demand for family reunification, especially Mexico and the Philippines, there is a very long line to enter the country legally as an adult child or sibling of a U.S. citizen or legal resident, or as the spouse of a legal resident. Why? To begin with, every nation is allotted the same percentage from a pool of family and employer-based visas available each year, regardless of the demand or volume of petitions filed from from any individual nation.

Immigrants defined as immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, i.e. spouses, parents, and children under 21, are exempt from the limits. But for other hopeful immigrants in nations with the highest demand - not coincidentally, nations with large immigrant populations represented in the United States - this means an extraordinarily long wait, one that easily can take decades.

Every month, Multi-American will post the longest current waits as listed in the U.S. State Department's monthly Visa Bulletin. For those whose priority dates are listed, it's good news, sort of: Visas have technically become available for them, though priority dates are subject to change due to a number of factors, and frequently do.

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 more than 20 years (priority date: April 1, 1990)

2) Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens from Mexico, a wait of more than 18 years (priority date: March 1, 992)

3) Unmarried adult (21 and over) sons and daughters of U.S. legal permanent residents from Mexico, a wait of more than 18 years (priority date June 15, 1992)

4) Unmarried adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens from Mexico, a wait of almost 18 years (priority date: Nov. 15, 1992)

The entire Visa Bulletin for August 2010 can be viewed here.