How Many Visas and Green Cards Are Approved Every Year?

Millions of people apply for U.S. visas and green cards each year. Not all of these applications are approved. There are caps that limit the number of applications approved each year resulting in the denial of many applications. Some applications may meet the relevant requirements, but the number of visas granted has already been filled.

Visa and Green Card Approval

The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs,  reported that, in 2017, the U.S. issued over 9.5 million nonimmigrant visas and over 550,000 immigrant visas. In 2018, over 530,000 nonimmigrant visas were issued. Approximately one million immigrants receive U.S. green cards each year. It might be surprising for you to hear that less than half of these green card recipients are new arrivals from other countries. Data released by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security shows that the majority of green cards are granted to U.S. residents through adjusting their immigration status. Most of these people already live in the U.S. with temporary visas. The majority of green cards go to immigrants with family members sponsoring them.

Nonimmigrant visas make up the vast majority of visas issued by the U.S. each year. The majority of these nonimmigrant visas are tourist visas. Employment visas are a substantial portion of the issued nonimmigrant visas. Some of the employment visa recipients are transfers to the U.S. who work within international companies. Some are highly-skilled workers who are issued H-1B visas, but there is a cap on the number of H-1B visas issued. In 2016, there were 200,000 applicants to fill only 85,000 available H-1B visas.

The number of visas that are denied or approved each year can vary depending on a number of factors, such as political policy. For instance, in 2018, the U.S. State Department refused over 37,000 applications based solely on the Trump Administration’s travel ban. This number was at less than 1,000 the previous year prior to the travel ban coming into full effect. People from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen were particularly affected by the ban. President Trump has also called for a reduction in the number of refugees admitted to the U.S. The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, reports that half of the immigrants to receive green cards in 2015, were refugees who had been granted asylum or were in an employment-related visa category and adjusted their status.

More than 4 million visa applications are denied each year by the U.S. government for a wide variety of reasons. For instance, a person’s visa application may have been denied based on the fact that they did not meet the specific qualifications of the type of visa for which they applied. Other visa applications may be denied because the applicant practices polygamy or has a disqualifying criminal record.

Visa and Green Card Immigration Attorneys

The number of green cards and visas granted each year by the U.S. is not without its limits. To ensure you have the best chances of receiving a green card or visa, we encourage you to consider working with the knowledgeable immigration and nationality lawyers and attorneys at Nachman, Phulwani, Zimovcak Law Group, P.C. We are dedicated to helping our clients in any way possible. Please check us out at or feel free to contact us today.