US Visa Backlog: Over 4 Lakh Indians Face Lifetime Wait for Green Card

As the United States grapples with an unprecedented surge in visa processing delays, a recent report by the Cato Institute has cast a stark light on the crisis. With a backlog of a staggering 1.8 million visa cases, primarily in the employment-based citizenship category, over 400,000 Indian nationals find themselves caught in an agonizing waiting game for their green cards.

The United States is currently facing an unprecedented backlog in its visa processing system, with dire consequences for over 400,000 Indian applicants seeking green cards. A recent report from the Cato Institute sheds light on this alarming issue, indicating that the backlog of US visas has skyrocketed to a staggering 1.8 million cases this year.

This article delves into the details of the report, the causes behind this crisis, and the potentially life-threatening implications for Indian nationals.

The Visa Backlog Crisis Unveiled

The heart of the problem lies in the employment-based citizenship category, where the majority of the visa backlog is concentrated. Among the 1.8 million cases awaiting processing, a substantial 1.1 million belong to Indian nationals.

This statistic is not only troubling but also paints a grim picture for those in pursuit of their American dream.


Lives in Limbo: The Perilous Wait for Green Cards

According to the Cato Institute’s report, an unsettling revelation emerges from within this colossal backlog. For many of the 1.1 million Indian applicants, the waiting period for their green cards could potentially stretch to a lifetime.

Even more distressing, an estimated 424,000 individuals among them may pass away while waiting for their green cards, a fate that no one should face on their quest for permanent US citizenship.

Also Read: US Eases Green Card Rules, Helping Professionals Get Visas Faster

Understanding the Green Card

A green card is colloquially known as a symbol of permanent citizenship in the United States. Holders of green cards enjoy the privilege of living and working indefinitely in the US. Notably, many Indians who secure US green cards often relinquish their Indian citizenship, becoming Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) in the process.


The Root Causes of the Backlog

The Cato Institute’s report attributes the backlog to the restrictive green card caps imposed on employers and investors who wish to sponsor immigrants.

Under the current law, no single country is permitted to receive more than seven per cent of the total green cards allotted. Consequently, excess green cards often go unused, perpetuating the backlog crisis.

The Wait-Listed Plight

In the US, when an employer submits a petition for a worker’s green card, the application is placed on a waitlist if no green cards are available within the country cap. As a result, many deserving immigrants are left in limbo, uncertain of when they will finally attain permanent resident (PR) status.


The US Visa backlog crisis has reached an alarming apex, with over 400,000 Indian lives hanging in the balance as they await their green cards. The Cato Institute’s report highlights the urgency of addressing this issue, not only for the sake of these individuals but also to ensure the vitality of the nation’s immigration system.


As discussions around immigration reform persist, finding a solution to alleviate this backlog is imperative to provide hope and justice to those in line for their American dream.

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Manish Khandelwal
Manish Khandelwal

Manish Khandelwal, a travel-tech enthusiast with over a decade of experience in the travel industry. Founder and Editor-in-Chief of, he's passionate about writing.

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