Immigration laws limit the number of immigrants who may enter the United States in a given year. These calculations are based on very specific formulas, and immigrant quotas can change on a yearly basis. Federal immigration laws also provide for sub-category caps, even those that apply only to specific immigrant countries. Before applying for any type of visa, a person may want to learn about Oak Brook visa quotas.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) enforces the immigration laws in America. A skilled visa lawyer could assist you with the visa application process and can answer all your legal questions about visa quotas.
Annual Limits on Immigration
Currently, 675,000 is the annual limit for the number of legal immigrants allowed into the United States. This number represents the total number of visas which USCIS issues annually. It includes immigrants who receive their visas at consular offices outside of the United States, as well as immigrants who adjust their status while they are in the United States.
By the same token, however, the 675,000-immigrant visa quota is far from being a hard and fast rule in Oak Brook or anywhere else. This limit is flexible to some degree, and the law exempts certain groups of United States immigrants from this cap. These groups of exempted individuals include immigrants who are immediate relatives of U.S. citizens and other such special cases.
Dividing up the Annual Limit
Although the total annual limit for legal immigrants to the United States is 675,000 per year, this number is broken down into three categories. Those categories include:
- A minimum of 226,000 and a maximum of 480,000 for family-sponsored immigrants, specifically in cases where a family member who is a citizen or a permanent resident sponsors an immigrant relative to come to the United States
- A limit of 140,000 for employment-based immigrants, except where unused family-sponsored preferences from the preceding fiscal year are added to this number
- A limit of 55,000 for the diversity visa, otherwise known as the green card lottery
Per-Country Immigrant Visa Cap
U.S. immigration law also imposes a per-country cap on immigrant visas. The per-country cap is seven percent of the total annual employment-based and family-sponsored preference limits. For example, if the applicable limits for a given year are 226,000 family-sponsored immigrants and 140,000 employment-based immigrants, then the per-country limit would come to seven percent of that total, or 25,620.
There is also a per-country cap in place which applies to dependent territories/areas. That cap is two percent of the annual employment-based and family-sponsored preference limits. Using the numbers above, that limit would come to 7,320.
Depending on the allotment of visa numbers issued throughout a given year, USCIS may adjust these caps up or down. Moreover, an immigration bill can change the caps or visa quotas for various categories in Oak Brook on a temporary basis.
Calling a Oak Brook Immigration Attorney Today to Discuss Visa Quotas
Applying for a visa and sponsoring an immigrant visa both involve complicated procedures and processes. If you are in the process of applying for a United States visa, or if you are sponsoring a relative or other individual planning to immigrate to the United States, you should have an experienced attorney assisting you throughout the process.
A knowledgeable immigration lawyer could explain to you how Oak Brook visa quotas work and how they may impact an immigrant visa or sponsorship. To get started on your case, call today.