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Key Points

  • USCIS has announced a high number of unused family-based immigrant visas in FY 2021
  • USCIS is encouraging eligible individuals to apply for employment-based immigrant visas
  • Approximately 140,000 family-based visas were available in FY 2021, and 66,781 were unused
  • USCIS will continue reallocating unused visas through FY 2022, which ends on September 30, 2022

Overview

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it had an unusually high number of unused family-based immigrant visas available in Fiscal Year (FY) 2021. The agency is encouraging eligible individuals to consider applying for an employment-based rather than a family-based immigrant visa as appropriate.

By the end of FY 2021, USCIS had about 140,000 unused family-based visas. USCIS says that consular closures abroad, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, are the primary reason for the high number of unused family-based visas. In FY 2021, USCIS had an annual limit of 262,288 employment-based visas, nearly twice the usual amount. USCIS used a total of 175,728 employment-based immigrant visas through adjustment of status, which is a 52% increase from its pre-pandemic average.

However, 66,781 visas were still unused by the end of FY 2021. Instead, the agency intends to reallocate unused visas to eligible individuals and their dependents in employment-based categories. USCIS will continue reallocating unused FY 2021 family-based visas through September 30, 2022, which is when FY 2022 ends.

Looking Ahead

Individuals eligible for an employment-based adjustment of status should file their adjustment of status application, along with a valid Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, as soon as possible.

For additional information, please see the corresponding FAQs page on the USCIS website.

Written by: Lucy Halse, Content Marketing Associate, Envoy Global
Edited by: Dmitri Pikman, Supervising Attorney, Corporate Immigration Partners
Source: US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

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