Why Green Cards Are so Difficult to Obtain

It is no secret that green cards are highly sought after in the United States. Regardless of the basis upon which you are applying for a green card, you expect to be met with a long wait. This is due to waitlists, limits on the number of green cards available each year, and the pace at which the United States immigration bureaucracy moves. Our Houston immigration team explains more below.


Not all green cards are in limited quantity. For instance, there are no limits applied to green cards issued to immediate relatives of U.S. citizens such as parents, spouses, and unmarried children over the age of 21.

Aside from family-based visas and green cards issued to asylees and refugees, those who qualify under almost every other category are subject to limited quantities of green cards each year. The current number of green cards available to those seeking work in the U.S. is limited to 140,000 worldwide, while 480,000 are allocated to family categories.

This creates long waiting periods for those who wish to enter the country legally, and individuals attempting to immigrate from China, Mexico, India, and the Philippines endure particularly long wait times.

In addition to the aforementioned worldwide totals, 50,000 extra green cards are awarded each year through the ethnic diversity visa or lottery categories.

Due to their length, these waiting periods can be extremely discouraging for those looking to obtain a green card. In most cases, green cards can take about two years to become available plus another year to complete the process, while some have even had to wait up to ten years to obtain one.

The Pace of Bureaucracy

Obtaining a green is never a one-step process. Even after a petition is accepted, the applicant must then wait an entire year before they can submit an adjustment of status application. Then they must wait again for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) to schedule an interview, taking up to several months to complete, then wait for a decision.

Not only does the government itself move very slowly in completing these tasks, but they are also severely backlogged due to the number of applications they receive year-round.

Contact Our Houston Immigration Team Today

The process of getting a green card can be extremely stressful and confusing. With the possibility of roadblocks and delays being present at any point in the process, it is crucial to have an experienced and knowledgeable immigration team on your side.

If you would like to learn more about how we can help you get a green card, don’t hesitate to contact us today through our website or give us a call at (713) 286-7182 to schedule your consultation!