In recent developments reported on November 20, 2023, the Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC) has revealed a significant and concerning 14% surge in the immigrant visa (IV) backlog during the month of October. This backlog, now standing at a staggering 311,550 cases, has raised serious concerns within the immigration community and underscores the challenges faced by green card applicants and immigration authorities alike.
The surge in the backlog is notably significant, with the number of pending cases increasing from 273,263 in September to the current level in October. This 14% increase highlights the mounting pressure on the visa processing system, which is already strained by numerous factors such as the pandemic-related disruptions and the ever-evolving immigration policies.
One key indicator of the backlog’s impact is the growth in the number of green card applicants whose cases have reached a “documentarily complete” status and are ready to be scheduled for interviews. In September, this figure stood at 312,018, but by October, it had surged to 353,362—a substantial 13% increase. A case that attains “documentarily complete” status signifies that all the necessary forms and documents have been submitted and accepted by the NVC, signaling its readiness for interview scheduling. The rapid growth in this category further underscores the challenges applicants are facing in their pursuit of legal permanent residency in the United States.
Moreover, the surge in green card applications has led to an increased number of interviews scheduled for October. Specifically, 41,812 interviews were conducted in October, compared to 38,755 in September. This uptick highlights the agency’s efforts to address the backlog and ensure that applicants have their cases reviewed in a timely manner.
As the immigrant visa backlog continues to grow, applicants and immigration stakeholders must brace for longer processing times and heightened competition for visa appointments. Navigating the immigration system has become more complex and uncertain, making it crucial for individuals seeking green cards to stay informed and seek legal counsel when necessary.
The Department of State and the National Visa Center are expected to closely monitor and address this backlog to ensure that the immigration system remains efficient and accessible to those seeking to make the United States their permanent home.