Millions of people across the world apply for U.S. Immigration Visas. They may have hopes to temporarily work or study here, and in some cases, to permanently move to the United States.
California is the number one destination for immigrants coming to the U.S. Many individuals and families earn the right to come to the U.S. by entering the visa program. Some may do so with the help of a family member who is already a permanent resident or with the assistance of a U.S. Employer.
Maison Law Immigration Lawyers of California examined the figures behind visas awarded to immigrants and visitors from other countries each year. The purpose is to visually demonstrate the importance of this tool that allows hopeful immigrants the opportunity to visit America, and in some cases, stay forever.
Types of Immigrant Visas Granted Each Year
There are two types of Visas non-U.S. Citizens can apply for.
- Immigrant Visas: These are visas for immigrants who hope to stay permanently in the United States. Applicants are usually sponsored by close family members who are already U.S. citizens, or permanent residents. They may be sponsored by an employer who wants them to work on American soil. This is the first step towards getting a green card (another type of Visa) that grants permanent residency and eventually obtaining full citizenship.
- Non-Immigrant Visas: This option is for visitors from other countries who don’t plan to stay permanently in the U.S. People seek non-immigrant visas to work, study, or seek medical treatment temporarily in the United States.
Non-Immigrant Visas Issued in U.S.
Non-immigrant visas are applied for by residents of almost every country in the world each year in order to visit the U.S. on a temporary basis. The visits may be to allow time to attend a U.S. school, to seek care from a U.S. hospital, or simply to visit family or tour America.
Some are granted temporary stays in the U.S. to work for American businesses. Employees with specialized skills apply for what’s known as H1B Visas. H1B allows specialized workers to come to the U.S. to work for American companies temporarily. This can include employees in fields like engineering, science, and technology.
The U.S. Department of State issued almost seven million non-immigrant visas to temporary visitors in 2022. That was after a dip in recent years due to the 2020 pandemic. The figures are expected to inch closer to pre-pandemic numbers in 2023 and 2024.
Some agricultural workers enter the U.S. legally under the H2A to provide temporary labor on farms and ranches. Of course, many California farmers depend on seasonal workers to make sure crops can go from field to market each year.
According to the USDA, California actually ranked second for number of H2A visas granted. Florida led the way. Farmers there received about 14% of the H2A job certifications approved by the United States government. California got 12% of the H2A employment approved across the U.S. In fact, California gained over 11,000 H2A jobs between 2021 and 2022. That represents a 35% increase.
Immigrant Visas Issued in U.S.
The Public Policy Institute of California found that in 2021, 78% of immigrants in the state had been granted naturalized citizenship or were in California legally on visas, green cards, or other designations.
The U.S. awards visas to hopeful immigrants each year. A U.S. Department of State report lists the number of Immigrant Visas granted over each of the past five years. In 2022, there were 493,448 immigrant visas issued at Foreign Service Posts. Those were made up largely of immediate relative requests for spouses, children, and parents of current U.S. residents.
Immigration visas were also granted to the employees of companies in the U.S. hoping for permanent U.S. Residency. It should be noted that restrictions on the visa process enforced during the pandemic in 2020 caused these numbers to drop for the year and affected 2021 figures.
Green Cards Issued to California Residents
Green cards are a type of visa that makes its holders permanent residents of the United States. Immigrants must first gain an immigrant visa, then they may work towards earning a green card. Immigrants with green cards can then work their way to citizenship. Green card holders may apply for citizenship after three to five years.
Statista totaled the number of people issued green cards in 2021 according to the state of residence for the applicant. California again outpaced all other states in the number of residents applying for and gaining green cards.
Contact a California Immigration Lawyer
Citizenship may seem like an impossible goal, but as the numbers show, millions of people have earned permanent residency in the U.S. through the visa program.
Obtaining permanent residency in California and United States citizenship are confusing and complicated tasks. You’ll want a knowledgeable and effective Central Valley immigration lawyer at your side from the start.
If you intend on seeking a visa and eventually permanent U.S. residency, contact Maison Law Immigration Lawyers for a consultation. We want to see you and your family reap the benefits, protections, and future that U.S. citizenship has to offer.