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Why There is Such a Huge Backlog in Eb2/Eb3 Green Card

This guide delves into the reasons behind the extensive EB-2 and EB-3 Green Card backlog, affecting over 10.7 lakh Indians. Factors include high demand, country caps, and legislative constraints.

  • 05 Jan 2024
  • 3 min read

The Green Card backlog is the fallout of a limited number of Green Cards available, adversely affecting hopeful candidates from India, China, Mexico, and the Philippines. Large migrant-sending nations, including India and China, face prolonged waits, given the numerical limits and per-country quotas for employment-based Green Cards. Prospective immigrants entering the backlog far exceed available Green Cards, creating decades-long waits, even for those already in the United States. 

There are five priority-based categories for Green Cards. EB-2, encompassing professionals with advanced degrees or exceptional expertise, includes unused EB-1 Green Cards. Meanwhile, EB-3 is for skilled workers with at least two years of experience and job offers and requires a bachelor's degree, including unused EB-2 Green Cards.

Reasons for Huge Backlog in Eb2/Eb3 Green Card

The extensive EB2 Green Card backlog and EB3 Green Card backlog on employment-based Green Card categories, which disproportionately affects over 10.7 lakh Indians, results from these key factors:

  1. High Demand vs. Limited Supply: One of the primary reasons behind the backlog is the stark contrast between the high demand for employment-based Green Cards (EB-2 and EB-3 categories) and the limited number of Green Cards available. Only around 65,000 Green Cards are allocated annually for Indian applicants, creating a significant disparity between the number of eligible individuals and available slots.
  2. Country Caps: The country caps, which limit the number of Green Cards issued to any single nation to 7% of the total, further exacerbate the problem. This disproportionately affects India and China, from where a large number of applicants contend for a limited allocation.
  3. Legislative Constraints: The imbalance between visa supply and demand can only be rectified through congressional action.

Given these constraints, many Indian immigrants confront the daunting reality of waiting for decades to secure a Green Card. During this wait, they are often to work in the US legally and are unable to sponsor their parents for Green Cards.


The Green Card backlog EB-2 and EB-3 is primarily the result of a significant demand-supply imbalance exacerbated by country-based caps. The Biden administration has initiated measures to address this backlog, such as proposing a rule permitting H-4 visa holders to apply for work authorisation after turning 21 and increasing the annual Green Card allocation by 300,000. Additionally, there are efforts to prioritise Green Cards for family members of US citizens and permanent residents. 

If you frequently travel to the USA, invest in comprehensive travel insurance as it can protect you from inconveniences such as trip cancellation, loss of luggage or medical emergencies.

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