Murthy Takes Action: Firm Pushes for Increase in Number of Green Card Available Annually

The attorneys in our firm regularly track governmental policies and takes action to improve the immigration process for our clients and the immigration community at large. To that end, the Murthy Law Firm recently submitted a petition for rulemaking to the U.S. Department of State (DOS), proposing an amendment to the DOS regulation governing immigrant visa number allocation. The proposal we submitted, if implemented, would dramatically increase immigrant visas, resulting in an increase in the number of green cards that could be issued each fiscal year. If adopted, this would significantly reduce backlogs in oversubscribed preference categories, such as the employment-based, second and third (EB2 and EB3) categories.

Overview of Immigrant Visa Number Allocation

Statutory limits restrict the number of foreign nationals who may be granted lawful permanent residency (i.e., a “green card”) under all employment-based (EB) and most family-based (FB) categories each fiscal year. The annual limits are controlled using immigrant visa numbers, which are allocated between the EB and FB green card categories. Immigrant visa number allocation is capped per-country, further limiting how many visa numbers can be issued annually to individuals born in a particular country. To be eligible for an immigrant visa number, an individual’s priority date must be current on the DOS monthly visa bulletin, as explained in the MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, Priority Dates: How Does the Visa Bulletin Work? (03.May.2023).

Current DOS Policy Has Resulted in Massive Backlogs

Under current DOS regulations, a separate visa number is allocated to each person who is issued a green card. This means that if the principal beneficiary of an I-140 petition is married with two non-U.S. citizen children a family of four likely would go on to use four immigrant visa numbers, once the green cards eventually are issued.

This policy exacerbates the long wait for an immigrant visa number, especially for an individual born in an oversubscribed country such as India or China. According to recent data, millions of approved EB and FB petitions are waiting for immigrant visas to become available. This is in addition to more than 2 million pending FB and EB petitions combined. Additionally, more than 600,000 combined FB and EB applicants with pending green card applications are waiting for visa numbers to be issued. Of the immigrant visa numbers available for allocation each fiscal year, approximately half of the allocated visas are used for dependents.

Murthy Submits a Petition for Rulemaking

To address this issue, the Murthy Law Firm has submitted a petition for rulemaking to the DOS, proposing new regulatory language that would have the DOS count only the immigrant visa issued to the principal applicant. As we explained to the DOS, a plain reading of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), upon which the regulation is based, supports the Murthy Law Firm’s proposal that a single immigrant visa number should be allocated for all members of a family. Our petition to the DOS explains our interpretation of the INA and our proposed regulatory language is reasonable, lawful, and within the authority of the DOS to adopt.


At this time, an immigrant’s wait to become a lawful permanent resident could be more than a decade. This is not what the INA or its visa allocations were enacted to accomplish. The purpose of the statute is to facilitate lawful and timely immigration to the United States so that foreign nationals can become fully participating members of our society. The Murthy Law Firm urges the DOS to adopt the proposed regulatory amendment to enable more valued immigrants to realize their American dream.


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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.