A recent study by Pew Research determined that Indians under the skilled workers category applying for Green Cards will have an approximate 12 year wait before getting their Permanent Residency in the United States . Interestingly, this was ascertained for the applicants who were already in the US and had adjusted their statuses to permanent residency rather than new arrivals who applied for Green Card.
The US government is currently processing applications filed in May of 2005 which puts most current applicants’ place in the queue 12 years after that. This is especially true for the employment related category of immigrants who apply for permanent residency. The majority fall under the H1B category and constituted nearly 36 percent of the employment related Green Cards from 2010 to 2014. While 52 percent of Indians obtained their Green Cards via employment-based preferences, nearly 34 percent of Indians under this category are on the waitlist. However, some applicants may qualify for other categories in the meantime that may help them in reducing the wait time.
The numbers have been consistent from historically collected statistics. In 2015, while 36,318 Indians adjusted their status to permanent residency – 27,798 who received lawful permanent residency were new arrivals. A bigger picture reflects similar patterns with a total of 7.4 million people who adjusted their status and only 5.5 million new arrivals received lawful permanent residency in the form of a Green Card since 2004. These numbers seem to consistently grow every year.
Green Card is the immigration status of a person authorized to live and work in the US permanently. A Green Card holder can apply for US citizenship after five years of residency. This period is shortened to three years if married to a US citizen. India is among the top countries whose residents receive US green cards every year and form 17 percent of the international diaspora within the United States.
The H1B to Green Card Process walks you through the multiple steps in acquiring a Green Card from an already existing H1B visa.
There are other ways to acquire permanent residency besides being sponsored by your employer –