Every month the State Department updates their immigrant visa backlog with the most current numbers from the National Visa Center (NVC). The backlog report is a reflection of how quickly the State Department is able to attend to issuing immigrant visas, as well as conducting immigrant visa interviews. One of the primary goals of the State Department and U.S. consulates around the world right now is to reduce the IV backlog so that visas can be issued on time. The length of time an applicant has to wait for an immigrant visa interview can also negatively affect the U.S. economy in the case of employment preference categories.
The backlog report issued by the State Department is only on behalf of applicants who have already had their petitions (I-130 or I-140) approved by the USCIS, and currently have a case number open with the NVC and are awaiting an immigrant visa interview. Thus, the backlog report is only a function of the State Department’s ability to handle visa applications and is not reflective of the USCIS.
For March, there has not been a significant reduction for the immigrant visa backlog. The State Department reports that as of February 28th, there were approximately 469,000 immigrant visa applicants whose cases were documentarily complete and ready for an interview. Comparing this number to January, 2022, and February 2022, there is still a high number of cases awaiting interviews. In January, that number was 465,000, and in February it was 464,000 approximately.
However, there is one significant finding when it comes to the immigrant visa backlog report—which is the number of IV applicant cases that are being scheduled for an interview each month. In January, the State Department scheduled 26,605 immigrant visa interviews, in February the State Department scheduled 27,454 immigrant visa interviews. As of this month (March 2022), the State Department scheduled 32,317 IV interviews. This means that U.S. consulates are collectively scheduling more IV interviews, which is indicative that the Covid-19 situation is improving in the Global South.
Thus even though the backlog still persists, the good news is that U.S. consulates and embassies are becoming more efficient when it comes to IV interviews, which is moreso what the situation was like pre-Covid 2019.
To see the State Department’s Backlog Report, please see the following link: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/visas-backlog.html