The National Visa Center (NVC) green card backlog fell somewhat in July, as the NVC reported 409,645 interviews were waiting to be scheduled at the end of July, versus 426,486 still remaining at the end of June. This marks a decrease in the backlog of 16,841 cases, or just shy of 4%. Last month the backlog increased from May to June by 0.05%, so July marks an encouraging reversal for green card hopefuls.
The NVC’s monthly update also shows that while the number of overall cases in the backlog after NVC completed interview scheduling for the month decreased by nearly 17,000, the actual number of interviews scheduled in July was lower than in June by 4,371.
The number of green card applicants who were “documentarily qualified” — meaning all their required Forms and documents have been submitted to and accepted by the NVC — also fell to 433,819 in July, from June’s 455,031. This decrease is more than the nearly 17,000 cases cleared from the backlog in July, coming in at 21,212.
The reduction in the backlog this month for immigrant visa interviews appears to be due, in part, to a smaller number of green card applicants becoming “documentarily qualified” in July than in previous months. Because of this, the smaller number of scheduled interviews allowed the NVC to still make a dent in its outstanding cases.
With such a low rate of interviews being scheduled — as noted above, the green card backlog was reduced by less than 4% last month — it appears that without Congressional action or a drastic change in course at NVC, the lengthy wait times experienced by families and employees seeking green cards in the U.S. will continue into the foreseeable future.
The NVC is a visa processing center operated by the Department of State (DOS). The NVC collects Forms and supporting documents from visa applicants (for nonimmigrant, temporary visa applications and for immigrant visas, or green cards, alike), and works with various Embassies and U.S. Consulates to schedule interviews for applicants. NVC publishes a monthly report on the number of green card interviews scheduled, as well as the number of cases still waiting to be scheduled.
Processing times for visa applications and wait periods for interviews have exploded since March 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic shuttered U.S. embassies and consulates around the world. DOS is still struggling to regroup, with many missions still understaffed or struggling to return to pre-pandemic operations.
Check back here next month for the latest backlog figures. If you recently received your interview notice, get prepared with our guide on what to expect at the green card interview.