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U.S. Issues Record Number of Visas in First Half of FY 2024 

Surge in Nonimmigrant, Immigrant, and Family Visas in First Half of FY2024

May 14, 2024

Photograph of US Immigration Application And Visa Interview

The U.S. Department of State issued a record number of nonimmigrant visas during the first half of fiscal year 2024, the federal agency announced on Tuesday.

Key Takeaways:

  • Visitor Visas Soar: Nearly 4.1 million B-1/B-2 visas and border crossing cards were issued, supporting tourism and business travel.
  • H-2A & H-2B Visas Hit Record High: 205,000 visas were granted to temporary agricultural and non-agricultural workers, fulfilling critical labor needs.
  • Employment-Based Green Cards Surge: Close to 25,000 employment-based immigrant visas were issued, a 75% increase from FY 2019.
  • Family Reunification Reaches New Heights: Over 152,000 visas were issued in the Immediate Relative category, an all-time high for this period.
  • Academic & Cultural Exchange Thrives: Nearly 134,000 J-1 visas for exchange visitors and 115,000 F-1 student visas were issued, reinforcing the U.S. as a top destination for international education.

Between October and March, the agency issued 5.2 million visas worldwide, breaking all previous records over that same period. 

The State Department said it has increased its capacity to handle historically high levels of demand with the help of technology as well as streamlining services, such as waiving in-person interviews for some applicants. 

“We take seriously our role in supporting travel and tourism, a key sector and critical enabler for U.S. job growth, while upholding national security,” the agency said in a statement.

The agency issued a record-breaking 205,000 visas to temporary and seasonal workers in agriculture and other sectors, as well as 25,000 employment-based visas, a 75% increase over the same period in 2019. 

Immigrant visas also saw a boost. A quarter of U.S. consulates and embassies issued more immigrant visas in the first half of FY 2024 than in any other year over the past decade. The agency also broke records in the family-based visa category, issuing 152,000 green cards to immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, an all-time high for the six-month period. 

The announcement comes after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said in March it would use artificial intelligence (AI) to make the visa process quicker, fairer, and more efficient. 

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