Quotas are set in two ways: for countries and for categories.
No country can contribute more than 7% of all immigrants that are allowed in based on family sponsorship or an offer for employment. The per country-limit does not apply to DV-winners, refugees/asylum seekers.
There are no limitations for Immediate Relatives (IR’s). In recent years between 450,00 to 550,000 visas were issued in this category.
For Family Sponsored Immigrants** there is a flexible numerical limit from 226,00 to 480,000.
For all other categories of immigrants fixed numerical limitations exist:
- foreign workers: 140,000***
- investors (EB-5): 10,000***
- DV winners: 50,000***
- refugees and asylum seekers: 140,000
* IR’s: a spouse, an unmarried child under 21, a father or mother, of a US citizen.
** Family based immigration is divided in four preferences. F-1: adult children of citizens, F-2: spouses and unmarried children of PR’s, F-3: married children of citizens with eligible family members, F-4: brothers/sisters of US citizens and eligible family members.
*** The number includes eligible family members also immigrating (spouse, unmarried child/children under 21).
Of all visas that are issued in a year, 70% are given to Immediate Relatives and Family Members, 15% go to foreign workers, 14% to refugees/asylum seekers, 5% to Visa Lottery Winners, 1% to investors.