U.S. permanent immigration is limited by yearly quotas.
Quotas are set in two ways: for countries and for categories.

Per Country

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.

Per Category

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.