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Visa Approvals Bounce Back to Pre-Pandemic Levels in 2022

Visas issued overseas (at foreign service posts outside of the U.S.) increased significantly in 2022 according to the U.S. Department of State’s 2022 visa report.

The yearly data report details all immigrant and nonimmigrant visa issuances by the State Department in the 2022 fiscal year.

Here are some of the high level takeaways from this year’s visa report:

Approval numbers for nonimmigrant and immigrant visas improved between 2021 and 2022, with wait times decreasing in both categories.

  • Total nonimmigrant visa issuances in 2022: 6,815,120
  • Total immigrant visa issuances in 2022: 493,448

Nonimmigrant visa approvals jumped from just 2.7 million in 2021 to over 6.8 million in 2022. Immigrant visa approvals also increased compared to 2021 figures, from 285,069 in 2021 to 493,448 in 2022. Overall, visa numbers in 2022 started trending back towards pre-pandemic levels.

Here’s a more detailed breakdown by visa category:

B-1/B-2s Travel Visas

Travel visas experienced a significant spike in 2022 compared to previous years. The State Department issued nearly 1.25 million B travel visas in 2022, even exceeding the 2019 total of 1.1 million.

Immediate Relative Visas

Immigrant visa approvals for immediate relatives totaled 212,185 in 2022, up from 170,604 last year, and 108,292 in 2020.

Employment-based Visas

The employment-based visa category saw one of the largest surges over the last year. 55,058 employment-based visas were approved in 2022, up from just 19,779 in 2021 and well above average approvals for previous years.

Diversity Visas

Diversity visas also made a noteworthy post-pandemic comeback, at 54,334 issued in 2022. Only 17,000 and 18,000 diversity visas were approved in 2021 and 2020 respectively, during the height of COVID-related backlogs and travel restrictions.

Visa Issuances By Region

Most nonimmigrant and immigrant visa approvals came from the Western Hemisphere, specifically Mexico. The Western Hemisphere region accounted for more than half of the total nonimmigrant visas issued in 2022, and just under half of all immigrant visas.

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