Immigrant and nonimmigrant visa issuance remained well below pre-pandemic levels in the 2021 fiscal year, according to U.S. State Department data.

The recently released “Report of the Visa Office 2021” showed that immigrant visa issuance ticked up slightly in FY 2021 after dropping by nearly 50 percent in FY 2020. Nonimmigrant visa issuance continued to decline after falling by more than 50 percent in FY 2020.

Fiscal Year Immigrant Visas Issued Globally
2017 575,902
2018 550,930
2019 462,422
2020 240,526
2021 285,069


Fiscal Year Nonimmigrant Visas Issued Globally
2017 9,681,913
2018 9,028,026
2019 8,742,068
2020 4,013,210
2021 2,792,083

A full breakdown of immigrant visa issuance globally in FY 2021 is available here. Information about nonimmigrant visa issuance is available here.

State Department data also shows that immigrant visa issuance has remained relatively even in recent months, while nonimmigrant visa issuance has started to pick up.

Month Immigrant Visas Issued Globally
October 2021 36,245
November 2021 35,647
December 2021 38,397
January 2022 33,039
February 2022 35,942


Month Nonimmigrant Visas Issued Globally
October 2021 296,442
November 2021 391,022
December 2021 435,665
January 2022 414,383
February 2022 484,571

More information on monthly visa issuance globally is available here.

BAL Analysis: The COVID-19 pandemic and related staffing and funding issues have slowed visa issuance globally, and many embassies and consulates continue to operate at a reduced capacity. The State Department has made reducing backlogs a priority, and the increase in nonimmigrant visa issuance in recent months is a positive sign. Applicants should continue to expect delays in the months ahead. Employers and employees should continue to consult their BAL professional before planning international travel.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact

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