Ranked: The 25 Countries Receiving the Most U.S. Immigration Visas

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U.S. immigration visas

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The Top 25 Countries Receiving the Most U.S. Immigration Visas

Although many Americans feel that their country is on the wrong track, this does not stop foreigners from wanting to move to the United States. For many around the globe, the promise of the American dream is still worth the permanent move and hundreds of thousands of people every year apply for their U.S. immigration visas.

The ranking uses annual data from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs to visualize the countries whose citizens are receiving the highest number of U.S. immigrant visas.

U.S. Immigration Processes

The process of U.S. immigration is confusing at best, but it always starts with a visa. A visa, in the context of immigration, is essentially a permit to enter the country, issued to those looking to work and live in the United States. There are two visa categories: immigrant and non-immigrant.

Non-immigrant visas

These visas are typically for temporary workers, but also serve other purposes, like basic travel for tourists from certain countries. Even when obtained for work purposes however, non-immigrant visas expire and do not lead to green cards or citizenship.

Some examples of non-immigrant visas categories include: members of the press, diplomatic representatives, foreign military personnel stationed in the U.S., athletes, and a plethora of other unique situations. The popular, and nearly unattainable, H-1B visas are actually non-immigrant visas.

Immigrant visas

Immigrant visas, on the other hand, can either be employment-based or family-based. The intention behind them is that they will eventually lead to permanent status in the U.S., either through green cards or citizenship. A common example of an immigration visa is the K-1 visa or the “fiancé visa” for individuals marrying American citizens.

Who’s Getting U.S. Immigrant Visas?

Last year, more than 285,000 U.S. immigrant visas were issued. Here’s a look how that is distributed across every country worldwide:

Rank Country Immigrant Visas Issued (2021)
#1 🇲🇽 Mexico 40,597
#2 🇨🇳 China 18,501
#3 🇩🇴 Dominican Republic 17,941
#4 🇵🇭 Philippines 15,862
#5 🇦🇫 Afghanistan 10,784
#6 🇻🇳 Vietnam 10,458
#7 🇮🇳 India 9,275
#8 🇸🇻 El Salvador 7,813
#9 🇵🇰 Pakistan 7,213
#10 🇧🇩 Bangladesh 5,503
#11 🇳🇵 Nepal 5,342
#12 🇪🇨 Ecuador 5,061
#13 🇳🇬 Nigeria 4,990
#14 🇨🇴 Colombia 4,785
#15 🇾🇪 Yemen 4,770
#16 🇯🇲 Jamaica 4,375
#17 🇭🇹 Haiti 3,799
#18 🇲🇦 Morocco 3,585
#19 🇨🇺 Cuba 3,232
#20 🇳🇮 Nicaragua 3,216
#21 🇭🇳 Honduras 3,180
#22 🇨🇲 Cameroon 3,048
#23 🇺🇦 Ukraine 3,019
#24 🇰🇷 South Korea 2,954
#25 🇮🇷 Iran 2,802
#26 🇯🇴 Jordan 2,785
#27 🇬🇹 Guatemala 2,717
#28 🇬🇾 Guyana 2,650
#29 🇧🇷 Brazil 2,423
#30 🇪🇹 Ethiopia 2,402
#31 🇪🇬 Egypt 2,230
#32 🇬🇭 Ghana 2,216
#33 🇻🇪 Venezuela 2,031
#34 🇩🇿 Algeria 1,922
#35 🇬🇧 United Kingdom 1,897
#36 🇦🇱 Albania 1,794
#37 🇹🇼 Taiwan 1,775
#38 🇵🇪 Peru 1,772
#39 🇰🇪 Kenya 1,612
#40 🇰🇭 Cambodia 1,586
#41 🇱🇧 Lebanon 1,543
#42 🇸🇱 Sierra Leone 1,481
#43 🇨🇦 Canada 1,464
#44 🇯🇵 Japan 1,401
#45 🇹🇷 Turkey 1,361
#46 🇹🇭 Thailand 1,221
#47 🇨🇩 Democratic Republic of the Congo 1,203
#48 🇷🇺 Russia 1,154
#49 🇩🇪 Germany 1,086
#50 🇦🇲 Armenia 992
#51 🇹🇬 Togo 989
#52 🇵🇱 Poland 942
#53 🇨🇮 Cote d’Ivoire 924
#54 🇭🇰 Hong Kong SAR 838
#55 🇱🇷 Liberia 803
#56 🇱🇰 Sri Lanka 799
#57 🇹🇹 Trinidad and Tobago 793
#58 🇧🇾 Belarus 787
#59 🇸🇩 Sudan 783
#60 🇸🇾 Syria 757
#61 🇸🇴 Somalia 724
#62 🇮🇩 Indonesia 714
#63 🇷🇴 Romania 706
#64 🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia 701
#65 🇬🇪 Georgia 652
#66 🇧🇴 Bolivia 642
#67 🇫🇷 France 622
#67 🇮🇹 Italy 622
#69 🇲🇩 Moldova 611
#70 🇦🇷 Argentina 608
#71 🇿🇦 South Africa 599
#72 🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates 598
#73 🇨🇻 Cabo Verde 597
#74 🇰🇬 Kyrgyzstan 592
#75 🇲🇲 Myanmar 587
#76 🇰🇿 Kazakhstan 584
#77 🇮🇶 Iraq 579
#78 🇸🇳 Senegal 566
#79 🇿🇼 Zimbabwe 543
#80 🇨🇷 Costa Rica 537
#81 🇫🇯 Fiji 522
#82 🇽🇰 Kosovo 520
#83 🇺🇿 Uzbekistan 513
#84 🇦🇺 Australia 505
#85 🇬🇳 Guinea 500
#86 🇧🇬 Bulgaria 493
#87 🇬🇲 The Gambia 484
#88 🇲🇰 North Macedonia 472
#89 🇮🇱 Israel 471
#90 🇹🇯 Tajikistan 444
#91 🇨🇱 Chile 416
#92 🇰🇼 Kuwait 412
#93 🇪🇸 Spain 410
#94 🇪🇷 Eritrea 371
#95 🇵🇦 Panama 363
#96 🇲🇳 Mongolia 355
#97 🇧🇯 Benin 343
#98 🇲🇾 Malaysia 330
#99 🇷🇸 Serbia 328
#100 🇦🇿 Azerbaijan 308
#101 🇧🇸 The Bahamas 303
#102 🇹🇿 Tanzania 301
#103 🇹🇳 Tunisia 298
#104 🇱🇨 Saint Lucia 292
#105 🇷🇼 Rwanda 291
#106 🇹🇲 Turkmenistan 284
#107 🇺🇬 Uganda 281
#108 🇩🇲 Dominica 279
#109 🇧🇿 Belize 278
#110 🇧🇫 Burkina Faso 259
#111 🇱🇾 Libya 233
#112 🇧🇦 Bosnia and Herzegovina 231
#112 🇬🇩 Grenada 231
#114 🇮🇪 Ireland 213
#115 🇳🇿 New Zealand 205
#116 🇭🇺 Hungary 203
#117 🇲🇱 Mali 196
#118 🇶🇦 Qatar 190
#119 🇳🇱 Netherlands 182
#120 🇱🇹 Lithuania 177
#121 🇧🇧 Barbados 170
#122 🇬🇷 Greece 168
#123 🇿🇲 Zambia 152
#124 🇸🇬 Singapore 148
#124 🇲🇪 Montenegro 148
#126 🇦🇬 Antigua and Barbuda 146
#127 🇺🇾 Uruguay 144
#128 🇨🇭 Switzerland 142
#129 🇱🇻 Latvia 131
#130 🇸🇪 Sweden 123
#131 🇵🇹 Portugal 120
#132 🇧🇪 Belgium 114
#133 🇻🇨 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 113
#134 🇳🇪 Niger 112
#135 🇵🇾 Paraguay 111
#136 🇨🇬 Republic of the Congo 108
#137 🇨🇿 Czech Republic 105
#138 🇦🇹 Austria 104
#139 🇧🇮 Burundi 98
#140 🇭🇷 Croatia 96
#141 🇫🇮 Finland 89
#142 🇩🇯 Djibouti 80
#142 🇰🇳 Saint Kitts and Nevis 80
#144 🇸🇰 Slovakia 77
#145 🇧🇭 Bahrain 66
#146 🇲🇼 Malawi 65
#147 🇲🇷 Mauritania 62
#148 🇹🇩 Chad 57
#149 🇦🇴 Angola 52
#150 🇬🇦 Gabon 49
#151 🇪🇪 Estonia 48
#152 🇸🇷 Suriname 45
#153 🇸🇸 South Sudan 41
#153 🇹🇴 Tonga 41
#155 🇴🇲 Oman 38
#156 🇲🇬 Madagascar 36
#156 🇩🇰 Denmark 36
#156 🇮🇸 Iceland 36
#159 🇧🇹 Bhutan 35
#159 🇧🇲 Bermuda 35
#161 🇸🇮 Slovenia 32
#162 🇨🇾 Cyprus 28
#163 🇳🇴 Norway 23
#164 🇨🇫 Central African Republic 22
#165 🇧🇼 Botswana 21
#165 🇹🇨 Turks and Caicos Islands 21
#167 🇲🇴 Macau SAR 20
#168 🇱🇦 Laos 11
#168 🇲🇫 Saint Martin 11
#168 🇻🇬 British Virgin Islands 11
#171 🇲🇿 Mozambique 10
#171 🇳🇦 Namibia 10
#171 🇦🇮 Anguilla 10
#174 🇲🇺 Mauritius 9
#174 🇸🇽 Sint Maarten 9
#174 🇼🇸 Samoa 9
#177 🇬🇼 Guinea-Bissau 8
#177 🇰🇵 North Korea 8
#177 🇨🇼 Curaçao 8
#180 🇰🇾 Cayman Islands 7
#181 🇵🇬 Papua New Guinea 6
#182 🇲🇹 Malta 5
#182 🇦🇼 Aruba 5
#184 🇱🇸 Lesotho 4
#184 🇧🇳 Brunei 4
#186 🇬🇶 Equatorial Guinea 3
#186 🇲🇸 Montserrat 3
#188 🇸🇿 Eswatini 2
#188 🇲🇻 Maldives 2
#188 🇵🇫 French Polynesia 2
#188 🇬🇮 Gibraltar 2
#188 🇱🇺 Luxembourg 2
#188 🇫🇲 Federated Sates of Micronesia 2
#194 🇸🇹 Sao Tome and Principe 1
#194 🇹🇱 Timor-Leste 1
#194 🇳🇨 New Caledonia 1
#194 🇲🇨 Monaco 1
#194 🇨🇽 Christmas Island 1
#194 🇲🇭 Marshall Islands 1
#194 🇵🇼 Palau 1
#194 🇸🇧 Solomon Islands 1
#194 🇻🇺 Vanuatu 1
#203 🇰🇲 Comoros 0
#203 🇪🇭 Western Sahara 0
#203 🇸🇨 Seychelles 0
#203 🇦🇩 Andorra 0
#203 🇫🇴 Faroe Islands 0
#203 🇬🇱 Greenland 0
#203 🇹🇫 French Southern and Antarctic Lands 0
#203 🇧🇱 St. Barthelemy 0
#203 🇵🇲 St. Pierre and Miquelon 0
#203 🇼🇫 Wallis and Futuna 0
#203 🇮🇴 British Indian Ocean Territory 0
#203 🇫🇰 Falkland Islands 0
#203 🇵🇳 Pitcairn 0
#203 🇸🇭 St. Helena 0
#203 🇬🇸 South Georgia and the Sandwich Islands 0
#203 🇱🇮 Liechtenstein 0
#203 Northern Ireland (DV Only) 0
#203 🇸🇯 Svalbard 0
#203 🇸🇲 San Marino 0
#203 🇻🇦 Vatican City 0
#203 🇨🇨 Cocos (Keeling) Islands 0
#203 🇳🇫 Norfolk Island 0
#203 🇰🇮 Kiribati 0
#203 🇳🇷 Nauru 0
#203 🇨🇰 Cook Islands 0
#203 🇳🇺 Niue 0
#203 🇹🇰 Tokelau 0
#203 🇹🇻 Tuvalu 0
Total 285,069

Mexican citizens received the highest number of visas to immigrate permanently to the U.S. at nearly 40,600. America’s other neighbor, Canada, ranked 43rd, only receiving 1,464 visas. China and India also rank high on the list, ranking at #2 and #7 respectively.

Interestingly, only one European country, Ukraine, made the top 25. In 2021, prior to the Russian invasion, Ukrainians obtained 3,019 visas. A number of the top visa recipient nations are marked by violence and political unrest, like Afghanistan (#5) and Iran (#25).

Looking beyond the top 25, one surprising find is that eight North Korean citizens received immigration visas last year. Additionally, a number of countries only received a handful of U.S. immigrant visas including Luxembourg’s two, and Timor-Leste’s one.

Regionally, the bulk of the highest ranking countries are located in Asia. Here’s a breakdown:

Rank Region Immigrant Visas Issued (2021)
#1 Asia  111,419
#2 North America 91,919
#3 Africa 35,776
#4 Europe  23,972
#5 South America 20,688
#6 Oceania 1,295

Finally, here’s the geographical distribution of persons receiving U.S. immigrant visas.

Map infographic showing which countries receive the most U.S. immigration visas

The State of U.S. Immigration

Around 15% of the U.S. population is made up of immigrants, and the country is home to the highest number of total immigrants in the world, at 50.6 million.

In terms of how many visas are issued annually, there is a federal ceiling of 700,000 and certain countries have their own specific caps on how many their citizens can receive, as mandated by the United States. Although the numbers change drastically year by year, they have not come close to the limit in the last decade.

Here’s a look at the total U.S. immigrant visa issuances globally. Notably, they diminished by almost half during the pandemic:

Year Immigrant Visas Issued Worldwide % Change Year-over-Year
2012 482,300
2013 473,115 -1.9%
2014 467,370 -1.2%
2015 531,463 +13.7%
2016 617,752 +16.2%
2017 559,536 -9.4%
2018 533,557 -4.6%
2019 462,422 -13.3%
2020 240,526 -48.0%
2021 285,069 +18.5%

Overall, whether for economic purposes, reunification of families, or in fleeing from danger, people are continuing to come to the United States.

In the period between 2016 and 2060, it’s expected that the share of the U.S. population that is American-born is going to grow by 20%. Meanwhile, the share of the population that is foreign-born is expected to jump by 58%.

The post Ranked: The 25 Countries Receiving the Most U.S. Immigration Visas appeared first on Visual Capitalist.

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