Recapturing of Unused Green Cards

It appears that there is a provision in the proposed spending bill presently before Congress which proposes to recapture more than 400,000 unused green cards. It is estimated that there are approximately 224,000 green cards that were allocated during the period from 1992 to 2019 which were never issued. Additionally, in 2020 there were 200,000 green cards that went unissued. It is safe to assume with the pandemic and the delays that exist in the processing of green cards that there will be many more green cards that go unused for 2021. If this bi-partisan proposal is included in the spending bill, then it is great news for persons from countries facing long delays due to extended priority dates. If recaptured the green cards will be used for individuals who already have an approval under either a family or employment based case.


While the possibility of recapturing 100,000+ of unused green cards is exciting news, it will not come without a cost. In order to claim one of the recaptured green cards the USCIS fee will be $5,000. If passed this could potentially generate $2,000,000,000 in revenue for USCIS. That kind of additional funding should allow USCIS to increase staff and resources to further alleviate the current delays and backlogs. Should the backlog clear significantly, it should allow individuals from India and China to timely obtain a green card through the NIW process. For further information on the recapture please see the Axios news report.

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