The Federal Government issued 1,051,031 green cards in 2015 -- the most issued since 2011. The federal government has now issued legal permanent status, with lifetime work permits, to more than 1 million people in 10 of the last 11 years and more than 26 million green cards since the annual cap was raised in 1990.

According to the 2015 release of the Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, nearly one-third of all green cards, 213,910, were issued to extended family members through the family-chain categories. Another 132,961 were issued to parents of U.S. citizens. Both, the family-sponsored and parent categories, would be eliminated if Congress passed Rep. Jody Hice's (R-Ga.) H.R. 604, the Nuclear Family Priority Act. Under the legislation, the adult family-chain categories would be eliminated and parents of citizens would be eligible for renewable non-immigrant visas.

Another 47,934 green cards were granted through the Visa Lottery. These green cards are issued by the State Department through a lottery system to citizens of countries that are underrepresented through other green card categories regardless of the individual's skills or work experience.

Under the existing law, refugees and asylees are eligible for green cards after one year of continuous residence in the United States. In 2015, 151,995 green cards were issued to refugees and asylees, also the most issued since 2011.

You can download the 2015 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics by clicking here.

Legal Immigration

Updated: Tue, Jan 3rd 2017 @ 1:10pm EST