USCIS allocates 10,000 visas each year. As long as applicants from the entire world do not exceed this number, there is no retrogression. However, when the number of applicants in any given year exceed this total allocation, applicants from over-subscribing countries are subject to retrogression. In the last few years, there has been an enormous number of applications from for example, China. To make room for applicants from other countries, USCIS makes these applicants wait. This is called retrogression.
Due to retrogression, USCIS recently announced (October 2018) that waiting lists are as follows: China (14 years); Vietnam (7.2 years); India (5.7 years); South Korea (2.2 years); Taiwan ROC (1.7 years); Brazil (1.5 years).
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