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Legal Immigration and Adjustment of Status Report Fiscal Year 2018, Quarter 3

On March 6, 2017, the President issued a Memorandum for the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, and the Secretary of Homeland Security on Implementing Immediate Heightened Screening and Vetting of Applications for Visas and Other Immigration Benefits, Ensuring Enforcement of All Laws for Entry into the United States, and Increasing Transparency among Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government and for the American People.

The Memorandum directs the Department of Homeland Security to issue quarterly reports detailing the number of adjustments of immigration status that occurred during the reporting period, disaggregated by type of adjustment, type and detailed class of admission, and country of nationality. This report has been prepared by the Department’s Office of Immigration Statistics (OIS) to comply with the President’s directive.

The report describes legal immigration and adjustments of status and provides links to data tables within four categories:

Historically, OIS has reported on immigration benefits annually, with data extraction beginning three months after the end of the fiscal year. This quarterly report provides information about legal migration flows and adjustments of status based on data available one month after the end of the reporting period. OIS will provide revised figures for previous quarters in future reports as additional data become available. The numbers in this report reflect revisions to previously published numbers.

Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR)

Recent Trends

Approximately 278,000 foreign nationals obtained lawful permanent resident (LPR) status in the third quarter of Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 (see Table 1A), a three percent decrease from the same quarter in FY 2017. For the year to date, total LPR admissions were down three percent compared to the first three quarters of FY 2017. Fifty-two percent of LPR admissions were adjustments of status, and 48 percent were new arrivals in the first three quarters of FY 2018.

Between the first and third quarters of FY 2018, LPR new arrivals increased from 123,780 to 136,829, whereas LPR adjustments of status increased slightly from 140,585 to 141,025 (see Table 1B).

Countries of Origin

In the first three quarters of FY 2018, 44 percent of new LPRs were from the top six countries of nationality: Mexico, Cuba, the People’s Republic of China, India, the Dominican Republic, and the Philippines (see Table 1A). These top six countries represented 42 percent of new LPRs over the same period in FY 2017.

Classes and Modes of Admission

About 43 percent of new LPRs obtained status as immediate relatives of U.S. citizens in the first three quarters of FY 2018, and an additional 19 percent obtained status under a family preference category (see Table 1B). These two categories represented 46 percent and 21 percent of LPRs, respectively, in the first three quarters of FY 2017. Refugee and employment-based preference categories were the next-largest classes of admission in FY 2018, as each category accounted for 14 percent of new LPRs.

Data Sources

LPR data were obtained from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Computer Linked Application Information Management System (CLAIMS) and Electronic Immigration System (ELIS).[1] CLAIMS includes information from the DHS Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, which is used by applicants living in the United States. ELIS maintains information from applications for LPR status by applicants living abroad. ELIS automatically confirms the applicant’s status from the Department of State Form DS-230, Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration, or Form DS-260, Electronic Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration.

Refugee Arrivals

Recent Trends

Approximately 16,000 refugees were admitted in the first three quarters of FY 2018 (see Table 2). Refugee arrivals fell by 67 percent compared to the same period in FY 2017.

Countries of Origin

In the third quarter of FY 2018, 82 percent of refugees were from six countries of nationality: the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burma, Bhutan, Ukraine, Eritrea, and Afghanistan (see Table 2). The Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burma accounted for 31 and 17 percent, respectively, of total refugee admissions in the first three quarters of FY 2018. In comparison, these two countries accounted for 18 and 10 percent of total refugee admissions over the first three quarters of FY 2017.

Data Sources

Refugee data presented in Table 2 are from the Worldwide Refugee Admissions Processing System (WRAPS) of the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration of the U.S. Department of State.


Recent Trends

A total of 544,000 aliens were naturalized in the first three quarters of FY 2018 (see Table 3). Compared to the same period in FY 2017, naturalizations were up 15 percent in the first three quarters of FY 2018.

Countries of Origin

In the first three quarters of FY 2018, 42 percent of naturalizations consisted of aliens from Mexico, India, the People’s Republic of China, the Philippines, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic (see Table 3). These same six countries were also the leading countries for naturalizations during each quarter of FY 2017.

Data Sources

Naturalization data presented in Table 3 come from administrative records of DHS Form N-400 applications recorded in USCIS’s CLAIMS and ELIS data systems.

I-94 Nonimmigrant Admissions

At the time of this report, data on nonimmigrant admissions were only available for the first two quarters of FY 18 (October 2017 through March 2018).[2] Detailed data on nonimmigrants in this report are based on I-94/I-94W information, which U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) uses to record certain nonimmigrant admissions (collectively referred to as I-94 nonimmigrant admissions);[3] future reports will also provide detailed data on non-I-94 admissions.

Recent Trends

During the first two quarters of FY 2018, DHS recorded a total of more than 89 million nonimmigrant admissions to the United States, including more than 38 million I-94 nonimmigrant admissions (see Table 4B). Total I-94 nonimmigrant admissions numbers in these quarters of FY 2018 were comparable to those observed in the same quarters of FY 2017.

Countries of Origin

In the first two quarters of FY 2018, the leading five countries of citizenship for I-94 nonimmigrant admissions represented 60 percent of all I-94 admissions. These countries were Mexico, Canada, United Kingdom, Japan, and the People’s Republic of China (see Table 4A). These same five countries represented 59 percent of I-94 admissions over the same period of FY 2017.

Classes of Admission

Visitors entering for pleasure or business comprised 91 percent of all I-94 nonimmigrant admissions, followed by temporary workers and their families (5 percent), and students and their families (2 percent; see Table 4B). These classes accounted for similar proportions of nonimmigrant admissions in the same quarters of FY 2017.

Data Sources

Data on total nonimmigrant admissions come from DHS workload estimates. Detailed data on I-94 nonimmigrant admissions are based on DHS Form I-94/I-94W arrival records recorded in the CBP’s TECS database.


[1] USCIS has built the ELIS electronic case management system as a part of its Transformation Program – an agency-wide modernization initiative to enable end-to-end electronic benefit case processing. Currently, ELIS receives and processes a variety of USCIS form types; the data for this report are obtained from USCIS records and associated data for the immigrant visa packets (upon arrival in the United States) and the Application for Naturalization (Form N-400).

[2] The nonimmigrant admission data are always a quarter behind due to CBP’s data reporting closeout process.

[3] Information collected from these I-94 records includes arrival and departure dates, port of entry, class of admission, country of citizenship, state of destination, age, and gender. A number of changes to I-94 procedures in recent years affected I-94 admissions data. Beginning in 2010, DHS completed updates to computer systems at vehicular lanes and pedestrian crossings along the Northern and Southwest borders to record land admissions previously excluded from I-94 data systems. Beginning in April 2013, CBP automated the I-94 process for nonimmigrants admitted at air and sea ports. This transition from paper to electronic I-94 records at air and sea ports also means that CBP automatically generates I-94 records for Canadian business and tourist travelers admitted at air and sea ports even though they were not previously required to complete I-94 forms. In 2014 CBP made additional changes to its electronic data systems, which have resulted in large increases in the number of I-94 admissions recorded compared to previous years.

Previous quarterly data for this report are available in the OIS Reading Room under Legal Immigration and Status Report Quarterly Data.

Last Published Date: April 29, 2019
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