United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently placed a purchase order of $3.1 million for additional green cards. According to LaserCard, recipient of the order, these permanent resident cards are to be delivered by December 31, 2009.
I don’t know exactly how much it costs to produce a piece of green card, but 3 million dollars is a huge amount by any means, especially since there are only five months left for 2009.
So, can we assume that USCIS is preparing to issue truckloads of green cards coming October?
It is not that far fetched, if you think about it. The visa bulletin has been in a virtual standstill since May, for much of EB2 and EB3 anyway. There have been various reports that USCIS has been pre-adjudicating I-485 cases aggressively, and now those cases are ready to be approved as soon as visa numbers become available. And FBI name check, the old bottleneck, is no longer heavily backlogged.
Based on all of above, it is reasonable to expect that a large number of people with earlier priority dates will receive their green cards shortly after October 1, the first day when new fiscal year’s visa number can be released. The Department of State will no doubt regulate the flow of visa numbers in a controlled manner, but they still have to open the gate. So for those waiting patiently for years, hopefully 2009 will finally be the year.
Now if anyone has an idea of how much it costs to manufacture a green card, please share with us. The production line that makes green cards is likely making millions of credit cards, ATM cards, and other similar products too. So even if green cards have enhanced security features, I can’t imagine it would cost more than $1-2, given the huge volume. If that estimate is in the ball-park, plus logistics and bureaucratic waste, USCIS may be ordering 1 million green cards by year end. USCIS issued about 1.1 million new green cards in 2008, and an unknown number of replacement green cards, so the 1-million number may not be too off.