Practice Areas

Employment Green Cards

An employment-based green card provides foreign nationals with the opportunity to live and work permanently in the United States. These green cards are granted to individuals who have been offered permanent employment by a U.S. employer or qualify for a self-petition and meet the requirements set by law.

There are a few different types of employment green cards:

(1)  EB-1 First Preference Priority Workers:
– individuals with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or
– outstanding professors and researchers;
– certain multinational managers and executives.

(2) EB-2 Second Preference Workers:
– members of the professions holding advanced degrees or their equivalents;
– individuals with exceptional ability (that includes requests for national interest waivers (NIW)).

(3) EB-3 Third Preference: – individuals with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or
– skilled workers;
– professionals;
– other workers, including unskilled.
(4) EB-4 Fourth Preference is reserved for special immigrants. You can learn more about this category here.

(5) EB-5 Fifth Preference is for immigrant investors. You can learn more about this category here.

Here we will only briefly cover the first three categories. The process of obtaining an employment-based green card generally involves the following steps:

  1. Labor Certification or PERM. The first step is for the U.S. employer to obtain a labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). This certification verifies that there are no qualified U.S. workers available for the position being offered to the foreign national and that the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers will not be negatively impacted. PERM is a lengthy process that includes getting the prevailing wage determination from DOL, conducting the recruitment process (job advertising and interviewing candidates), preparing and submitting a labor certification application, responding to audit (if requested by DOL).

Obtaining a labor certification from DOL is not required for EB-1, EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) petitions, and EB-2 and EB-3 Schedule A petitions.

  1. Immigrant Petition. Once the labor certification is approved, the U.S. employer files an immigrant petition (Form I-140) on behalf of the foreign national with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This petition demonstrates that the employer has the ability to offer a permanent job and that the foreign national meets the required qualifications.
  2. Priority Dates and Visa Availability. Employment-based green cards are subject to annual numerical limitations. The availability of visas is based on priority dates, which establish the order in which individuals are eligible to apply for a green card. Priority dates may vary depending on the specific employment-based category and the foreign national’s country of birth.
  3. Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing. Depending on the foreign national’s location, there are two options:

a. Adjustment of status if the foreign national is already in the United States. They may or may not be eligible to apply for adjustment of status (Form I-485) to obtain their green card without leaving the country. Not having priority dates current, disruptions in lawful status, history of unauthorized employment or visa violations, lack of lawful entry or entry as a crewman, inadmissibility issues, etc., may prevent a foreign national from adjusting their status in the U.S.

b. If the foreign national is outside the United States, they will need to go through the consular processing at a U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country or the country of their current lawful residence. This involves submitting additional documents, attending a visa interview, and undergoing medical examinations, among other things. You can learn more about consular processing here.

  1. Interview and Final Decision. If going through adjustment of status, the foreign national may be required to attend an interview at the local USCIS Field Office. Currently, a lot of interviews are being waived for employment-based adjustment of status cases. If going through the consular processing, the foreign national will need to attend an immigrant visa interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate. Those interviews are never waived. The purpose of the interview is to verify the authenticity of the job offer, assess the qualifications of the foreign national, and determine eligibility for a green card.
  2. Approval and Green Card Issuance. If the application is approved, the foreign national will eventually receive their employment-based green card, granting them lawful permanent residency in the United States.

The process and requirements for obtaining an employment-based green card can vary depending on the specific preference category and individual circumstances. Working with experienced immigration attorneys can greatly increase the chances of a successful application and ensure compliance with all applicable immigration laws and regulations.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation and let our experienced immigration attorneys guide you through the intricacies of the employment-based green card process. We understand the significance of this process for both employees and employers and are dedicated to providing expert guidance and support at every stage.

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