Employment-Based Green Card

Achieve Permanent Residency With Employment-Based Green Cards

Do you aspire to work and live in the US? An employment-based green card is one option that allows you to live and work permanently in the US. These types of green cards can be either employer-sponsored or self-petitions. 

Acquiring an employment-based green card can be a time-consuming and complex process. Engaging an immigration attorney can help you navigate this complex process. 

At JQK Law firm, we can guide you through the paperwork and address any inquiries. This article will guide you through the employment-based green card process, highlighting various categories, eligibility criteria, application procedures, and challenges.

Understanding Employment-Based Green Cards

The US employment-based green card is an immigration document that allows foreign nationals to gain lawful permanent residence in the US. These types of green cards are typically employer-sponsored, although an individual may self-petition under the EB-1 or EB-2 categories. 

The US government allocates approximately 140,000 employment-based visas each fiscal year. These visas are broken down into five preference categories.

Categories of Employment-Based Green Cards

There are five employment-based (EB) visas/green card preference categories: EB-1 to EB-5. 

EB-1 Visa

The EB-1 visa is for foreign nationals showcasing extraordinary abilities in various fields. These fields include science, arts, education, business, and athletics.

There are three distinct types within the EB-1 visa category:

  • EB-1a visa for individuals with extraordinary ability.
  • EB-1b visa for individuals recognized as outstanding professors or researchers.
  • EB-1c visa for managers or executives of multinational companies.

EB-2 Visa

The EB-2 visa is for persons with advanced degrees or exceptional abilities in their field. Another alternative within the EB-2 category is the EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW)

EB-3 Visa

The EB-3 visa is for skilled, professional, or other workers. EB-3 visa requirements are less strict than the EB-1 and EB-2; as a result, the wait time is longer. 

EB-4 Visa

The EB-4 visa is for special immigrants. Those seeking EB-4 visa status should be the recipient of an authorized Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant. It excludes specific cases, such as certain or former US government employees abroad. 

No labor certification is required for any subgroup falling under certain Special Immigrants. Religious workers often utilize the EB-4 visa. However, others, such as the armed forces and physicians, may apply. 

EB-5 Visa

The EB-5 visa allows foreign investors to make capital in US commercial enterprises. EB-5 options involve new or struggling existing companies.

Approval of the EB-5 investor visa is often faster than that of other employment-based visas since it does not need a PERM Application/Labor Certificate. 

Eligibility Criteria

Each category of employment-based green cards has its eligibility criteria. Meeting these eligibility requirements can reduce the risk of delays or denials.

EB-1 Eligibility

Applicants must either:

  • Possess extraordinary ability in their field (science, arts, education, business, or athletics. 
  • Be an outstanding professor or researcher.
  • Be a multinational executive or manager.

EB-2 Eligibility

Applicants must:

  • Hold advanced degrees or have an exceptional ability in their field.
  • Be a National Interest Waiver (NIW) applicant who can prove that their work is in the interest of the US.

EB-3 Eligibility

Applicants must be either:

  • Skilled workers with at least two years of training or work experience that is not temporary or seasonal.
  • Professionals with a bachelor’s degree from a US university or an equivalent foreign degree.
  • Unskilled workers with less than two years of training or experience, excluding temporary or seasonal roles.

EB-4 Eligibility

Applicants can include:

  • Religious workers.
  • Employees and former employees of the US government abroad.
  • Certain foreign medical graduates.
  • Special immigrant juveniles, among others.

EB-5 Eligibility

Applicants must:

  • Invest a specific amount of capital in a new commercial enterprise in the US.

The Employment-Based Green Card Application Process

The employment-based green card application process will vary depending on the visa category. However, the general process includes the following steps:

  1. File an immigrant visa petition. The US-based employer sponsor must file a Form I-140 (Petition for Alien Worker) on behalf of the foreign worker. 
  2. Wait for your visa number. A limited number of employment-based immigrant visas are available annually. After the petition approval, the applicant may need to wait for an available visa number.
  3. Adjustment of status or consular processing. If the applicant is already in the US, they may apply for adjustment of status using Form I-485. If they are outside the US, they will need to undergo consular processing at the US embassy or consulate.
  4. Biometrics and interview. Applicants will be required to provide fingerprints and photographs. After this, they need to attend an interview with a USCIS or consular officer.
  5. Medical examination and vaccinations. An applicant should undergo a medical examination by an approved panel physician and receive any necessary vaccinations.
  6. Green card issuance. The applicant will receive a green card if their visa application is approved. This will grant them lawful permanent resident (LPR) status.

Required Documents and Forms for Visa Application

An employment-based visa applicant should submit the following documents to the USCIS:

  • A valid passport with at least six months of validity beyond the intended entry date.
  • Form DS-260, Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application or Form I-485, Adjustment of Status.
  • Two passport-style photographs.
  • Copy of your identification document (government-issued).
  • Copy of birth and marriage certificates.
  • A completed medical examination form from a panel physician.
  • Other documents requested by USCIS or the consulate.

Processing Times and Fees

Employment-based immigrant visa applications face unpredictable processing times. Delays may occur due to non-compliance with instructions or additional administrative processing post-interview.

In addition, fees for the following visa services apply:

  • Form I-140 or I-360 for the immigrant petition.
    • Form I-140: $700
    • Form I-360: $435
  • Immigrant visa application (Form DS-260): $445
  • Various other costs include:
    • Cost of medical examination.
    • Additional expenses like translations, photocopying, and document procurement.
    • Travel costs to the US embassy or consulate for the visa interview.

Note: Fees apply to each intending immigrant, irrespective of age, and are non-refundable. Also, ensure you follow National Visa Center instructions for fee payment. Fees can change over time, so checking with USCIS for the most current application costs is essential. 

Importance of Employer Sponsorship and Affidavit of Support

Many EB green cards require employer sponsorship. To sponsor an EB applicant, the employer needs to demonstrate a lack of qualified US workers for the position and why they are endorsing the immigration application of the foreign worker.

An Affidavit of Support for green card applications (Form I-864) is a legal document in which a US employer (sponsor) accepts financial responsibility for a foreign worker seeking to work in the US. By signing this document, the sponsor commits to providing financial support for the applicant during their stay in the country.

Employer sponsorship and the Affidavit of Support serve the following purposes:

  • Indicates a job offer and qualifications;
  • Demonstrates the unavailability of qualified US workers;
  • Ensures immigration regulation compliance;
  • Commitment to financial support;
  • Facilitates visa approval;
  • Addresses public charge concerns and;
  • Streamlines application procedures.

Green Card Interview: Tips and Guidance 

Understanding the interview process is vital when applying for an employment-based green card. Preparing for your interview can relieve the stress and make the process go more smoothly. 

In preparation for your green card interview, you should: 

  • Gather and organize all required documents.
  • Review your green card application.
  • Practice effective communication.
  • Understand the eligibility criteria for your green card category. 
  • Speak with an experienced immigration attorney about any questions you have regarding immigration laws and regulations. 
  • Confirm the date, time, and location of your green card interview in order to arrive promptly. 

Common Challenges

Challenges can arise at any time during the green card application process. Some common challenges related to employment-based immigration visas include:

  • Demonstrating the unavailability of qualified US workers.
  • Aligning job requirements with qualifications.
  • Extended processing times and backlogs. 
  • Issues addressing Requests for Evidence (RFEs).
  • Job role, employer, or location changes can complicate the application process. 

Role of Legal Representation

A successful employment-based green card application requires careful navigation through various obstacles. Experienced green card lawyers can assist you by:

  • Building a compelling case to bridge the gap between job demands and qualifications.
  • Ensuring your application aligns with your EB preference category.
  • Helping you plan strategically, manage expectations, and stay informed about processing times.
  • Crafting RFE responses and handling other USCIS inquiries and requests.
  • Offering guidance to ensure adherence to immigration regulations and USCIS updates.
  • Preparing and submitting required forms and documents in a timely manner. 
  • Providing guidance and solutions to address eligibility issues or potential obstacles.
  • Helping you prepare for the green card interview.

Contact JQK Law Today for Assistance

Obtaining an employment-based green card involves a complex process with various crucial steps. Assistance from skilled legal representation can help you avoid errors and efficiently navigate the immigration process. 

At JQK Law, we offer comprehensive support. We evaluate your case and provide assistance throughout the immigration process. We can help with application filing, interview preparation, and post-interview support. Our firm is committed to guiding you through the complexities of US immigration law.

Contact us today for assistance realizing your American dream.

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