The green card is the most sought-after U.S. immigration benefit. Unfortunately, it is often also the hardest to obtain. However, one of the most common ways to succeed is to get an employment-based green card, in which a U.S. employer sponsors a foreign national for a green card.
If you wish to become a lawful permanent resident in the U.S., seek information on how to get a green card in the USA and applying for a green card through employment. Contact Rooney Nimmo Associate Abbey Docherty and Immigration Counsel James A. O’Malley for further assistance.
Here is an overview of how to obtain employment-based green card status.
How to Obtain an Employment Based Green Card in the U.S.
Employment-based applications are the second most common way to secure permanent legal status in the U.S., after family sponsorship. U.S. immigration law is extremely complex because of the sheer number of people with different reasons for entering the country. Becoming a lawful permanent resident through employment is one of the more straightforward options, especially if you are what is known as an employment-based “preference immigrant.”
There are various categories of preference immigrant, including:
- EB1: First Preference
These immigrants are seen as priority workers who bring exceptional skills to the U.S. These can be from various sectors, such as business, education, the sciences, the arts, athletics, or multiple professions, such as high-ranking executives or exceptional researchers and professors.
- EB2: Second Preference
These immigrants generally hold advanced degrees in their professions and/or have demonstrated exceptional practical skills.
- EB3: Third Preference
These immigrants include skilled workers who can contribute something particularly coveted by a U.S. company.
Other employment-based immigrants include EB4: Special Immigrants, which includes religious workers, and EB5: Immigrant Investors.
Employer Sponsorship and Process: What to Expect
If a U.S. employer is already sponsoring your green card application, you’re in luck. They will file an employment-based immigration petition along with a prevailing wage determination (PWD) on your behalf with the Department of Labor (DOL). This is usually based on a Permanent Labor Certification (PERM) process. Soon after the PWD is issued, the PERM labor certification is filed (the PWD usually expires within a year). It takes the DOL several months to review the application, but once you receive certification that it has been successful, you will mail this to your employer.
Your employer will then file a petition for a visa using Form I-140, which is issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Once USCIS approves the petition, you have to wait until a visa is made available, depending on where you are in the queue for your category. If an employer sponsors your green card application, your visa will likely be an H-1B or L-1 visa, which means you can start legally working. The National Visa Center (NVC) will keep you informed of your immigrant visa application status.
Once you have a visa, you can file a green card application using USCIS Form I-485, which will eventually include an interview at a local immigration office if you are already in the U.S. or at a U.S. consulate abroad. Where and how the interview takes place will depend on where you live and whether you reside there legally.
If you wish to start working in the U.S. while you wait for the green card process to be complete, but your visa is not a work visa, you must apply for a work permit with USCIS Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization), which you can file together with your green card application.
Work with Rooney Nimmo’s Skilled Immigration Lawyers
If you are seeking an employment-based green card but are having trouble navigating the process, a skilled immigration lawyer can assist you. The team at Rooney Nimmo can help you understand the application process whether you’re already in the U.S. or are still abroad. We have lawyers admitted across the globe to help you with immigration processes for the U.S. and the UK. Contact us online or call us at (212) 545-8022 to get started today.