Employment Based Green Card

Overview

A foreign national is eligible to gain United States permanent residency ‘green card’ though a variety of employment-based (EB) immigration options.  The EB immigration process is one of the most widely used methods to obtain a green card and for most EB processes sponsorship of a U.S. employer is required.  In limited EB categories, the foreign national may self-sponsor.   Every fiscal year (October 1st – September 30th), approximately 140,000 EB immigrant visas are made available to qualified foreign nationals.  EB immigrant visas are divided into five preference categories.

EB green card ‘generally’ is a three stage process.  The first stage for such a process is the PERM labor certification (PERM labor) process i.e. the foreign national’s prospective employer or agent must first obtain a labor certification approval from the Department of Labor.  Once the Labor Certification is approved, the employer then files an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (Form I-140), with the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services.  The third (final) stage requires the foreign national to either apply for a consular processing for an immigrant visa or an application for adjustment of status to permanent residence. 

Procedure & Requirement  

  • Most EB green cards are a three stage process and requires a permanent job offer from a U.S. employer;
  • PERM is not required for first preference (EB-1), outstanding professor and researchers (OPR), and multinational executives and managers (MET);
  • Self-sponsorship is an option under certain categories like National Interest Waiver, Extraordinary Ability, or EB-5 (investment green card).

Related Issues

  • Dependents of primary applicant are eligible to file either an adjustment-of-status or consular processing application;
  • Based on the EB category and the country of birth, the wait time under EB category can be as little as 1 year to as high as 10+ years;
  • EB applicants and their dependents are generally not interviewed during the process;
  • USCIS does not require a female applicant to take her husband’s last name.