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).
- 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.