How to Get a Green Card Through Employment

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There are several ways in which individuals can qualify to live and work in the U.S. as permanent residents, commonly referred to as green card holders. One such option is the employment-based Green Card, which allows those with a job offer from a US employer to obtain permanent residency. This option is often considered the fast-track route to obtaining a green card because the process is typically faster than other options. It is important to note that this employment-based green card option is only available to those who have a job offer from a US employer and meet the necessary job qualifications.

In this article, you’ll come to know everything about employment-based green card types, eligibility and application process to obtain your employment green card.

Employment-Based Green Cards Types and Numerical Limit

Usually, the U.S. government allows 140,000 visas approximately every fiscal year for employment-based immigrants and their families. These number of visas will be divided into five categories which are based on the qualification of the employee.

Employment-Based Preference ImmigrantsEligibilityNumerical Limit
EB-1 (First Preference)People with Extraordinary Ability, outstanding professors and researchers, multinational executives and managers40,040
EB-2 (Second Preference)Advanced Degree holders or exceptional ability in sciences, arts or business40,040
EB-3 (Third Preference)Skilled Workers, professional workers, others workers40,040 (other workers limit 10,000)
EB-4 (Fourth Preference)Special Immigrant including religious workers and children who cannot reunited with a parent because of abuse, abandonment or neglect.9,940

The Department of State (DOS) determined that the FY 2022 employment-based annual limit was 281,507 – more than double the typical annual total – due to unused family-based visa numbers from FY 2021 being allocated to the next fiscal year’s available employment-based visas. (Source: USCIS)

EB-1 Green Card (First Preference)

Individuals immigrants who are considered as a special value to the US government are eligible to apply a Green Card through EB-1 category. Extraordinary person with outstanding skills in a specific field of art, the sciences, academic work, or management are considered under EB-1 category.

EB-2 Green Card (Second Preference)

If you hold an advanced degree or equivalent or have the exceptional ability you are eligible to apply for a green card under the EB-2 category.

EB-3 Green Card (Third Preference)

The EB-3 Green Card category is for individuals who are skilled workers, professionals holding a US bachelor’s degree or its foreign equivalent, or workers with limited work experience.

EB-4 Green Card (Fourth Preference)

Special Immigrants fall under EB-4 green card category. Religious workers, a broadcaster, a juvenile, a US government employee living abroad, a U.S. Army member, or an Iraqi or Afghan translator, might be eligible for an EB-4 Green Card.

To Get a Green Card through a Special Job, a person must file Form I-360, Petition for Special Immigrant. The documents that must be submitted with Form I-360 will vary depending on the job.

EB-5 Green Card (Fifth Preference)

Individuals who are not US citizens and are investing in American companies may be eligible for an EB-5 Green Card. This type of Green Card is based on investment and does not require a Labor Certification or a job offer.

To get a Green Card through an Investment, a person must file Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur. An investor must show that he or she can invest $1,800,000 in business in the U.S.  If the business will be set-up in a targeted area of high unemployment, then the investment is at least $900,000.

Required Documents For Employment Based Green Card

If you seek employ-based green card, you need to have specific documents to help you to get a green card. The required documents may vary depends on your case. Below are the primary documents required for an employment based Green Card application:

  • Form I-485 – Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
  • Form I-797 – Approval or Receipt Notice of your I-140 Form filed on your behalf. Form I-485 Supplement J to get confirmation about your job offered to you in Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers, remains a bona fide job offer that you intend to accept when we approve your Form I 485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
  • Your passport photos (2 Numbers)
  • Your identification (passport) document copy
  • Copy of your birth certificate
  • Your non-immigrant visa (if applicable) copy
  • Parole stamp copy issued by U.S. officer (if applicable)
  • Copy of every I-94 recorded under your name
  • Maintenance of your lawful status since arriving in the U.S. (or that you are exempt)
  • Medical examination report (Form I-693)
  • Certified police clearances (from your home country)
  • Documentation of past or present J-1 or J-2 nonimmigrant status (if applicable)
  • Form I-485 Supplement A – Adjustment of Status Under Section 245(i) (if applicable).
  • Receipt of Filed Fees – All receipts have to be preserved

Process Of Getting Employment-Based Green Card

#1: Labor Certification

To start the process of obtaining an employment-based green card, the U.S. employer (i.e., your sponsor) first needs to obtain an application for permanent labor certification program (or PERM) from the Department of Labor (DOL).

#2: Petition for Immigration I-140, I-360 & I-526

After receiving the PERM certification, the sponsor can submit Form I-140 (see the I-140 checklist) on behalf of the employee. The labor certification must confirm that no one in the U.S. is qualified for an available job, or willing to work at the prevailing wage. And also the certificate must ensure the wages will not create a negative impact on the people who were employed earlier.

The process for employment-based immigration Green Card application varies based on your qualifications and category. However, in all cases, a petition must be submitted to USCIS, which can be done either by your prospective US employer or yourself. After your I-140 petition is approved by USCIS you can apply for your green card.

For EB-1, EB-2 & EB-3 you need to file Form I-140, EB-4 you must file Form I-360 and for EB-5 you must file Form I-526.

#3: Consular Processing

If you live outside the U.S. you can apply for your green card through consular processing. Either you or your US employer will file the petition. National Visa Center Center (NVC) will start the process after receiving the appropriate fees. You need to wait until USCIS has approved your petition and inform NVC. In your home country, you need to attend an interview appointment at the United States Consulate or Embassy and need to take a medical examination. After the approval, you will receive your employer-based green card attached to your passport and you can enter the U.S. as a legal permanent resident.

#4: Adjustment of Status

If you live inside the U.S. you can apply for your green card through adjustment of status, I-485 (if you are on temporary work visas like the H-1B, L-1, or TN). At the same time, you can apply for Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and Advance Parole or Travel Document (AP). You can apply for concurrent Filing I-140 & I-485 same time. But after the approval of your I-140, your I-485 will approve. You can submit your application and stay in the U.S.

Mistakes on your USCIS application forms can lead to rejection, denial, or delay in processing your application. Prepare your application safely and securely using Immigration Direct’s online immigration software to eliminate costly mistakes. Our software provides you with easy-to-understand instructions to prepare and also access to other services to file your application correctly. Get Started Now.

Cost of an Employment Based Green Card

The cost to obtain employment-based green card varies for each case. In general:

  • $4000 – $7000 for labor certification, (paid by the employer)
  • $700 for I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers, (paid by the employer)
  • $1,140 for I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
  • $325 for Immigrant Visa Application
  • $85 for Biometrics Services
  • $220 for USCIS Immigrant Fee
  • $2,500 for I-907 Premium Processing (if applicable)

Employment Based Green Card Processing Time

The duration of processing for your employment-based Green Card application is determined by various factors, such as the category of your application, the accuracy of the information provided, the processing speed of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and the availability of a visa.

Typically, the processing time for Form I-140 is approximately six months, although this timeline can vary depending on the service center. The USCIS also offers a premium processing service for Form I-140 with an additional fee which brings the processing time down to 15 calendar days.

Once your I-140 has been approved, you will still need to submit Form I-485 once you have reached your priority date. The processing time for Form I-485 is typically around six months.

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