One way you can get a green card is through sponsorship by a U.S. employer. The employment based green card process is divided into five categories: EB-1, EB-2, EB-3, EB-4 and EB-5. Labor certification by the U.S. Department of Labor is required for some of the categories, but not all. Certification is important because it confirms that not enough U.S. workers are available and qualified in that particular geographic area where the foreign worker is seeking a green card through employment. Additionally, it should also state that no American workers will be displaced by the foreign worker. In specific cases, highly skilled workers with extraordinary ability in certain professions, investors and entrepreneurs are given permission to immigrate to the United States without obtaining labor certification. Whatever the category, it is a multi-step process.
Obtaining an Employment Based Green Card:
To start the process in the employment based green card category, a qualified US employer must obtain labor certification and then the employer has to file form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien worker.
After getting Labor Certification approval and once I-140 petition is approved, the USCIS will send a notice of approval to the petitioner (US employer) and send the approval to the National Visa Center. This petition will remain in the visa center until an immigration visa number becomes available before the process can proceed. Once foreign employee gets an immigrant visa number, they then have permission to live and work permanently in the U.S as a conditional permanent resident.
When a visa number becomes available and the foreign national is already in the United States, they can apply to adjust their status to a lawful permanent resident by filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status with the USCIS. If the foreign national resides outside the United States when an immigrant visa number becomes available, they can complete the process and get a visa number at the U.S. Consulate in their home country. The American consulate or embassy will give them all the information they need to complete the process. The foreign national will be required to submit certain supporting documents and additional fees at that time.
Additionally, before you get the visa, the foreign national must undergo a medical examination, independent of their age. The medical examination will be performed by a doctor designated by the US consulate. If the foreign national is already in the US and filing for adjustment of status, the doctor will be designated by the USCIS. Apart from the visa fees, they also will bear all the costs for the medical examination.
In situations where there are more qualified applicants in the employment based green card category than the prescribed limit, it will be considered oversubscribed. In these cases, visas will be issued in chronological order in which the petitions were filed until the limit for that specific employment based green card category is reached. The priority date is the filing date of the petition. Immigrant visas cannot be obtained until an applicant’s priority date is reached. In case of heavily oversubscribed categories, there could be a waiting period of many years before the priority date is reached.