How to obtain a green card through your job

Many people who enter the U.S. in order to work end up obtaining a nonimmigrant visa. However, if you received a job offer in the states, you may apply for permanent residency, better known as a green card. There are several paths to a green card, and right one for you depends on your circumstances.

Job offer
If an American business has offered you permanent employment in the country, you may be eligible to apply for permanent residency. In this case, your employer must have labor certification through the U.S. Department of Labor. This certification allows them to hire foreign workers on a permanent basis. If your employer has this, he or she can file a Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, on your behalf.

Investment
Investors and entrepreneurs looking to develop an enterprise in the U.S. that helps create jobs may also apply for a green card.

Self-petition
If you don’t have an employer who can petition for you, you can file for yourself by meeting two conditions.

Those two conditions are:

  • You have been granted a National Interest Waiver. The idea behind this waiver is that you have extraordinary skills that will benefit the U.S.
  • Similarly, there is an O-1 visa, which is for Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement. Like the National Interest Waiver, individuals who qualify have incredible talent in their field. You must be internationally recognized as an authority in a particular area of specialization, including arts, sciences and athletics.

Special job categories
You can be eligible for a green card if you have one of these positions:

  • Afghan/Iraqi Translator
  • Broadcaster
  • International Organization Employee
  • Iraqi Who Assisted the U.S. Government
  • NATO-6 Nonimmigrant
  • Panama Canal Employee
  • Physician National Interest Waiver
  • Religious Worker

If you are applying, and have held one of these jobs, you must also file an I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant.