You have worked hard! You’ve gained a great qualification or skill. Now you are ready to make it work for you. An employer is bound to sponsor you for employment based permanent residence (also referred to as “Green card”). That is, if you qualify. This type of permanent residence has four main steps. Here is a summary of the employment based green card process.
Types of employment based green cards:
1. EB1 -In order to qualify for this permanent residence you must:
- Have extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics, or
- Be an outstanding professor or researcher, or
- Be a multinational manager or executive who meets certain criteria
2. EB2-In order to qualify for this permanent residence you must:
- Be a member of a profession that requires an advanced degree, or
- Have exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business, or
- Be seeking a national interest waiver (additional requirements)
3. EB3 -In order to qualify for this permanent residence you must:
- Be a skilled worker (which means your skill requires at least 2 years training or work experience), or
- Be a professional (which means your job requires at least a U.S. bachelor’s degree or a foreign equivalent and you are a member of the profession), or
- Be an unskilled worker (which means the unskilled labor requires less than 2 years training or experience).
There are 4 Steps to your employment based
Processing times differ based on the country of the employee. However, the four step process is a constant for each employment based green card process.
Step 1: Labor Certification
After you confirm your eligibility for employment permanent residence , you will submit an application (ETA-750) through your employer to DOL (Department of labor). The USCIS requires the labor certification before any other step. The purpose of the labor certification is to show that the job is not taking from an U.S. person and that such a position will be paid at the average wage. It usually requires evidence that the U.S. employer is unable to find a U.S. employee to do the required or specialized work. The evidence includes a published advertisement showing the description of the position and whether there were qualified U.S. individuals who responded to the advertisement.
Step 2: Petition for immigration I-140
After you obtain the labor certification, your employer files Application (I-140 ) to INS on your behalf. This can take months. However, an employer can expedite the application by paying the premium fee.
Step 3: Adjustment of Status ( I-485) OR Consular Processing
After approval of the Petition for immigration, I-140, you will complete the process either by consular processing or adjustment of status. If outside of the United States, you will do the consular processing which means that the petition will be processed at the United States embassy abroad. You will attend a final interview to determine approval of the green card. If in the United States, then you must File I-485 and other supporting documents with INS, for yourself and family within USA. At this time you can also file for Employment Authorization and a Travel Document called Advanced Parole that allows you to travel during the Adjustment of Status process. Once you file for I-485, you will be required to do fingerprinting.
Step 4: Finally
After your green card is approved, you will get the stamp in the passport showing you have been granted permanent residence. You will receive the green card shortly after, usually in the mail.
NOTE: As always, be sure to seek the assistance of an attorney. This process is tedious and each step has different legal requirements, that if not met, may cause further complications in your case. As part of my AVOID MISTAKES campaign, I urge you to refrain from cutting corners and be sure to get advise each step of the way.