Employment Based Green Card - Get Green Card through Employment
Updated on 03/18/2023
If you are a professional, either within the United States or abroad, you might be interested in gaining lawful permanent residency (green card) through employment. Many employment-based green card applicants had an American company petition for them on their behalf, while other professionals filed the green card application themselves.
To live and work in the United States while you wait for a green card through employment, you might consider getting a temporary nonimmigrant work visa that allows you to remain in the country while you work for a U.S. organization for a limited amount of time. There are many options for foreign national professionals to acquire a work visa.
1. Employment-Based Green Card in the United States
An employment-based green card may be appropriate for an employee who wants to work in the United States under lawfully recorded permanent residency status. Often this type of authorization requires a job offer and a labor certification by the employer.
As such, for many green cards acquired through employment, the petitioner is an employing U.S. company, rather than the foreign national. However, there are some employment-based green card applications that allow for the employee themselves to self-petition for lawful permanent residency in the United States.
No matter who is the petitioner, an employment-based green card is applied for using Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker. The evidence that must accompany the I-140 form will depend on the type of employment-based green card that is being sought. Unfortunately, the Form I-140 and accompanying evidence must be submitted to the USCIS by mail, as there is currently no online employment-based green card application offered by USCIS.
Through DYgreencard.com, you can have a skilled immigration attorney to prepare all the paper work for an I-140 employment-based green card petition. Learn more about what we can do for you.
2. Labor Certification for United States Employers
An employment-based green card in the United States frequently requires a labor certification. According to the USCIS, to acquire a labor certification is the responsibility of the employing organization, rather than the worker.
Certified permanent labor certifications can be obtained from the United States Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration (ETA). A labor certification is also called a PERM, or an ETA 9089 form.
PERMs are intended to make sure that American employees and the U.S. labor market in general are not negatively impacted by the granting of a green card through employment. The United States government requires these labor certifications to ensure that foreign nationals are not taking the jobs of equally qualified U.S. citizens or permanent residents in the United States.
3. Green Cards That Do Not Require a Labor Certification
In order to avoid the labor certification requirement, a foreign individual might consider petitioning under EB-1 green card classification. To do so; however, they must prove that they are a member of one of the following categories:
- Multinational manager or executive
- Alien of extraordinary ability
- Outstanding professor or researcher
Additionally, workers who possess advanced degrees in their field of endeavor might qualify under second preference, or EB-2 green card classification. However, this type of green card might require a labor certification unless the worker can demonstrate that a National Interest Waiver (NIW) is warranted.
4. Procedures to Obtain Green Card through Employment
The following flowchart clearly describes the procedures to obtain green card through employment. For green cards that do not require a PERM labor certification, stage 1 can be skipped.
The whole processing time to obtain green card through employment will range from 18 to 36 months for people who were born in the countries that immigrant visa number is immediately available. If you were born in India, Mainland China, Mexico, etc, you have to wait several years until an immigrant visa number is available to you. As such, it will take several years for you to finally obtain a green card through employment.
5. Nonimmigrant Work Visas While Waiting for a Green Card
There may be several ways for an immigrant to work temporarily in the United States. Even after a Form I-140 petition is approved, a foreign national may be able to remain in the United States on a temporary work visa while they wait for their visa number become available, at which time a green card will become available to them.
H-1B, H-1C, and H-2A
An H-1B work visa may be appropriate for those whose careers are in specialty occupations with complex duties. While present in the United States on this nonimmigrant visa, many employees begin the application process for an employment-based immigrant green card.
Other nonimmigrant employee visas include the H-1C and the H-2A. The H-1C is a type of temporary work visa for registered nurses; whereas, the H-2A program allows agricultural workers to live in the United States for a limited period. Such visas may be subject to quotas; thus, it may be helpful to consult with an attorney about temporary worker cases.
L-1A and L-1B
An L-1 visa, no matter the type, is a temporary, nonimmigrant visa. With both the L-1A and the L-1B visas, the applicant must be able to show at least one year of continuous employment with the multinational company during the last three years.
The USCIS may approve an L-1A visa application from an executive or manager who has been working continuously for a company with multinational offices for at least one of the past three years. An executive is generally defined as someone who has the authority to “make decisions of wide latitude without much oversight.” To be eligible as a manager, an L-1A applicant should be in a role in which they supervise professionals, control at least a department of an organization, or manage an essential function of the business at a high level.
The L-1B visa applies to professionals with specialized knowledge. The USCIS may approve a foreign professional for an L-1B intracompany transfer if they have special knowledge of certain elements of the petitioning organization’s role in international markets.
L-1 Blanket Petitions
Some multinational companies with American branches that are engaged in commercial trade or services may find it easier to transfer multiple professionals to the United States via an L-1 visa blanket petition.
To gain approval of an L-1 visa blanket petition, the multinational organization must show that it:
- Is engaged in commercial trade or services
- Has had a U.S.-based office for at least one year
- Has three or more domestic and foreign branches
Additionally, the petitioning organization, with the other qualifying branches, must show that it either:
- obtained ten or more L-1 approvals within one year’s time
- has U.S. affiliates or subsidiaries with $25 million in combined annual sales
- has a workforce of at least 1,000 professionals in the U.S.
To learn more types of work visa available to foreign nationals, please check our article A Complete Guide on Sponsoring a Work Visa in USA.
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