Process of Getting an Employment-Based Green Card
The basic steps to getting an employment-based green card types are described below. If you are applying for an EB-1A or EB-2 national interest waiver green card, however, you can skip the steps involving an employer sponsor and file the application yourself. (It’s best to get the help of an immigration attorney for this.)
Step One: PERM
Successfully completing the PERM process is necessary for all employment-based green card categories requiring an employer sponsor. The employer must obtain a prevailing wage determination, advertise the job, and conduct prospective employee recruitment. If successful, the DOL will issue a certification for inclusion in the green card petition. The employer sponsor must pay all PERM costs.
Step Two: Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers and Priority Date
Once the PERM is approved, your employer will need to file USCIS Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers within 180 days. Here, the employer must prove that both you and the proposed position meet the relevant qualifications. I-140 adjudication can take months, but the employer can pay extra for “premium processing” (action within 15 days). The USCIS I-140 approval notice will include an important bit of information: your priority date.
Step Three: Await Current Priority Date
Monitor the Department of State’s Visa Bulletin to determine when a green card will become available for your priority date, category, and country of nationality. The Visa Bulletin is updated monthly. If you submit a green card application too early, it will be rejected.
Step Four: Applying for Permanent Residency
The next step depends on where you are living (in the U.S. or abroad) and if you’re in the U.S., whether you’re able to “adjust status” and choose to do so.