employment based green card

The employment-based green card process allows noncitizens to live and work in the United States permanently. It’s a multi-step process that requires accuracy and patience, and while worth it, can be complicated. Most employment-based green cards require three steps to obtain.

Labor Certification

The first step in the employment-based green card process is labor certification. After making an attempt to hire U.S.-based workers, a company can request a certified labor certification application from the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. The employer must follow a specific process before obtaining a Permanent Labor Certification (PERM) from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

  • First, the employer must make a list of the minimum qualifications to fill a specific role. They must determine which category of occupation the role fits into according to Department of Labor regulations. 
  • Next, the employer must receive an approved Prevailing Wage Determination from the National Prevailing Wage Center. This shows the wages the employer intends to pay for the role.
  • The next step is for the employer to make valid recruitment attempts according to the occupation type. An employer is required to attempt to hire U.S.-based workers who are willing and qualified for the role, and if the attempt is unsuccessful, they can move on to the next step.
  • Finally, the employer can submit a PERM application online or through mail. 

Immigration Petition

Once the PERM application is approved, the next step is for the employer to file an I-40 immigration petition. The I-40 must include the certified PERM approval and employment classification type. See here for more information about the various employment-based visa categories. Along with the category, the employer must also submit proof that they can pay the wages laid out in the Prevailing Wage Determination section of the PERM. The petition must also include the intended hire’s qualifications and training that make him or her an ideal candidate for the position and a list of job duties. 

Green Card Application

An approved I-40 immigration petition means the employer can move to the next step: obtaining a green card for the noncitizen worker. However, before filing a green card application, the employer must wait until a green card is available. Because the number of employment-based green cards is limited and based on a priority list, this step is crucial to ensure the worker’s green card is approved. If there is an opening, the employer must file with the worker’s U.S. consulate office in his or her home country, which will give the worker a Visa Packet. The worker then gives the packet to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, where an officer will review the packet. Once admitted, the worker will receive his or her green card, serving as proof of permanent residency.

Can You Speed Up the Employment-Based Green Card Process?

Mistakes in paperwork or typos can delay the processing of an employment-based green card. Paperwork can be long and complicated, but an attorney may be able to help shorten the process of green card approval by reviewing papers and gathering evidence. At CoxEsq., P.C., we have years of experience with assisting workers enter the United States by obtaining a green card. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with an immigration lawyer in Missouri who can help.