How to Obtain a Green Card in the USA through Employer Sponsorship
This process is the same for all states in the country.
There several main routes you can pursue to get a Green Card through work in the United States:
- Through a job offer
- Entrepreneurs or investors with at least $500,000 for investment
- By working in a special field of employment
- Self-petition because of an extraordinary ability, such as in the arts, sciences, business, or by being granted a National Interest Waiver
Green Card through a Job Offer
In most cases, your employer will need to fill out a petition on your behalf that can eventually give you the right to apply for a Green Card. This petition can be made while you are in your home country or while you are in the US. Your employer will first need to apply for a Labor Certification from the Department of Labor that basically says you would not be taking jobs from US citizens or adversely be affecting their wages. Your employer has most likely already done this if they routinely hire foreign nationals. Next your employer will need to file the following on your behalf:
Once USCIS confirms your employer’s I-140 petition for you is full and complete, you will have a place in line to be able to apply for a Green Card. Your place in line is known as your Priority Date, and is either the date the petition was properly filed with the USCIS or the date when the Department of Labor accepts your employer’s Labor Certification if it was required in your case.
When to Apply for a Green Card
Now that your employer’s petition form I-140 and Labor Certificate have been accepted, you should know your Priority Date. You can use this to check the Department of State’s [as of December 2017 these links aren’t working but I’m leaving them up in case they get fixed] Visa Bulletin (check date), which is a schedule of when you can apply for a Green Card through employment, and based on three things:
- The number of people ahead of you
- Your home country
- Your occupation rank
The Visa Bulletin is usually issued between the 8th and 15th of each month, and you will need to monitor this to know when you can submit an application for a Green Card. USCIS publishes monthly reports to help you estimate your wait time, showing how many applicants per job category are ahead of you. The most important thing for you to pay attention is to is the Visa Bulletin and when your Priority Date becomes listed there: this is the time you can apply for a Green Card. The following are the five occupation ranks:
- First: Priority workers whose demand is employment-based
- Second: Those with exceptional abilities or who are professionals with advanced degrees
- Third: Professionals, skilled workers, and other workers
- Fourth: Those holding certain specializations
- Fifth: Employment creators such as entrepreneurs with significant funds to invest
Once the Visa Bulletin shows your Priority Date is current you can apply for a Green Card.
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