Employment Based Green Cards
What is an employment based green card?
Green card holders are lawful permanent residents of the United States. This means that although they are not U.S. citizens, a green card holder may legally live and work in the United States permanently. There are a number of ways to obtain a U.S. green card. Employment based green cards are a good option when someone has the opportunity of permanent employment in the U.S. For more information on other means for obtaining a green card, please read more in our informational section on U.S. green cards. [LINK TO U.S. GC]
Do I need to have a job in the U.S. before applying for a green card?
Employment based green cards can be obtained for future employees who will hold a future job with the employer but may not currently hold the position. However, many employees are already employed in the U.S. under a nonimmigrant work visa, such as an H-1 visa, when they submit a green card petition. A United States employer often must sponsor the green card applicant, and the U.S. employer usually files the green card petition for the non-citizen employee.
What does USCIS require for an employment based U.S. green card?
You will need to have a permanent job position in the United States, either currently or in the immediate future. In many cases, you will need an employer to sponsor your petition for an employment based green card. Even with these basic requirements met, there are a few limitations that you may face when applying for an employment based U.S. green card. The United States also limits the numbers of employment based green cards given such that they are distributed equally across the five categories of employment based green cards. Additionally, there are limitations on the numbers of green cards given depending on the applicant’s country of origin. USCIS does not allot more than 7% of all green cards or nonimmigrant visas to any single country, so if your home country has many applicants filing in the U.S., you may be subject to a longer wait. If you would like to assess your options for obtaining a U.S. green card, feel free to contact our experienced immigration and green card attorneys. Our team of Los Angeles immigration experts can help you today! [LINK TO CONTACT JCS]
How do I apply for my employment based U.S. green card?
Generally, the employer must file a Labor Certification Application (LCA) for the beneficiary of an employment based green card petition. For more information on the LCA, please read more in our section on labor certification. [LINK TO LCA]
Next, your employer must file an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. This may also be filed concurrently with an Adjustment of Status if you are currently in the United States on a valid visa status that you need to adjust for your green card.
What happens after my application is accepted?
After your application is submitted and accepted, the U.S. Department of State will issue an immigrant visa number. However, as mentioned previously, the United States limits the number of immigrant visas that are permitted each year, so even if your application is accepted, you may not be given an immigrant visa number immediately. This number is only given when the priority date is current. You can review the availability of immigrant visa numbers, waiting times for the various categories of jobs under the numerical limitations and also check on the availability of green cards by reading the Department of State’s Visa Bulletin. [LINK TO VISA BULLETIN http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/law-and-policy/bulletin.html]
If you are already in the United States on a valid visa status, then you may apply for Adjustment of Status (AOS) if you have not filed concurrently. If you are not in the United States and you do not have a valid visa, you may apply through consular processing. Our experienced Los Angeles immigration attorneys can help you with obtaining your green card through either AOS or consular processing. If you need assistance, do not hesitate to call for your free initial consultation. [LINK TO CONTACT JCS]