What is the timeline of employment-based green card and cost?

This is the instructions we sent to employers and employees who are interested in starting the I-140 process. It includes the quote, processing time and the basic information we need in order to start the PERM and I-140 process.

Thank you for contacting our office regarding an employment based petition. The cost structure is summarized here. Attorney's fee is a total of $8000, with available installment payment option. The deposit will be $2000, and $2000 is due when the prevailing wage determination is issued by Department of Labor, and $2000 is due when the PERM is filed, and final $2000 due when PERM is certified. The filing fee is $700 for the immigrant visa petition (Form I-140), which is due after the PERM is certified. The filing fee for the green card (Form I-485) is $1225, which includes the Employment Authorization Document (work permit) and Advance Parole (travel permit). Each dependent applicant (spouse, child) pays $1225 in filing fee for the green card. Our fee includes all documents related to the green card application. We will draft the prevailing wage request, recruitment advertisement, PERM, Form I-140 and I-485 as well as unlimited consultation time related to the application.

Below is a summary of the steps that will take place for a complete green card application based on employment sponsorship and their approximate timeline and employer responsibilities.

Step One - Prevailing Wage Request - 90 to 120 days

Employer responsibility: none

The first step is to gather the basic requirements for the job position for the green card application and submit it to Department of Labor in an application called "Prevailing Wage Request" ("PWR"). DOL will return the application with a Prevailing Wage Determination ("PWD") that will specify the prevailing wage for the position. Employer will then attest that the applicant employee will be paid the prevailing wage before moving onto the next step. It is important to note that it takes our office 2 to 3 weeks to draft the PWR and file it with DOL.

Step Two - Recruitment - 65 to 80 days

Employer responsibility: pay for recruitment advertisement and possibly interview candidates who cannot be eliminated based on resume and experience filter. (Approximately one our of time required from designated personnel)

First, a little background for your own understanding: the reason that the employer must conduct recruitment for these types of cases (often referred to as "PERMs") is to be able to show the U.S. Department of Labor ("DOL") that there are no qualified U.S. workers for the PERM position --- except for the Beneficiary [ie, YOU]. There are mandatory steps and additional "optional" steps that the employer must complete which, collectively, will show that they made a good faith effort to find a qualified U.S. worker and was not able to.

The recruitment phase is essentially a "test of the labor market". From a strategic stand point, we do our best to structure the position description and requirements in a way that there will not be any qualified U.S. workers, besides the beneficiary (YOU). And, we will also guide you/your employer through the recruitment phase to ensure that all of the requirements are met while at the same time, ensuring all of the advertisements actually receive the least amount of exposure and produce a minimal amount of applicants (to further ensure YOU are the only qualified U.S. worker).

Step Three - PERM (Labor Certificate) Application - 180 days

Employer responsibility: review and sign PERM application

After recruitment, the efforts will be summarized and submitted to DOL for the PERM process. The PERM process requests DOL to certify the position as one that requires the fulfillment of foreign workers because recruitment did not turn out a suitable candidate.

Step Four - Immigrant visa petition (I-140) application - 15 days to 210 days

Employer responsibility: review and sign the immigrant visa petition

After the PERM is certified by DOL, we will help the employer submit an immigrant visa petition to USCIS, the adjudicating agency under Department of Homeland Security, and this petition signifies the employer's desire to sponsor the foreign worker for permanent resident status. The filing fee of $700 will be paid and option fee of $1405 for premium processing, which requires USCIS to adjudicate the petition within 15 days.

Please note that if the employee applicant is already working at the employer's company, the employer must start paying the employer the prevailing wage starting 6 to 8 months after the immigrant visa petition is submitted to USCIS.


1. Business name as it appears exactly on the Federal Employer Identification Number assignment letter. (This is the official name of the company), and all DBA under the same FEIN umbrella.

2. Business address (please provide all locations if there are multiple locations)

3. Date Business is established

4. Current number of full time employees and part time employees

5. Type of business

6. Gross annual business receipt (estimate is fine. Please provide the most recent tax year and current year)

7. Net annual business income (estimate is fine. Please provide the most recent tax year and current year)

8. Current wage offer to the applicant, or budget for applicant's wage, if the applicant is not currently working with you.

9. Job title for the applicant, and whether the job title can be flexible

10. Expected job duties of the applicant after green card approval.