International relocation can be pretty difficult, and the process of getting a green card can also be a tough job. So, in this guide, you will learn various steps required for successfully applying for a green card.
Here you will get to know multiple categories involved in the employment-based green card path and get to know which category suits you.
The First Steps for Getting an Immigrant Visa: Labor Certification and Filing a Petition
For obtaining an immigrant visa under employment-based categories, the applicant’s employer or agent must get labor certification approval from the Department of labor.
After receiving the employer files an immigrant petition for an alien worker with the U.S. citizenship and immigration services (USCIS) for the required and appropriate employment-based category.
What Are The Various Categories of EB green cards?
A point worth noting is that your employer can only start the employment-based green card process.
There are many ways to acquire a green card, but here we will discuss the categories of employment-based green cards and the process involved in getting one.
The literal meaning of EB is employment-based, and the number following it means your preference of each category:
- EB-1 is known as the first preference employment-based green card.
- EB-2 is known as the second preference employment-based green card.
- EB-3 is known as the third preference employment-based green card.
Employment-Based Immigration: First Preference EB-1
You can apply for an EB-1 visa if you have an extraordinary ability, are an outstanding professor or researcher, or show some evidence of international recognition. One example of international recognition can be a noble peace award, or the second example can be an executive or manager of a foreign company.
What Is The Eligibility criteria for EB-1 green card?
Each category of the EB-1 visa green card has specific requirements that should be met, and those categories with requirements are:
You have to demonstrate extraordinary ability in the arts, science, education, athletics, or business through internationally recognized prizes or sustained international or national acclaim.
Evidence is also required to prove that you will keep working in your area of expertise. There is no need for an employment offer or labor certification for an EB-1 visa.
How to Demonstrate Extraordinary Ability?
- You have to provide evidence of receiving internationally or lesser nationally recognized awards or prizes for exceptional ability.
- Evidence of membership is also required in those companies which require outstanding achievements from their members.
- Evidence or proof of material published about you in a major trade publication or professional trade publication, or on other media.
- Provide evidence or proof that you have been asked or requested to judge or review the other’s work individually or in a panel.
- Provide evidence or proof regarding your scholarly, athletic, business-related, scientific, or any other contribution in your area of expertise.
- Evidence or proof is required that you are an author of scholarly articles that are published on media.
- Evidence or proof is required that your work is displayed or presented at exhibitions.
- Evidence is also required to prove your commercial success in art performance.
- It is also required to prove that you command a higher salary than others.
- Provide evidence or proof regarding your leading or critical role performance in a professional organization.
Either you have to meet any three of the ten criteria or provide evidence of one-time achievement, or you have to provide comparable evidence.
How can a person prove that he is an extraordinary researcher or professor?
There are six examples and criteria that can be used to prove that you are an outstanding researcher and professor. You have to meet any two of these six criteria, and these criteria are:
- For proving outstanding achievement, you have to provide evidence of obtaining or getting major awards and prizes.
- Evidence or proof to prove that you have been a member of associations or organizations that demand their members come up with outstanding achievements.
- Provide evidence about the publications written by others about the noncitizen’s work in the academic field.
- Evidence or proof of your involvement in judging the work of others individually or in a panel.
- Provide proof of your scientific or research contribution.
- Provide evidence that you are an author of books or scholarly articles.
What is the Application Process for an EB-1 visa?
- Extraordinary ability: You can apply yourself by filing form I-140 as a petition of an alien worker.
- Outstanding professor or researcher: Your U.S employer has to file Form I-140 petition of the alien worker as a part of the application process. Your employer must prove that he will pay your wage as the priority date. Your employer can use an annual report, federal income tax return, an audited financial statement to prove his continuity ability to pay your wages.
- Multinational Manager or Executive: Your employer has to file a USCIS form I-140 of the alien work as a part of the application process and must prove that he can pay your wages as of priority date.
Family of EB-1 Visa Holders
After the approval of your Form I-140, your spouse or unmarried children under the age of 21 years can apply for admission in the U.S in E-14 or E-15 visa categories, respectively, to get an immigrant visa or status.
EB-2 Visa for those having Advanced Degrees
EB-2 visa category is for those applicants who possess exceptional ability or expertise in the arts, sciences, or business, advanced degrees or foreign equivalent degrees, or those who can apply for national interest waiver.
EB-2 Visa for persons with Exceptional abilities:
It means you must prove that you possess exceptional ability or expertise in the sciences, business, or arts, which will benefit the U.S. economic, educational, and cultural interests in the future. It means you have a degree of expertise in arts, sciences, or business above ordinarily encountered in arts, sciences, or business.
EB-2 Visa for Advanced degree holders:
For a better understanding, advanced degrees are thought to be U.S. Master’s degree or foreign degree or U.S. baccalaureate degree with five years experience in the relevant field.
What is a National interest waiver, and who can get benefit from it?
National interest waiver (NIW) is a request that the PERM labor certification process stage 1 of the green card process be waived because it is in the interest of the U.S. There are no specified requirements for NIW. They are typically awarded to those with exceptional abilities.
How to apply for adjustment of status?
According to the State Department Visa Bulletin, after the approval of your petition, you can apply for lawful permanent resident status if there is any visa available.
If you are inside the U.S, then you have to file Form I-485, or if you are outside the U.S., you have to apply through the U.S consulate; it is called consular processing.
The adjustment of the status application can be filed simultaneously with the I-140 petition, or you can also apply when the priority date becomes current.
Foreign nationals overseas have to process their immigrant visa at the U.S. consulate. Processing time for adjustment of status can vary up to six months (subject to change).
If the applicant wants to travel while the application of adjustment of status is pending, the foreign national has the right to get an employment authorization document.
EB-3 Visa for Professionals, Skilled workers, or other workers
While applying for a third preference employment visa, you must have an approved immigrant petition filed by your employer.
All workers from the EB-3 category generally require approved labor certification approved by the Department of labor.
Three other subcategories in this category are given below:
- Skilled workers
- Unskilled workers or other workers
Skilled worker: These applicants apply for those jobs that require 2years of work experience or training, and these jobs are not temporary or seasonal nature.
Professionals: These are the members of those professions that require a baccalaureate degree from a university of the U.S. or its foreign equivalent.
Unskilled workers: These applicants apply for those jobs that require less than two years of work experience or training.
Various Processing Steps for the Employment-Based Green Cards
Three basic stages are required for getting your employment-based green card status, and these steps are given below:
Stage 1: PERM certification:
PERM certification is a process in which your sponsoring employer proves that you, as a foreign national, are not taking away the jobs of U.S. workers.
The three steps involved in PERM application are:
- Prevailing wage request: Your sponsoring employer will file a prevailing wage request for determining your wage or salary depending on the current economic conditions and your job location.
- Recruitment: Your sponsoring employer will undergo an extensive recruitment process in this step. Your employer will advertise the job position and interview the U.S. job applicants.
- Form ETA-9089: Your sponsoring employer has to complete and file a Form ETA-9089. When the application is submitted, your employer will receive a decision within six months.
Your employer will receive a questionnaire from the Department of labor, which must be completed within one week. If it is not complete, the Department of labor will attempt a call, and they will attempt three calls.
A complete PERM Processing Time Breakdown
If all things go well and your employer completes the PERM application or related tasks timely, then the time in perm processing time will be:
- Recruitment periods: 60-days
- Prevailing wage request: Two weeks
- Application: 6-months
If any scenario does not extend the processing time, then PERM processing time can be completed within 9-months or a little more than that.
Factors involved in Green card processing times
Employment-based green card processing times depend on two factors: the steps involved in the process and the service center. However, a brief breakdown is given below:
Processing time of I-140
I-140 petition is the requirement of all green cards and the processing time it takes is around six months. But it largely depends on the service center, and mostly the service centers give an estimate of 6 months. Texas service center and Nebraska service center mostly give the same estimate of I-140 processing time.
USCIS also offers premium processing for I-140, and it takes down the time to 15 calendar days. The premium processing fee is $1,225.
EB-1 green card processing times
EB1-A green card processing times are expedited because they don’t have to undergo the perm labor certification process. EB1-A is for foreign nationals with exceptional science, arts, and business abilities.
EB1-B is for those who have received international recognition in their specific academic area, and they also do not have to go through the perm labor certification application process.
The processing time for EB1-B also depends on your service center and I-140 petition. You can pay a premium processing fee for your I-140 petition to be processed within 15 days.
After waiting for your priority date, you have to file an I-485 petition which can take more than six months.
EB1-C is a green card for skilled and proficient executives and managers. You can get the EB1-C visa by applying for an adjustment of status if you are in the U.S. or if you are outside the U.S.
EB-2 green card processing time
EB-2 green card process takes eight months to 2 years of processing time. For an EB-2 visa, you have to go through the PERM labor certification application, and you also have to file Form I-140.
The actual green card application is filed after the USCIS approves your I-140 petition.
The I-140 petition can be made via regular or premium processing. You can take down this time to 6 months and 15 calendar days by paying a premium processing fee for form I-140.
EB-3 green card processing time
Every step involved in the EB-3 green card process and the time it takes to process is briefly discussed below:
PERM certification: In this step, you have to wait for six months usually, but if your employer is being audited, then it can take up to 18 months.
I-140: It also takes six months if applied via regular, but you can take it down to 15 calendar days.
Waiting for your priority date: It can also take a few months, and it depends on the country where you live.
Form I-485: It depends on your service center, and it can also take six months or a bit longer.
There are many ways of getting permanent resident status in the U.S., but you have to follow the appropriate path by consulting an immigration attorney.
The three green card categories are discussed briefly in this guide. Choose your preference and consult with your attorney to get successful resident status in the U.S.
Why contact Herman Legal Group?
The immigration process can be tricky, and understanding the immigration laws can make this process easy.
You may face difficulties in the immigration process, and you may want to give up, but before giving up, give a chance to an expert and experienced immigration attorney that can handle your case well.
Herman Legal Group Law Firm has 15 years of experience providing immigration services to its clients. We assist our clients in online PERM application and drafting and submitting the I-140 petition. Visa processing documentation and adjustment of status services are also provided by Herman Legal Group Law firm.
Our attorneys are skilled and expert in handling complex and tricky situations during the green card process.
Book your consultation by calling Herman Legal Group 1-216-696-6170, or you can also book your consultation online.
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