The H-1B visa is the most prevalent in the United States because of its multiple incentives, including the ability to apply for a green card. The word “dual purpose,” which refers to some temporary visa classes with the possibility of applying for a green card, is one of the most commonly used expressions in relation to the H-1B visa. These possibilities aren’t available with all temporary/nonimmigrant visas.
Individuals with H-1B or L-1 visas are typically able to apply for a green card, which gives them the right to live in the United States permanently. The technique is called a status adjustment. Multiple procedures and a specialized application process are required to get an employment-based green card.
As a foreign worker employed on a temporary visa such as the H-1B, you may be considering your alternatives as your visa expires. While on H-1B status, going through the employment-based green card procedure offers several advantages, especially if you have an approved I-140.
Employment-Based Green Cards
Choosing the correct time to ask your company to sponsor you for a green card is crucial. However, in many circumstances, waiting too long or delaying the procedure will result in extra and unwelcome delays.
Employers, on the other hand, maybe hesitant to make this request because foreign workers frequently abandon their jobs after gaining green card approval. The EB-2 and EB-3 visas are popular green card possibilities.
EB-2 Green Card
EB-2 is the Second Preference employment-based green card for individuals having exceptional ability in business, science, or arts with an advanced degree.
A job offer is required for the EB-2 immigrant visa green card procedure, and the applicant’s U.S. employer should file a petition on their behalf. You must also have a DOL-approved labor certification, a Schedule A classification, or verify that you qualify for one of the Labor Market Information Pilot Program’s shortage occupations.
If the exemption is in the national interest of the United States, aliens may request an exemption from the job offer. This is common among entrepreneurs and small business owners who have been unable to secure a job offer.
In some situations, the immigrant may file an I-140 petition coupled with a National Interest Waiver as proof that the business would help the United States’ economy or culture. An EB-2 visa lawyer can help you figure out which alternative is most likely to have your application approved.
EB-3 Green Card
EB-3 is the Third Preference Immigrant visa category. Skilled employees, professionals with bachelor’s degrees, and persons classified as other workers fall into the third employment preference group. Manual and unskilled laborers who do not do temporary or seasonal activities are included in this category.
Skilled workers need an experience of two years in their profession. Unskilled workers may be able to get by with job training and their ability to do unskilled jobs. It’s worth noting that the subcategory “unskilled workers” has a distinct set of priority dates than the other EB-3 subcategories.
H-1B to Green Card Process
The process of transitioning from H1b to green card to gain permanent resident status involves the following steps:
Step 1: Look for a competent U.S. Employer
You must first identify an employer ready to sponsor your green card application by providing you with a job that qualifies under the category of employment-based green card. Most employment-based green card categories in the United States need employer sponsorship. This might be your existing H-1B employment or another company. Before an employer may sponsor an employee’s green card application, some prerequisites must be satisfied.
You may need to switch jobs if your present company does not match these conditions before you can begin your application procedure. Furthermore, not all H-1B employment positions are eligible for green card modification.
Step 2: Filing for PERM labor certification
Your employer needs to submit an application for PERM (program electronic review management) Labor Certification. To obtain a PERM certification, your employer must first determine the prevailing pay for your job and then set your remuneration accordingly.
The prevailing wage determination step is followed by the recruitment process. It is also required for the employer to go through a hiring procedure to demonstrate that there are no competent U.S. candidates for the job. After that, an ETA 9809 form must be completed.
There are three essential criteria for the recruiting process: two Sunday newspaper job posts, an advertisement with the state workforce agency, and three extra advertisements.
Step 3: Form I-140 Petition
As soon as the PERM labor certification is approved, immigrant petition Form-I-140 is filed for Alien Worker by the employer. In Form-I-140, the sponsoring employer must establish his financial stability in order to demonstrate his capacity to pay the compensation for the employment post. The document must be filed together with a filing fee and a PERM labor certification that has been authorized.
USCIS will give you an Approval Notice if your petition is approved. This means you’re ready to go on to the next step in the green card application process. Keep in mind that just because your I-140 was accepted doesn’t mean your status has changed from nonimmigrant to immigrant.
Step 4: Waiting Period for the Priority date to change to current
After submitting the Petition, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will assign your case a priority date; wait till it changes to its current status; only then do you qualify for the next step.
Step 5: Form-I-485
The next step is to apply for an adjustment of status with USCIS using Form I-485. An employment Authorization Document (EAD) can also be applied by the employer during this step.
This is the last stage. You will obtain a stamp in your passport indicating your transition of status from H1B to the green card holder after I-485 is granted. Your real green card will arrive in the mail a few days later, granting you permanent residency.
Expiration Time for HB-I Status
By checking the date on your I-94 Arrival/Departure Record, you may find out when your H-1B status expires. An I-94 form is given by the port entry officer that performs your inspection upon arrival to the United States.
If you have transitioned your status after your arrival in the U.S., then your HB-I expiration date will be listed on the documents approved by USCIS. Individuals can look for an electronic copy of their I-94 in the Customs and Border Protection database.
A 10-day grace period is available after your H-1B visa has expired to make plans to return to your home country or to seek a means to extend your status beyond the typical limit.
Restoring HB-I Status after Expiration
A number of options are available for regaining HB-I status after its expiration. According to the immigration law, USCIS may give you the laxity of extending your status if any of the following requirements are met:
- Due to unforeseen circumstances beyond the applicant’s or petitioner’s control, the extension was filed late.
- The alien has not breached their nonimmigrant status, is a genuine nonimmigrant, and is not facing deportation or removal procedures.
Processing Time for HB-I to Green Card Transition
The amount of time it takes to transition from an H1-B visa to a green card is variable. It’s crucial to conduct your homework ahead of time to have a feel of how long it’ll take and avoid running into your existing visa’s expiration date. Given below is a breakdown of how long each phase of the green card procedure takes:
- The PERM certification process might take anything from six to eighteen months.
- The length of time it takes for your I-140 to be authorized is determined by how quickly your priority date becomes current. USCIS may delay your petition if it doesn’t happen for several years.
- The time it takes for your priority date to become current varies greatly depending on your nation of origin, ranging from nearly no time to up to nine years.
- The time it takes for the I-485 to be processed varies depending on whose server it is sent to.
How much does it cost to transition from HB-I to Green Cards?
Moving from an H1-B visa to a green card comes with a cost, as it does with practically all visa and immigration-related applications. These costs are paid by the employer of an H1B visa holder, but the visa holder himself also has to pay for certain steps. The fees associated with transitioning from an H1-B visa to a green card are shown below.
It takes around $2000-$5000 to file for the PERM labor certification process. This fee is paid by the sponsoring employer.
#Application Process Fees
Form-I-148 and I-140 require $1070 and $585, respectively. These fees are paid by the employee himself.
Overall the entire process can take up to $10,000
Effects of delaying the Process
Some people put off applying for a green card until their H1-B visa has expired or is about to expire. This is a miscalculation. The issue is with form I-485, which requests that you “change your status” from H1B to permanent residence. However, if your H1B has already expired, you aren’t actually modifying your status because you no longer have the status you’re requesting! As a result, USCIS will almost always reject your application.
Multiple phases in the H1B to green card procedure must be done correctly and in the correct order. It is preferable to begin your application as soon as possible.
Why Choose Herman Legal Group?
Without the assistance of a green card lawyer, changing your status from H-1B to a green card might be difficult. Herman Legal Group’s H-1B visa lawyers can help you figure out the best course of action for your situation.
Herman Legal Group is an immigration law firm established in the United States that strives to make all parts of the immigration procedure as simple as possible for you. Attorneys at Herman Legal Group have experience of 26 years of aiding businesses and foreign-born employees in working and living in the U.S.