How to Get an Employer-Sponsored Green Card

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 What are Permanent Visas or Green Cards?

Permanent residence cards are frequently referred to as permanent visas or green cards. They are legal documents that are issued by the federal government.

These documents indicate that an individual is permitted to permanently live and work in the United States. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is solely responsible for administering benefits that are associated with green card applications.

What are the Types of Green Card Categories?

Before applying for their green card, an individual should determine whether or not they may be eligible to receive one by reviewing the green card eligibility categories located on the USCIS website. Individuals who are considering applying or are applying for a green card can visit the USCIS website and review the categories to determine which may best fit their current situation.

It is important for an immigrant to be aware of which category they fall under for the green card application process. This will bring the immigrant one step closer to obtaining green card status as well as providing them with further information regarding:

  • How to apply;
  • The rest of the specific requirements; and
  • Whether or not their family members may apply along with them.

Examples of the categories of green cards that are listed on the USCIS website that an immigrant may fall under include:

  • Family-based green cards: An individual may be eligible to apply for a green card if they are an immediate family member of a U.S. citizen. There may also be additional requirements depending upon what subcategory the prospective green card candidate selects.
    • This applies especially to applicants for a marriage visa. Generally, a marriage visa requires adhering to special procedural rules. Individuals who may be eligible for a family-based green card include:
      • a child;
      • a spouse;
      • a parent;
      • a widow or widower;
      • a fiancé; or
      • another close relative of a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident;
  • Employment-sponsored green cards or work visas: Employers may serve as sponsors for green card applicants. Certain types of workers that employers may sponsor include:
    • an immigrant investor;
    • a physician who consents to work at a clinical practice;
    • a worker who has an advanced degree or special skills for a specific profession; or
    • an individual who possesses extraordinary abilities in:
      • science;
      • art;
      • athletics;
      • business; or
      • education;
    • An unskilled worker may also qualify for employer sponsorship if they agree to perform unskilled labor tasks that require less than two years of experience. It is important to note that the criteria for employment-based green cards is very specific and is assigned by separate preference-based subcategories; and
  • Green cards through special immigrant status or in unique circumstances: These are two separate subcategories and may establish a wide variety of reasons that an immigrant can be issued a green card. Immigrants who may qualify under these categories include:
    • Refugees;
    • Asylees;
    • Religious workers;
    • Juveniles;
    • international broadcasters;
    • Victims of crime, including human trafficking and domestic violence;
    • Individuals who:
      • satisfy the continuous residency requirements;
      • have diplomatic status;
      • qualify under the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program; and
      • several other immigration-based programs.

It is important to note that there are restrictions placed on the number of green cards that may be issued per category. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that immigrants consult with an immigration attorney prior to attempting to secure a green card.

A lawyer will be able to ensure that the immigrant selects the category that is best suited for their particular situation. When an individual is seeking an immigration lawyer to help with their case, they should ask the following questions:

  • Do you have experience handling cases like mine?;
  • How will you help me through the process, for example, handling paperwork?;
  • What are the steps in the process?;
  • How much are the process cost and the attorney’s fees?; and
  • What are the consequences or results of receiving an employment-based green card or approval to hire a non-US citizen?.

Why Would You Want a Green Card?

One of the main immigration issues in the United States is whether to allow undocumented immigrants to remain in the country. An individual who comes to the United States from another country has legal options to remain in the country.

One of those options is to obtain an employment-based green card.

What are the Employer’s Steps for Obtaining an Employment-Based Green Card?

If an individual is an employer who wants to hire a non-United States citizen is required to follow the proper steps and meet the federal requirements before hiring a non-US citizen worker. The first step is to file a labor certification with the United States Department of Labor (DOL).

The certification must state that there are no United States workers available or willing to fill the job position at the employer’s business. The employer is required to show proof of unavailability and unwillingness to the jobs by:

  • Showing that they advertised for the position;
  • Showing the skill requirements for the position;
  • Verifying the salary or wage of position; and
  • Verifying the employer’s ability to pay the salary or wage.

If the DOL approves the certification, the employer will be required to file an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, or Form I-40.

What are the Employee’s Steps for Obtaining an Employment-Based Green Card?

If an individual is not a U.S. citizen, a green card will provide them with the right to remain, live, and work in the United States. The process to obtain an employment-based green card may take many years

The basic categories for an immigrants who is seeking lawful permanent residence in the United States, include:

  • First preference, also called EB-1, is given to priority workers. This includes:
    • outstanding professors;
    • certain multinational executives; and
    • extraordinary individuals in the sciences, arts, business, or athletics;
  • Second preference, also called EB-2, includes members of professions holding advanced degrees; and
  • Third preference, also called EB-3, includes skilled workers and professionals.

In order for an individual to file their employment-based green card, they are required to fulfill all of the requirements set by federal law, which may include:

  • Filing the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485);
  • Being physically in the United States when they file Form I-485;
  • Being eligible to get an immigrant visa;
  • The job offer must still exist with the employer who files the Form I-140 on the immigrant’s behalf; and
  • The immigrant must accept the job once United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approves the Form I-485.

What Happens after I Receive a Green Card?

After an individual receives a green card, they are considered to be a lawful permanent resident of the United States. They will be required to carry the actual, physical green card with them at all times.

Additionally, after 10 years, the individual will be required to renew their green card by submitting a Form I-90 to the USCIS. If an individual has only been granted a 2-year conditional green card, they will not be permitted to renew it.

Instead, the individual will be required to file a petition to change their conditional status during the 90 days before their 2-year card expires. If the individual does not do this, they will not be considered a resident of the United States.

Do I Need an Immigration Lawyer?

Obtaining an employment-based green card or filing to hire a non-United States citizen for your business may be time-consuming and complicated. The green card process may have serious and life-changing consequences and results.

Having the assistance of an immigration lawyer can help you ensure that your application is processed correctly and efficiently. Your lawyer will help you complete your paperwork and be there for each step of the process to answer any questions.

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