• February 2020
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H1B Visa to Green Card Process : Everything You Need to Know

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There are numerous benefits associated with H1B visa status. Obtaining an H1B visa allows a foreign national to live and work within the United States for up to six years. In order to qualify for this visa, a foreign national must work within a specialty occupation, possess highly specialized knowledge and a certain level of education, and be sponsored by a qualifying employer.

Should the visa holder be terminated, laid off or voluntarily leave the employment of the sponsoring employer, that individual must find another sponsor, apply for and be granted a change in immigration status or leave the United States within a specific period of time.

If the visa holder does not leave the employment of the sponsoring employer within the time period allowable by the terms of his or her visa, one of two things must occur as the six-year visa duration period (achieved through two consecutive three-year periods: one original duration and another achieved by filing for an extension near the end of the original three-year period) is set to expire.
1. the visa holder may return to his or her home country or travel abroad generally for a minimum of one uninterrupted year and then reapply for H1B visa permissions.
2. the visa holder may apply for a change in immigration status. There are numerous options available, depending on the home country of the affected visa holder. But the most popular and obvious choice is to apply for permanent residency via requesting a green card.


Seventh Year Extension

Eligible visa holders who have either had an employment-based preference immigration petition or a Labor Certification Application pending in excess of 365 may qualify for an H1B extension in one-year increments until a final decision is rendered in regards to their pending permanent residency application. Please note that this option is only available for employment-based petitions, not family-based green card petitions.

If you are interested in obtaining a seventh year extension instead of traveling abroad for a year and reapplying for H1B status or taking advantage of another immigration opportunity that may be available to workers from your nation of origin, please consult with your attorney as soon as possible.

You must apply for this extension in a specific way and at a certain time. Failure to meet deadlines and other requirements may delay or compromise your ability to obtain a green card.


Obtaining a Green Card

In order to transition a worker’s immigration status from H1B visa to green card, a sponsoring employer must take a series of steps. First, a PERM labor certification must be filed, even before a company may file a sponsored green card petition. The PERM labor certification process involves paperwork, a series of recruitment activities designed to determine whether any American workers are available, capable and willing to fill the post and paying fees associated with the certification.

After this process is complete, two highly detailed and time-intensive rounds of paperwork must be completed in association with H1B sponsorship. An experienced immigration attorney can help to ensure that these steps are completed as accurately, efficiently and as effectively as possible.


Immigration Assistance Is Available

If you are an H1B visa holder or a prospective sponsoring employer, please consider reaching out to the team at LawTrades. Our team of immigration attorneys has extensive experience aiding both workers and sponsoring employers while they navigate the labor-based immigration process. Our approach is affordable, efficient and effective for both individuals and businesses with labor-based immigration needs.