A recent LawTrades user asked: I Am Currently Working Under an H-1B Visa and Would Like to Get a Green Card Through My Employer. What Is the Process?
We work with many employers and H-1B employees going through the green process – specifically from H-1B status to permanent residency. It can be tricky and expensive.
As long as you hold a valid H-1B, then you’re eligible to adjust your status.
There are three stages: (1) Obtain PERM Labor Certification; (2) File an I-140 Immigration Petition; and (3) File an I-485 (Adjustment of Status – Green Card Application).
Here’s what happens at each stage:
1. File PERM Labor Certification (This part on average takes anywhere from 1 to 1 ½ years to complete):
- Your company needs to engage an immigration attorney to start the process.Your job description needs to be drafted.
- A Prevailing Wage determination request needs to be submitted to the US Department of Labor (DOL).
- The position needs to be advertised and active recruiting needs to be activated.Assuming no US workers qualify for the position, a PERM Labor Certification application is filed with the DOL.
- The DOL processes and issues the Labor Certification.
2. File I-140 Immigration Application:
- After receiving the LCA, the I-140 is ready to be filed.
- Your credentials are verified for the job and you’re paid the specified wages.
- If your I-485 is approved, your H-1B can be extended for an additional 3 years (over the 6 year normal maximum period).
3. File I-485 Adjustment of Status:
- After your I-140 application is approved, you can file the I-485 for an Adjust of Status.
- The number of visas available depend on your priority date (the date the PERM/LCA was filed), your country of birth, and the classification of your employment.
You can access a wealth of additional information at the USCIS site.
Two important points: (1) It normally takes several years to process – from beginning to end; and (2) there’s more than just a process – following rules and filing forms and documents – involved.
When you’re seeking a Green Card, there are important legal strategies that a knowledgeable immigration attorney can help you with. Important considerations about how and when to file certain items can affect the length of processing and even ultimate approval.
Have more questions? Feel free to visit LawTrades