A green card holder is someone who has been granted authorization to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis. As proof of that status, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) grants a person a permanent resident card, commonly called a "green card." You can become a permanent resident several different ways. Most individuals are sponsored by a family member or employer in the United States. Other individuals may become permanent residents through refugee or asylee status or other humanitarian programs.
People who want to become immigrants based on employment or a job offer may apply for permanent residence (when an immigrant visa number becomes available) according to the following employment based preferences:
First Preference: Priority Workers, including aliens with extraordinary abilities, outstanding professors and researchers, and certain multinational executives and managers.
Second Preference: Members of professions holding an advanced degree or persons of exceptional ability.
Third Preference: Skilled Workers, professionals and other qualified workers.
Fourth Preference: Certain special immigrants including those in religious vocations.
Fifth Preference: Employment creation immigrants (investors or entrepreneurs). 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.
Because immigration law is complex, there’s a greater chance you’ll overlook something, as opposed to green card lawyers who handle these matters for a living. Don’t risk it.
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Green card lawyers will be able to confirm you’re applying for the most viable visa. Also, legal advice can provide you with the necessary steps to prolong your stay.
What’s the criteria for being sponsored by a family member?
A U.S. citizen can sponsor a spouse or unmarried child under the age of 21 for an immediate green card. The government also issues a limited number of green cards to older or married children on a lower priority basis. Similarly, current green card holders can sponsor family members, but these green cards are issued on a low-priority basis.
Am I eligible to obtain citizenship if I already have a green card?
Yes. If a permanent resident (at least 18 years of age) lives within the country for five years then he/she will be able to obtain citizenship through naturalization. The green card holder must have been physically living within the country for at least half of those five years to be eligible and must have not left for a time period longer than six months.
What is a Permanent Labor Certification (PERM)?
A permanent labor certification issued by the Department of Labor (DOL) allows an employer to hire a foreign worker to work permanently in the United States. The DOL must certify to the USCIS that there are not sufficient U.S. workers able, willing, qualified and available to accept the job opportunity in the area of intended employment and that employment of the foreign worker will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.
How many employment-based green cards are granted each year?
A maximum of 140,000 applicants can be awarded employment based green cards per year. No country may receive more than 7% of the total green cards in this quota.
What is the processing time for employment-based green cards?
Getting an employment based green card is a complex process requiring multiple steps, not including PERM certification. Wait time varies depending on the applicant’s country of origin and employer. Overall, the entire process can take years to complete.
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