Employment Based Green Card Process Overview

Now you have your H-1b, how do you get your employer to sponsor you for an employment-based green card? The visa number backlogs vary enormously based on the applicant’s nationality. It is always better to start early.

The procedure for an employer to sponsor foreign nationals for lawful permanent residence (a.k.a. green card) is composed of three phases: the PERM labor certification, the visa petition, and the application for permanent residence.

I. PERM Labor Certification

A foreign national seeking to obtain U.S. lawful permanent residence through employment must be the beneficiary of an approved application for permanent employment certification. This application requires the employer to test the labor market to determine whether there are any qualified and available U.S. workers who are immediately available to accept the offered position of intended employment. The U.S. employer is required to obtain a prevailing wage determination (PWD) from the National Prevailing Wage Center (NPWC).  After obtaining a PWD, the employer is required to take required recruitment steps.

II. The Visa Petition

If the PERM application is certified and the employer wishes to proceed to the next step, filing the employment-based immigrant petition (Form I-140) with USCIS, the beneficiary will be required to provide documentation to establish that he or she met the advertised requirements for the position on the date that the PERM application was filed. To file the immigrant visa petition, the employer must also establish that it has the ability to pay the beneficiary of the PERM application at least the prevailing wage as determined by the formal PWD requestor the offered wage, which may be higher than the prevailing wage.

III. Application for Lawful Permanent Residence

The last phase of the process allows the employee file his or her Form I-485, applications for adjustment of status (the application that grants permanent residence). At the end of this step, the employee will be granted permanent residence, and, shortly thereafter, be issued a “green card” as evidence of permanent residence. In the event of a backlog in the employment-based priority dates, the beneficiary and family members will not be able to file concurrent I-485 applications. They will need to wait until their priority date becomes current before they can file these applications.




  1. 所有基于家庭的类别将继续以与当前步伐一致的速度移动。(F2A)永久居民的配偶和子女类别应该每月平均移动三个星期。中国大陆(F4)成年美国公民的兄弟姐妹将在三月份与全球日期持平。
  2. 申请递交日的变化在财政年度开始时更加剧烈,但根据需求模式和未来需求,有时需要在下半年进行变更。这可能有助于家庭的案件,USCIS仍然允许个人使用“申请”日期提交文件,但对基于就业的案件不太有帮助,除非USCIS采用这些日期允许申请。
  3. EB-1类别的需求依然强劲,EB-1中国的强制终止行动截止日期将需要在本财政年度晚些时候实施。美国国务院希望可以越晚截止越好。在这种情况下,截止日期虽然不可能回溯到2010年,但是有可能会比去年还要早。美国国务院期望在这些类别中强制终止行动截止日期将相对较短并且EB-1中国将在10月份的2018财年数据可用时回到“当前”。也就是说,觉得自己可以申请EB-1的大家现在可以抓紧了,下半年也能就要排期了。
  4. EB-2中国有些提高到2012年11月15日。
  5. 由于EB-3全球需求全球下降,美国国务院在本财政年度将日期再次推迟到2016年10月1日。虽然这种趋势可能继续,本财年的这一类别的数字使用不会影响3月份后的前进。美国国务院没有在EB-3中国类别中推进最后行动日期,以避免倒退。
  6. EB-5 中国应继续以每次1至2周的速度提前。




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图A:最终裁定日Screen Shot 2017-01-18 at 9.09.21 AM.png


You Have Your H-1B Visa Now, How to Get EB-2 or EB-3

Most of the employment-based petitions require a Permanent Labor Certification (Labor Cert) from the Department of Labor and a permanent, full-time job offer. The operation of the permanent labor certification program is generally referred to as PERM. Once a permanent labor certification application has been approved by the DOL, the employer will need to seek the immigration authorization from USCIS.

Generally speaking, there are three steps before you become a permanent resident of the United States. First is that your employer must seek a PERM to show there is no Americans available for the job offered to you. Second is to submit the Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker, to USCIS. Last is the filing of the Form I-485, Adjustment of Status, or Consular Processing if the applicant are outside of the U.S.

How long will the entire process take? Well, before seeking the PERM, the employer needs  to advertise the job offer to potential job seekers. After that, the Department of Labor has to adjudicate the PERM, which will take four to eight months. If the PERM is successful, and the employer files the Form I-140 immediately after, it will take another six months. However, the employer can seek premium processing to speed up the process for a fee. If the I-140 passes, the applicant now awaits the visa bulletin to update his or hers priority date. EB-2 or EB-3 of China faces a relatively long wait, but not all countries are the same. Once the priority date is current, the applicant can seek to adjust status, which will take another approximately six months to adjudicate.

Employment-Based Immigration: Second Preference EB-2

An employment-based, second preference visa is available to you if you are a member of the professions holding an advanced degree or its equivalent, or a foreign national who has exceptional ability.

  • Under the Advanced Degree subcategory, you have to prove that the job you apply for require an advanced degree and you possess such a degree or its equivalent (a baccalaureate degree plus 5 years progressive work experience in the field). Typically, documentations like official academic record showing you have an advanced degree is sufficient.
  • If you are an alien with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business, you can apply for EB-2 as well. Exceptional ability documentations generally include, academic record, license to practice your profession, at least 10 years of full-time experience, recognition for your achievements, and etc.
  • Last but not least, a national interest waiver (NIW) will waive the Labor Certification process because your admission is in the interest of the United States. NIW applicants generally need to prove the combined quality of exceptional ability and your employment will greatly benefit the nation. In addition, the alien seeking a NIW can petition for him or herself.

Employment-Based Immigration: Third Preference EB-3

The EB-3 category is designed for skilled worker, professional, or other worker.

  • Within the Skilled Worker subcategory, you must show that your job requires a minimum of 2 years training or work experience.
  • The Unskilled Worker subcategory requires the applicant to demonstrate capability of performing unskilled labor.
  • If you seek to be qualified as a professional, you must be able to demonstrate that you possess a U.S. baccalaureate degree or the equivalent, and that a baccalaureate degree is the normal requirement for entry into the occupation. There is no substitution for the degree requirement.