Permanent Work Visas

Permanent Visas (Employment-Based Green Card)

Foreign nationals who seek to work and reside in the U.S. may obtain a "green card" based on an offer for permanent employment from the U.S. employer.

Employer-sponsored "green card" is the one of the methods of immigration. With a "green card", one has the choice of living anywhere in the U.S. and working for any employer. In addition, as a permanent resident, one may also sponsor his /her relatives for permanent resident status. Once an individual is a permanent resident for a period of five years, he or she may apply to become a U.S. citizen by filing a naturalization application with the United States Immigration and Naturalization Services (USCIS).

In most cases, labor certification/PERM is a prerequisite for filing the permanent resident petition. The overall process is a multi-step process as briefly summarized below:
  1. Labor certification/PERM - The employer must conduct recruitment to establish there are no U.S. workers available for the offered position and then files for labor certification with the U.S. Department of Labor. Note: The labor certification step is not required for certain priority workers.
  2. Petition for Immigration - Upon approval of the labor certification, the employer may file an immigrant petition with USCIS.
  3. Adjustment of Status/Consulate Processing - If the applicant is in the United States, he or she is eligible to apply for adjustment of status when a priority date becomes available. It is during this phase that the applicant may apply for work authorization and advance parole for the applicant and his or her family members. If the applicant is outside U.S., he/she completes the visa application process (consulate processing) at the local U.S. Consulate office. If the applicant is applying for consulate processing, the applicant is issued a lawful permanent resident status and the applicant will obtain the green card after arriving to the United States.

Based on professional skills, there are five employment-based preference categories (EB-1, EB-2, EB-3, EB-4, EB-5) under which a foreign worker may work and achieve lawful permanent resident status through a U.S. sponsor.

EB-1 Visa - Priority workers (First Preference)

This category includes outstanding professors, researchers, certain multinational executives or managers, and persons with extraordinary abilities in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics.

EB-2 Visa - Advanced degrees or exceptional abilities (Second Preference)

Persons with advanced degrees as well as those with exceptional abilities in the sciences, arts, or business field who can show that their skills will substantially benefit the national economy, culture, educational interests or welfare of the United States (National Interest Waiver).

EB-3 Visa - Professionals, skilled workers, and other workers (Third Preference)

Professionals with a baccalaureate degree and at least two years of experience or training, as well as unskilled workers with less than 2 years of experience or training, who can perform labor for which qualified workers are not available in the United States.

EB-4 Visa - Workers in religious occupation/vocation (Fourth Preference)

This category includes members of a religious denomination who will be working for a religious organization in the U.S.

EB-5 Visa - Employment creation (Fifth Preference)

The EB-5 category is for individuals engaging in a new commercial enterprise via investment.