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What Is An Employment-Based Green Card, And Who Is Eligible?

What Is An Employment-Based Green Card, And Who Is Eligible?

While foreign nationals can obtain an Employment-Based Green Card when they receive a job offer from a United States-based employer, obtaining this Green Card is not an easy task. It often includes several steps and complicated applications.

Fortunately, when employers work with an experienced immigration attorney with the knowledge and skills to handle these specific types of Green Cards, they do not have to tackle this process independently. Instead, these attorneys can work with them side-by-side and ensure everything is completed correctly and according to the regulations.

What Is an Employment-Based Green Card?

When an employer sponsors an employee to receive their Green Card, it is usually a multi-step process involving the employer submitting specific documents based on federal rules and regulations.

These Employment-Based Green Cards are split up into the following categories: EB-1, EB-2, EB-3, EB-4, and EB-5, with most of the technical workers falling under the EB-3 category.

What Are the Requirements for an Employment-Based Green Card, and Who Is Eligible?

Depending on which Employment-Based Green Card an employee applies for, certain requirements must first be met before these applications are approved. For the three most common types of Employment-Based Green Cards, the following qualifications are required:

  • EB-1 (People of Extraordinary Ability): The employee needs to have extraordinary abilities in the arts, sciences, education, business, and athletics. In addition, researchers, professors, and Ph.D. holders may also fall under this category, as well as managers and executives.
  • EB-2 (Advanced Degree Holders): An employee may be eligible for this classification if they are a member of a profession holding an advanced degree or its equivalent or a person who has an exceptional ability.
  • EB-3 (Skilled Workers, Professionals, or Other Unskilled Workers): This category includes professionals with a Bachelor’s or Graduate degree and other skilled workers.

To better understand what classification an employee may qualify for, it may be a good idea to speak with an experienced immigration attorney. These lawyers can walk you through everything you know about each category and review your questions and concerns.

What Is the Process of Getting an Employment-Based Green Card?

To obtain an Employment-Based Green Card, the process involves four separate parts, including:

  1. The Labor Certification: The Labor Certification application will need to be submitted by the employer to the Department of Labor (DOL).
  2. File the I-140: Once the Labor Certification is approved, the employer will file an application I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. This application enables USCIS to verify that the employee meets the requirements of the job indicated on the Labor Certification and ensure that the sponsoring employer can pay the employee’s offered wages.
  3. Adjustment of Status OR Consular Processing: Depending on whether the employee is in the United States or outside the country, they will next have to file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, or go through consular processing, which is the application process when the employee is outside of the United States.
  4. Once the forms are approved, the employee will need to get stamped and receive their card.

How Can a Lawyer Help?

Due to the complexity of the employment-based immigration application process, it is often in the employer’s best interest to work with an experienced immigration attorney. These lawyers can help employers not only understand the process of obtaining these Green Cards but also help them fill out these applications and provide them the support they need from start to finish.

Frequently Asked Questions

Employers and foreign nationals often have numerous questions about Employment-Based Green Cards. That is why in the below FAQs, we will go over some of the main concerns in hopes of clarifying some of the issues surrounding this topic.

1. How Long Does It Take to Get a Green Card?

The processing time of these Green Cards will often depend on several factors, including the Green Card an individual is applying for, the location of the processing office, and other factors. However, for an employment-based card, this process can take anywhere from one to six years, depending on the demand.

2. How Does the Government Process These Green Card Applications?

The United States government makes 140,000 Green Cards available each year for immigrants in the five employment-based categories. However, the waiting time for processing will differ depending on the demand for that visa. In addition, the visa applications are processed on a first-come, first-serve basis.

3. Does an Employer Have to Sponsor an Individual to Receive this Type of Green Card?

Individuals who qualify for a national interest waiver or extraordinary ability may file a self-sponsored petition. However, in these instances, it may be best to speak with a knowledgeable immigration attorney to determine if this route is possible.