Permanent Residents or Green Card holders are authorized to live and work permanently in the US. Most people get their green cards through employment, through marriage or through the green card lottery program. Obtaining a Green Card through work is less favored by most people as the employee needs an employer in the US to petition for them.
Green Card through employment:
There are various categories where an individual may obtain a Green card through work.
- Green Card through job offer
- Green Card through investment,
- Green Card through Self Petition, and
- Green Card through special categories of jobs
Green Card through job offer:
If an individual wishes to obtain a Green Card through work he/she needs to find a job offer in United States which is relevant to his/her educational qualification. If the individual is offered the job, then the US employer must sponsor the individual. The US employer must file a petition to sponsor the individual in the immigration process. The petition works as an authorization that the individual will be employed on entering US. This category might require a letter from the Department of Labor to prove that the individual is skilled for the job and no American is displaced by the individual.
Green Card through investment:
If the individual wishes to obtain a Green Card though investment then he/she needs to invest in an enterprise that would create new jobs in US.
Green Card through Self Petition:
Some people may petition for themselves if they fall under the category called Aliens of Extraordinary Ability where the applicant has extraordinary ability in sciences, business, athletics or education. In this case the applicant must provide documents of proof that their awards of excellence have been recognized internationally.
Green Card through special categories of jobs:
This is a category where the individual may get a green card based on his/her past or current job. In these cases if the individual is not able to adjust the status inside US to Permanent Resident, then the immigrant petition can be sent to the US Consulate abroad to complete the process.
Obtaining a Green Card through work is a multi – step process where it takes a longer time for the petition to be approved. Once the petition has been filed, the first step is obtaining the Labor Certification. Once it is approved, the individual’s US employer must file form I 140, Immigrant petition for Alien Worker. The second step is Adjustment of Status in United States or Consular processing. If the applicant is in US he/she may apply for Adjustment of Status. If the applicant is abroad, he/she may go through consular processing. If the petition for Green card through work by the US employer has been approved, USCIS will forward the approved application to the Department of State’s National Visa Center and will notify the US employer about the approval of the petition. This might take 15 to 24 months or even longer than that depending on the priority date of the applicant.