One of the most desired, and at the same time – most difficult to obtain, immigration benefits is the legal permanent resident (green card) status through employment. This route requires a U.S. employer to “sponsor” the immigrant. The three-step process includes 1) the initial labor certification; 2) immigrant visa availability; and, 3) immigrant visa adjudication (adjustment of status or consular processing). Depending on the skills and the occupation of the foreign national, this process can be relatively quick (as little as several months) or fairly long (up to several years) and is rife with technicalities and strict requirements. We advise companies wishing to sponsor a foreign national or foreign nationals to engage an experienced immigration attorney throughout this process.
- Labor Certification
A permanent labor certification (now called PERM) issued by the Department of Labor (DOL) allows an employer to hire a foreign worker to work permanently in the United States. In many instances, before the U.S. employer can submit an immigration petition to the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the employer must obtain a labor certification approval from DOL. Much like building a house, the Labor Certification is the foundation of the three step permanent residency process. If the Labor Certification is not correct and/or technically accurate, it can side track the process at the 2nd or even 3rd stages. The DOL must certify to the USCIS that there are no qualified U.S. workers able, willing, and available to accept the job at the government determined prevailing wage rate for that occupation and job location.
- Immigrant Visa Petition
While in some cases a Labor Certification (stage 1) may not be required, generally an employer will file the I-140 Immigrant Visa Petition with USCIS on behalf of the sponsored employee based upon an approved Labor Certification/ PERM with the DOL. In addition, the priority date and employment-based category may not allow concurrent filing of (stage 3) the Adjustment of Status application.
- Adjustment of Status Application/ Consular Processing
Adjustment of status is usually the final step of an immigrant petition process which allows certain individuals who are already in the United States to apply for and obtain lawful permanent resident (“green card”) status without having to travel abroad and apply at a U.S. consulate. The requirements for successful adjustment of status are fairly stringent and not every applicant would qualify for this procedure.
What we can do for you?
- Advise you on the best approach for obtaining an employment-based green card based on your circumstances and experience.
- Help you determine which employment-based green card category would be most appropriate for you.
- Work closely with you and the sponsoring employer on determining the fastest and most efficient procedure for obtaining green card.
- Prepare and file the (PERM) labor certification, if necessary and applicable to your case. We help you determine the prevailing wage, documentation of the job requirements as required by the DOL, complete the required recruitment, advise on assessing recruitment applicants, and any post-filing requirements.
- Help you complete medical examination forms, if necessary.
- Help you prepare and file the I-140 immigrant petition for alien worker.
- Help you prepare and file the I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence application, forms, and required documentation.
- Help you to adjust your status to legal permanent resident, if you are in the United States, or prepare for an immigrant visa consular interview, if you are abroad.
- Advise you on the applicable adjustment of status requirements based on your case.
- Prepare adjustment of status application for family members, employment-based, fiancé(e), or diversity visa lottery.
- Help you understand the visa availability numbers and determine best filing category.
- Help you understand and avoid ineligibility criteria.
- Help you navigate USCIS procedural requirements.
- Help you with any Requests for Evidence (RFEs) by the USCIS.