Your Green Card Through Employment

There are many ways to get a green card. One of the more popular ways to get a green card is by getting a job offer from a US employer who is willing to sponsor you in order to secure a green card for you so that you will be able to work legally in the US. To qualify, you must fall into one of four categories:

  • EB-3 Skilled or professional workers. If you are skilled in a field where you need at least two years of experience of training, a baccalaureate degree, a university bachelor’s degree, you may qualify for sponsorship and a green card via a EB-3 visa.
  • EB-4 Special Immigrants. Special skills and professionals, including religious vocations, may qualify for a green card and an EB-4 visa through employer sponsorship.
  • EB-1 Priority workers. Workers in high demand, including professionals in the arts, sciences, business, education,  research, academia, or athletics may qualify for a green card and an EB-1 visa. Well-established researchers, professors, managers, and executives may qualify for a green card in this manner.
  • EB-2 Professionals with advanced experience in arts, business, or science and professionals with advanced degrees or undergraduate degrees and extensive work experience of at least five years’ duration can apply for a green card and EB-2 visa with employer sponsorship.

Applying for a green card through employment means developing good communication with an employer, since getting a green card in this manner depends on having an employer sponsor your application. To apply for your green card, your future employer in the US must submit a completed labor certification request to the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (DOL). Unless you are applying to work as a doctor or medical professional in the US (which is an understaffed profession and therefore has relaxed application rules), the DOL will need to determine that your employment in the US will not “adversely affect” employment opportunities and conditions for qualified US workers. In many cases, the DOL will consider whether US workers are available and willing to work in the job you are applying for.

If the DOL accepts the application from your employer, your employer must then also submit Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker, to the USCIS. This will give you the right to work and live in the US.

If your employer’s USCIS application is approved, the USCIS will forward the approved application to the Department of State’s National Visa Center and will inform your employer that the application has been approved. At this point, you will be able to get an immigrant visa number when one is open. Once you have this, you will apply for and receive conditional permanent residence in order to work and live permanently in the US. You will receive this permission in the form of a green card. At this point, you will be able to live and work permanently in the US.

Even if you do not have an offer of employment from a US employer, you may still be able to apply for a green card via employment. If you are an entrepreneur or investor who is investing in the US and creating new US jobs, you may qualify for a green card. If you have special abilities which are in demand in the US workforce, you may also file for a green card yourself, without sponsorship by a US employer. This is known as “self-petition.” Finally, if you belong in specific specialized job or have held a specific job in the past, you may be able to apply for a green card using Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant. For example, if you are a broadcaster, Afghan translator, international organization employee, Iraqi translator, an Iraqi national who has assisted the US government, a Panama canal employee, a physician, a NATO-6 nonimmigrant, or a religious worker, you may qualify to get your green card in this manner. However, most immigrants who apply for a green card through employment apply with an employer sponsor.