There are many ways to get a green card: employment and family are the two most common ways to get permanent residency in the US, however. An employment-based green card can be obtained when an employer acts as a green card sponsor for an applicant. In some cases, employers offer green card work – work for which one of the benefits is green card sponsorship. More typically, employers who already have a non-US worker under an L1 or H1B visa or another type of employment visa will sometimes act as a green card sponsor to ensure that the employee can live and work in the US permanently.
When it comes to getting a green card, employment-based applications can be lengthy, something requiring years before an applicant gets permanent residency. The first step is to determine whether an employee is eligible for green card status. Depending on the employment categories, the steps that need to be taken may differ. In most cases, however the green card sponsor (typically the employer) must apply for a labor certification with the Department of Labor. This proves that no US workers are being denied a job because of the applicant. If the certification is needed, it must be approved first. Once this is done, the green card sponsor must submit an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (Form I-140). In some cases, it is possible to file Form I-485 (Adjustment of Status) at the same time.
Once this is done, the applicant receives a visa number. Then a waiting process begins. The applicant must wait until the priority date becomes current. This can take months or more than a year. Once this happens, the applicant can apply for an adjustment of status if he or she is already in the US. If the applicant is not in the US at the time that the property date becomes current, then he or she must report to a consulate for processing.
There are caps on the number of green card work-related applications can be accepted each year. Each year, about 140 000 green cards are awarded based on employment. Each country can receive no more than 9800 such green cards for its citizens. As a result, competition for such visas can be significant, especially when applicants are from larger countries with many more immigrants. Consulting with an immigration attorney about other possible routes is one option. As well, some applicants simply decide to wait for their green card to arrive, even if it does take years.