Some categories of employment-based immigrant visas require a certification from the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) to show that there are not enough U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available in the geographic area where the immigrant is to be employed and that no United States citizen or Permanent Resident workers are displaced by foreign workers.
In other categories, highly skilled workers, those with extraordinary ability in certain professions, and investors/entrepreneurs are given priority to immigrate. In all cases, the process involves several steps.
For employment-based immigrant visa cases, the sponsor may be a United States Citizen, a Permanent Resident individual, an organization/company, or in some cases, self-sponsored. The main ways to immigrate based on a job offer or employment are listed below:
- Labor Certification: This is based on an offer of permanent employment in the United States. Most categories require an employer to get a labor certification and then file a Form I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker.
- Investment: Green cards may be available to investors/entrepreneurs who are making an investment in an enterprise that creates new U.S. jobs.
- Self Petition: Some immigrant categories allow you to file for yourself (“self-petition”). This option is available for either “Aliens of Extraordinary Ability” or certain individuals granted a National Interest Waiver.
- Special Categories of Jobs: There are a number of specialized jobs that may allow you to get a green card based on a past or current job. All of these require a Form I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, such as:
- Afghan/Iraqi Translator
- International Organization Employee
- Iraqi Who Assisted the U.S. Government
- NATO-6 Nonimmigrant
- Panama Canal Employee
- Physician National Interest Waiver
- Religious Worker
Depending upon the category, you may be able to file the immigrant petition concurrently with the adjustment application.
If you are not eligible to adjust your status inside the United States to a permanent resident, the immigrant petition will be sent to the U.S. consulate abroad to complete the visa process. In order to apply for a green card, there must be a visa immediately available to you.