Green Card Through Employment

Some foreign nationals may be eligible to obtain a green card through employment. If a U.S. employer has a permanent job opportunity available for you and is willing to sponsor you for permanent residency, then you may be able to immigrate to the U.S. based on employment.

Also remember that the green card job is for future permanent employment, that is, the job that the foreign national will do after acquiring the green card. Thus, the employer can sponsor a foreign nationals green card even if he or she is currently not working for the sponsoring employer. Typically, however, the foreign national is already working for the employer under a nonimmigrant category such as an H-1B when the green card is filed.

There are four major categories of securing green card through employment.

  1. Employment First Preference (EB1) — Priority Workers
  2. Employment Second Preference (EB2) — Professionals with Advanced Degrees or Persons With Exceptional Ability
  3. Employment Third Preference (EB3) — Skilled or Professional Workers
  4. Employment Fourth Preference (EB4) — Special Immigrants

General Requirements.

  • The U.S. employer must provide fill-time, permanent employment;
  • The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) must certify that there are no sufficiently qualified American workers available in the area of intended employment (except for categories in which no labor certification is required);
  • The foreign national must meet the minimum stated educational and work experience requirements for the job;
  • The employer must be able to demonstrate ‘Ability to Pay’ foreign nationals wages.

General Overview of Major Steps.

  1. ETA 9141, Prevailing Wage Determination.The purpose of obtaining the prevailing wage determination is to ensure that the employer is paying the foreign national salary or wages that are normal to the job market so as not to weaken or depress the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers.The form used for this purpose is the ETA 9141. NOTE: Electronic requests for PWDs may be submitted through iCERT at To submit electronic PWD requests, employers, or their authorized representatives, will have to register as iCERT users.
  2. Advertising and Recruitment Efforts by the Employer. According to PERM regulations, employers are required to follow specific recruitment procedures to locate available and qualified U.S. workers before filing the labor certification, Form ETA 9089, with the DOL. All employers filing the labor certification must follow certain mandatory recruitment steps. Those who are sponsoring for professional positions must follow some additional recruitment steps in order to fulfill the requirements for filing the ETA 9089.The mandatory advertising that the employer must undertake include the following:
    • Job Posting Notice – the employer must post a notice of the job opportunity for at least 10 consecutive business days.
    • The employer must place two advertisements on two different Sundays in the newspaper of general circulation in the area of intended employment.
    • The employer must place a job order with the State Workforce Agency for a period of 30 days.
  3. Additional Recruitment for Professional Positions. In addition to the afortementioned steps, the employer must conduct at least three additional forms of advertising from the following list:
    • Employer’s web site
    • Job Fairs
    • Job search web site other than the employer’s, such as
    • Private recruitment firms/companies
    • Employee referral program with identifiable incentives
    • Local and ethnic newspapers
    • On-campus recruiting
    • Trade or professional organizations
    • Campus placement offices
    • Radio and television advertising
  • ETA 9089, Foreign Labor Certification.The employer is required to register with the Department of Labor at in order to file the ETA 9089. Once the employer receives his registration information, he or she must create a sub-account for the attorney handling the case, which allows the attorney to begin filing the labor certification.
  • Form I-140. After approval of the ETA 9089, the next step is to file Form I-140, along with supporting documentation that includes the original signed copy of the labor certification, with USCIS.
  • Form I-485 or Consular Processing. This represents the final step in the employment-based green card process. In some cases, it is possible to file the I-140 and I-485 concurrently because the priority dates for that particular preference category are current, that is, there is no waiting period before filing the I-485.
    If the foreigner is living in the United States, then he or she must adjust status by filing Form I-485 with the nearest USCIS office. However, if the person is living abroad, then he or she must opt for consular processing, that is, file your permanent residency papers at your local U.S. Consulate.