Permanent residents in the US have an unrestricted ability to work
More information about the process
Legal permanent residents in the United States (aka Green Card holders) are afforded benefits that are not available to non-immigrants, including an unrestricted (within legal bounds) ability to work in the US. With the exception of “Aliens of Extraordinary Ability” who can self-petition, a foreign born employee would need to have their employer sponsor them for permanent residence. Most foreign born employees will go through a three step process to get to the green card:
Employees who qualify for an L-1A non-immigrant visa, i.e. multinational managers/executives, have the option to bypass step one above, the PERM, and directly file the I-140 and adjustment of status applications, or start consular processing.
Employees that are already in the US generally opt to adjust status in the US rather than go through consular processing to save the time and expense of flying to their home country to interview for the green card. For employees not already in the US, and depending on an individual employee’s circumstances, adjustment of status is not an option. In this case, once the I-140 is approved, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will forward the case to the employee’s home consulate for final processing.
Frequently asked questions about Employment Based Green Card Process
1. How do I know which employment based classification I will fall into?
It depends on the job and the education and experience required for it, along with your own education and experience.
2. When would I not be able to apply for adjustment of status at the same time as the I-140 was filed?
Both USCIS (who would adjudicate the adjustment of status) and the Department of State (who would process any consular processing application) can only issue a green card if the applicant’s priority date is current. The priority date is either 1) the date the PERM is filed, or 2) in cases where a PERM is not required, the date USCIS receives the I-140. For persons born in certain countries, namely India, China, and the Philippines, there is a backlog in certain classifications that prevents a national from that country from being able to apply for an adjustment of status or be interviewed at the consulate until their priority date was current. In many cases, the wait can exceed 10 years.
3. Can I change employers or roles during the green card process?
Generally, no, you must remain with your employer and/or in the role described in the PERM and I-140. However, once you reach a certain point in the adjustment of status process, it may be possible to switch the existing application to a new employer and/or role.
4. If I am in a managerial role in the US, on the L-1A, but my role abroad was not managerial, can I still apply under the multinational manager/executive classification?
No, you must have been a manager/executive both abroad and in the US.
5. Will I have to interview with USCIS before I get my green card if I file for adjustment of status?
Yes, starting March 2017, all employment based adjustment of status applicants were required to appear at a local USCIS office for an interview with an officer before their application could be approved.
Why should you hire Mamann, Sandaluk & Kingwell to represent you?
Between employment-based interviews and more scrutiny at all levels of the process, getting an employment-based green card is becoming increasingly more challenging. Please contact our office to speak with one of our qualified US Immigration Attorneys to discuss your options for an employment based green card.
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