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IMMIGRANT VISAS

PERM/Green Card Application

If you have an employer in the United States, you may be able to get your lawful permanent residence status (green card) through that employer.  In order to hire a foreign worker on a permanent basis, an employer must generally obtain a permanent labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Permanent labor certification can be obtained through the DOL’s Program Electronic Review Management (PERM) process.

Perm Processing times:
https://flag.dol.gov/processingtimes

PERM labor certification generally includes two major steps:

 

Labor Market Test. The employer must show that there are not sufficient willing, available, and qualified workers already in the U.S. who can do the job for the prevailing wage. The employer must undergo a process to test the U.S. labor market by undertaking recruitment, including by advertising the position and reviewing resumes for at least 30 days (but not more than 180 days), before filing an application.

 

Prevailing Wage Determination. The employer must demonstrate that hiring a foreign worker will not affect the wages and working conditions of similarly-situated U.S. workers by obtaining a prevailing wage determination from the State Workforce Agency (SWA.

 

Once the PERM application is filed with DOL, it may take the DOL several months to adjudicate the application.

 

I-140 Employer’s Application for Immigrant Visa & Proof of Ability to Pay:

Once a PERM application is certified (approved) by DOL the employer must file an I-140 Immigrant Worker Petition with the USCIS within six months of the approval date of the PERM application. The employer is required to show that it has the ability to pay the wage offered.  Furthermore, the employer must show that the foreign national possesses the education, experience and skills required in the PERM application.  The processing time for an I-140 Petition is typically four to six months. However, for an additional $1,225 filing fee, the USCIS will adjudicate the petition via “premium processing” (15 calendar days).

 

I-485 Adjustment of Status

The last and final step in the permanent resident process is an application filed by the foreign national. The foreign national’s immediate dependents (spouse and children) may also join the foreign national employee at this step in the process and file their own applications as the employee’s dependents. In most cases, the individuals are in the U.S. and thus it is easier and more beneficial for the foreign nationals to file an I-485 Application to Adjust Status. If they are not in the U.S.,a DS-260 Immigrant Visa Application may be filed with the U.S. consular post abroad and the individual will be required to attend an interview at the U.S. consular post in his/her home country. Current processing time for an I-485 application is about six months and approximately six to nine months for an Immigrant Visa Application processed abroad at a U.S. consular post.

Each case is given a priority date based upon when it is first filed with USCIS. This priority date is the foreign national’s “place in line” for an immigrant visa for someone from their birth country as they become available. If the foreign national employee’s priority date is current, the I_485 application may be filed with USCIS concurrently with the I-140 Petition. If the priority date is not yet current due to quota backlogs, then it may be several months or years before the individual may file the last phase in the permanent resident process. The attorney will track priority dates and prepare this filing.

It is only during this last phase that the Executive Actions allows for greater flexibility for foreign nationals, it could take upwards of 10 years for foreign nationals from countries like India or China to have their priority date become current, during which time a normal employee would receive promotions or transfers, but current PERM rules require that the employee be in the same or similar job as they had been nearly a decade earlier.

FAMILY BASED PETITIONS

(Immediate Relatives-I-130, K-Fiance)

 

N400 NATURALIZATION

 

CONSULAR PROCESSING

 

EMPLOYMENT AUTHORIZATION DOCUMENTS

 

TEMPORARY PROTECTED STATUS