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All About Employment-Based Green Card Timeline and Process

All About Employment-Based Green Card Timeline and Process

Dealing with a business or association isn’t simple. As a business, there are numerous things to be dealt with. In course of time, one may see the need to carry over individuals with specialization in specific regions that are required for your organization’s further turn of events.

This may lead organizations to extend their worker base. However, on the off chance that an organization doesn’t get this particular personnel from the local region or different spots in the U.S.A., at that point, one would positively search for these prerequisites in skilled laborers who are US-based or living in different countries and settle them for all time in the USA.

There are different categories of employment-based green cards as per their priority and qualification, from EB-1 to EB-5. It is important to note that the preference system of the first three does not apply to EB-4 and EB-5 categories. These categories are for ‘special immigrant’ and investors with a plan to create 10 permanent jobs respectively. The EB-5 category is also called the Immigrant Investor Program.

Employment-Based Green Card Types:

EB-1 visa category for Priority workers

EB-1 visa category has a fast processing time among all the other preference categories. This category is applicable for highly talented individuals, people who have left a great mark in their field, acclaimed researcher or professor. The individuals who fall under this category are few.

EB-2 visa category for Postgraduate and other advanced courses

EB-2 visa category is for those who hold advanced degrees in the fields of science, arts, or business. US master’s degree or higher (equivalent foreign degree) or US bachelor’s degree along with 5 years of additional experience comes under the definition of an advanced degree.

A National Interest Waiver (NIW) is provided to those who request a waiver for labor certification. This waiver is only provided if it is in the interest of the United States specifically if the concerned individual has exceptional abilities.

EB-3 visa category for skilled workers, professionals

EB-3 visa category is applicable only if there are no qualified workers available in the USA to perform work. The skilled worker must be able to show at least 2 years of experience or training. The professional must have a US bachelor’s degree or equivalent foreign degree. The workers who come under this category must showcase a skill which is non-seasonal. Let us now go through the timeline of:

Employment-Based Green Card Timeline Requirements

The below mentioned documents are needed as part of the adjustment of status requirements:

  • I-485Application to Adjust Status
  • I-693 Medical Report and Vaccinations
  • A copy of I-797 showing that the I-140 has been received and approved by USCIS.
    You can file both the I-485 and I-140 at the same time if your priority date is current.
  • Copy of approved Labor Certificate
  • Employment letter
  • Copies of recent pay stubs
  • Copy of approved I-140 if not filing concurrently

Note: In some cases, you may require additional documents.

Employment-Based Green Card Timeline and Process:

Many people look forward to applying for the EB based green card. Many employers look forward to recruiting foreign employees on basis of this. But what are the process involved? What is the time taken by each process? How long does the employment-based green card process take to complete?

These questions pester employers as well as employees. Let us go through the employment-based green card timeline.

1.    US Employer Backing

The first and the foremost thing needed for the application of an employment-based green card is to have a US employer sponsor your petition. If an individual comes under EB-1A green card or EB-2 NIW, then this is not needed as they can self-petition.

For an employer to sponsor, one must take care that the job position is qualified to hold a green card. If you have an existing job, then you might have to switch your position before applying for a green card.

2.    Certification from DOL (PERM process)

The Permanent labor certification process is also called the PERM process. It stands for ‘Process for Electronic Review Management’. In this process, the employer has to show that the job opportunity being provided to a foreign worker is not an opportunity that has been taken away from qualified US workers. This is done by showing proof of posting a job advertisement yet the employer couldn’t find the needed candidate from US workers.

If an individual comes under EB-1 green card or EB-2 NIW, then this process is not needed.

The PERM process further includes:

1.    Prevailing Wage Request

As per this, the employer must apply for a request for the prevailing wage to determine the pay of their employee based on the job location and economic scenario. This normally takes up to 2 weeks and go up to a few months depending on the bulk of requests

2.    Recruitment

The employer must conduct a recruitment drive in the US market so that qualified US workers, if any, can apply for the post. This process takes about 60 days (8.5 weeks) considering 30 days of job posting and 30 days awaiting applicants. This can take longer if the number of applicants is more.

3.    ETA-9089 form application

The employer must file for ETA 9089 form. If no audits are conducted, it will be decided with 6 months (24 weeks). This process involves a questionnaire which the employer has to submit within 1 week.

If not submitted, DOL attempts phone verification. 3 phone calls will be attempted, missing even one will extend the process.

Considering an ideal PERM process, within a total of 9 months (34 weeks), this process will wind up. But there is a high chance that other factors can influence the processing period and extend it.

4.    Processing Time

The processing can take between 6 months and a year and a half depending on whether or not your employer is subjected to an audit. Here is the breakdown of the timeline for PERM Labor processing times:

    • Prevailing Wage Request: 2 weeks
    • Recruitment Process: 8 to 9 weeks
    • ETA-9089 Application: 24 weeks

3.    Filing I-140 form – Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker

As soon as the PERM process gets done, the next step is to file for an I-140 immigration petition at USCIS. This form is filed to verify the job criteria on the PERM application is fulfilled by the candidate and to verify whether the employee can pay the prevalent wages to the employee.

Cost of Green Card Filing:

For attaining a non-immigrant status, there are a few filing fees you need to pay:

  • I-140 Filing Fee – $700
  • I-485 Filing Fee – This fee varies. For a detailed costing for the I-485, visit the USCIS website.
  • Premium Processing Fee – $1,440

It is optional as it allows certain visa petitioners to expedite the processing time from an average of 6 months to just 15 calendar days.

The normal processing fee of this application is $700 while the premium processing fee is $1225. The normal processing time taken is about 6 to 9 months whereas the premium processing time taken is 15 days.

4.    Filing I-485 form – Adjustment of Status Petition

The final step to green card processing is filing for an adjustment in status or filing for a visa in case of non-visa holders. The I-485 form is the actual green card application. This is also the longest process in the entire green case process.

Due to the limited number of green cards available per year, the process has a long list of applicants awaiting their status approval. Normally the time taken is 6 months but due to this list of applicants, it can extend up to years.

5.    Get Your Green card Status

Once the I-485 form is approved by USCIS, then a candidate is good to go. USCIS provides them with an employment-based green card i.e. EB visa status.

How Long Is Employment-Based Green Card Valid?

The validity of the regular green card is generally 10 years. It may vary from person to person depending on the conditions.


These questions pester employers as well as employees. Let us go through the employment-based green card timeline. Depending on an individual’s nationality and eligibility, the process of green card application will vary. It is the best solution to attain permanent resident status. The process can be fastened by hiring an attorney, as legal matters can be sorted quickly with the best solutions, thereby decreasing an individual’s green card application time.

Neil Thomas

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