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San Antonio H1B to Green Card Lawyer

H1B to Green Card

H1B to Legal Permanent Residency Application

US Immigration law provides a path for employers to apply for a Green Card for their H1B workers. To obtain a Green Card the employer must show that giving a Green Card to the H1B worker will not hurt the US labor market. Going from an H1B Visa to a Green Card is a three-part process. The first part is called the PERM Labor Certification. The second part is the i-140, which is the employer’s petition for the employee’s Green Card. The last part is the i-485, which is the employee personally applying for a Green Card. All H1B to Green Card applications are categorized into 2 groups: EB2 or EB3. Generally, EB2 applications are processed faster than EB3’s. Our immigration lawyers can provide a clearer explanation of the H1B to Green Card process.

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San Antonio H1B to Green Card Attorney

The H1B to Green Card application has one main requirement: the employer must establish that making the H1B worker a permanent resident will not hurt the US labor market. Using an established process, the employer must test the labor market in search of a US worker who is qualified, willing and available to do the job of the H1B worker. If such US worker is not found, then the main requirement has been met because it proves that making the H1B worker a permanent resident will not hurt the US labor market.

The H1B to Green Card is a 3-part process.

Part 1 – PERM with the US Department of Labor:

When you start the PERM Labor Certification process our immigration attorney will first seek a Prevailing Wage Determination (PWD) from the US Department of Labor (DOL). We outline for the DOL the desired job position of the H1B worker, including the job requirements and job duties. With this information, DOL issues a PWD which establishes the minimum salary for the job. The next step is for the employer to follow an established recruitment process in search of a US worker for the job. The purpose of the recruitment is to determine if there is a US worker who is qualified, willing and available to fill the position. Should no US worker meeting the required criteria turn up, then the DOL will certify, using the ETA Form 9089, that making the H1B worker a permanent resident will not hurt the US labor market.

Part 2 – i-140 Application with USCIS:

Once the immigration attorney receives notice that the PERM Labor Certification is approved (ETA Form 9089), the employer must use Form i-140 to ask USCIS for a Green Card for the H1B worker. In other words, this is the part of the application where the employer requests that the employee be granted a Green Card. USCIS uses the i-140 to verify that the employer can afford to pay the H1B worker the prevailing wage established by DOL in Part 1 above.

Part 3 – i-485 Application with USCIS:

This is the last step of the H1B to Green Card application process. The i-485 is the application the H1B worker will use to personally apply for adjustment of status, i.e., apply for a Green Card. During this part, the immediate family members, if any, of the H1B worker will also apply for their Green Card. Upon approval of the i-485, the Green Card will be issued.

Some cases are processed faster than others. The speed in which a Green Card can be obtained depends on whether your case has a mandatory waiting period. You and your immigration attorney can track the waiting period using the Visa Bulletin. Here is an explanation of the H1B to Green Card timeline:

By law, USCIS has a limited number of Green Cards that it can issue per year, per country and per preference category (EB2 or EB3). A backlog is created when there are more applicants than available Green Cards. Backlogs create mandatory waiting periods. For example: Say you are from Mexico, have an EB3 category and that your Labor Condition Application was filed on September 1, 2017 (your priority date). Then we find that the Visa Bulletin for the current month says USCIS is processing applications with a priority date of June 1, 2017. This would mean that you have a mandatory waiting period and that there is no Green Card available for you, thus you should not file your i-485 yet. You need to wait until the Visa Bulletin posts a date of September 1, 2017 or after, to file your i-485.

If there is a Green Card available, meaning that there is no wait because the Visa Bulletin has reached your priority date, then the i-140 and your i-485 may be filed together. However, if your preference category is not current, i.e., there is a wait until the Visa Bulletin catches up to your priority date, then the i-140 is filed on its own. Your i-485 will not be filed until the Visa Bulletin reaches your priority date.

1. How long does the H1B to Green Card process take?

The answer is in the Visa Bulletin, your preference category and your country of nationality. An H1B to Green Card moves as fast as the dates on the Visa Bulletin. It is not uncommon for EB3s from Europe and Latin America to have a 2 to 3 month waiting period. Meanwhile, EB3s from India will have a 10-year waiting period. Ten years is a long time, so the sooner you start the process, the better off you will be.

2. What can I do to shorten my timeline for the H1B to Green Card process?

The short answer is to do your best to make sure that you qualify in the EB2 category. To do this, an advanced degree such as a master’s degree will help, and so will having 5 years of progressive experience in your specialty field before the PERM is filed.

For more information Contact Our San Antonio H1B to Green Card Lawyer

Set up a consultation with our immigration lawyer to discuss the time, costs and other requirements associated with the H1B to Green Card application process, please call (210) 858-9681.

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