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Employment Immigration FAQs

Written By The Shapiro Law Group on January 20, 2015

At Shapiro Law Group, our immigration lawyers focus on helping employers manage their employment immigration needs so that they can efficiently run their business.  The following are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding employment immigration.

Who files an application for a work visa or employment-based green card?

In most situations, the employer will file a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) seeking a work visa for the foreign national employee. The success of a visa petition often hinges on cooperation between the employer and the foreign national employee, however, and an immigration attorney can help ensure that the application process moves efficiently.

In some cases, an employer may want to sponsor the employee for permanent residency, or green card status. To do so, the employer must first obtain an approved application for Permanent Labor Certification (or PERM certification) from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). After the employer has received PERM certification, it must file a Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of the foreign national.

What is the difference between a work visa and a green card?

Although “work visa” and “green card” are often used interchangeably when referring to employment-based immigration, there are several key differences between the two immigration options. Most notably, a green card allows a foreign national to remain in the U.S. indefinitely, whereas a work visa is limited in duration.

How can I change status from temporary work visa to an employment green card?

If you are currently in the U.S. under a work visa and want to obtain a green card, you have several options. For instance, you may be able to seek permanent residency through marriage (including same-sex marriage) or familial relationship. You may also be able to seek an employment-based green card under one of the following five preference categories for employment-based permanent residency:

  • First Preference (EB1) is available for priority workers, including persons of extraordinary ability, outstanding professors and researchers, and multinational organization executives and managers.
  • Second Preference (EB2) is available for professionals holding advanced degrees (or persons of exceptional ability) working in a position that requires an advanced degree or the equivalent.
  • Third Preference (EB3) is available for professionals and skilled workers if the job requires a bachelor’s degree or two years of specialized training or experience.
  • Fourth Preference (EB4) includes special immigrants, such as religious workers and some government workers, among others.
  • Fifth Preference (EB5) is available for investors who make a substantial U.S. investment that create jobs for U.S. workers.

It is important to know and understand the applicable preference category and the priority date assigned to the I-140 petition since the preference category will impact the cut-off date for priority status of your application. Depending on the citizenship of the foreign national and his or her profession, there may be significant delays in processing of employment-based green cards.

Contact an Employment Immigration Lawyer

Contact us online or call our office at (847) 564-0712 to schedule a consultation with one of our Chicago immigration lawyers.