Immigration through Employment
An employer that wants to sponsor someone for lawful permanent residency based on permanent employment in the United States, you must go through a multi-step process.
• First, foreign nationals and employers must determine if the foreign national is eligible for lawful permanent residency under one of USCIS' paths to lawful permanent residency.
• Second, most employment categories require that the U.S. employer complete a labor certification request for the applicant, and submit it to the Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration. Labor must either grant or deny the certification request. Qualified alien physicians who will practice medicine in an area of the United States which has been certified as underserved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are relieved from this requirement.
• Third, USCIS must approve an immigrant visa petition. The employer wishing to bring the applicant to the United States to work permanently files this petition. However, if a Department of Labor certification is needed the application can only be filed after the certification is granted. The employer acts as the sponsor (or petitioner) for the applicant (or beneficiary) who wants to live and work on a permanent basis in the United States.
• Fourth, the State Department must give the applicant an immigrant visa number, even if the applicant is already in the United States. When the applicant receives an immigrant visa number, it means that an immigrant visa has been assigned to the applicant.
• Fifth, if the applicant is already in the United States, he or she must apply to adjust to permanent resident status after a visa number becomes available. If the applicant is outside the United States when an immigrant visa number becomes available, he or she will be notified and must complete the process at his or her local U.S. consulate office.
There are four categories for granting permanent residence to foreign nationals based upon employment:
EB-1 Priority workers
• Foreign nationals of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics
• Foreign national that are outstanding professors or researchers
• Foreign nationals that are managers and executives subject to international transfer to the United States
EB-2 Professionals with advanced degrees or persons with exceptional ability
• Foreign nationals of exceptional ability in the sciences, arts or business
• Foreign nationals that are advanced degree professionals
• Qualified alien physicians who will practice medicine in an area of the U.S. which is underserved. Read more about this particular program.
EB-3 Skilled or professional workers
• Foreign national professionals with bachelor's degrees (not qualifying for a higher preference category)
• Foreign national skilled workers (minimum two years training and experience)
• Foreign national unskilled workers
EB-4 Special Immigrants
• Foreign national religious workers
• Employees and former employees of the U.S. Government abroad
Immigration through a Family Member
To become a lawful permanent resident based on the fact that you have a relative who is a citizen of the United States, or a relative who is a lawful permanent resident, you must go through a multi-step process.
The USCIS must approve an immigrant visa petition. This petition is filed by your relative (sponsor) and must be accompanied by proof of your relationship to the requesting relative.
The Department of State must determine if an immigrant visa number is immediately available to you, the foreign national, even if you are already in the United States. When an immigrant visa number is available, it means you can apply to have one of the immigrant visa numbers assigned to you.
If you are already in the United States, you may apply to change your status to that of a lawful permanent resident after a visa number becomes available to you. This is one way you can apply to secure an immigrant visa number. If you are outside the United States when an immigrant visa number becomes available, you must then go to the U.S. consulate servicing the area in which you reside to complete your processing.
In order for a relative to sponsor you to immigrate to the United States, they must meet the following criteria:
• They must be a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the U.S. and be able to provide documentation providing that status.
• They must prove that they can support you at 125% above the mandated poverty line, by filling out an Affidavit of Support the relatives which may be sponsored as an immigrant vary depending on whether the sponsor is a U.S. Citizen or a lawful permanent resident.
• If the sponsor is a U.S. Citizen, they may petition for the following foreign national relatives to immigrate to the U.S:
o Husband or wife
o Unmarried child under 21 years of age
o Unmarried son or daughter over 21
o Married son or daughter of any age
o Brother or sister, if the sponsor is at least 21 years old, or
o Parent, if the sponsor is at least 21 years old.
• If the sponsor is a lawful permanent resident, they may petition for the following foreign national relatives to immigrate to the U.S.:
o Husband or wife, or
o Unmarried son or daughter of any age.
In any case, the sponsor must be able to provide proof of the relationship.
If you wish to immigrate as a relative of a U.S. Citizen or lawful permanent resident, you must obtain an immigrant visa number based on the preference category in which you fall.
People who want to become immigrants are classified into categories based on a preference system. The immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, which includes parents, spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21, do not have to wait for an immigrant visa number to become available once the visa petition filed for them is approved by USCIS. An immigrant visa number will become immediately available.
The relatives in the remaining categories must wait for an immigrant visa number to become available according to the following preferences:
• First preference: Unmarried, adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens. Adult means 21 years of age or older.
• Second Preference: Spouses of lawful permanent residents, their unmarried children (under twenty-one), and the unmarried sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents.
• Third Preference: Married sons and daughters of U.S. Citizens.
• Fourth Preference: Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. Citizens.
The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.