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Law Office of Bobby C. Chung


I AM AN EMPLOYER. HOW DO I SPONSOR A FOREIGN CITIZEN FOR PERMANENT RESIDENCE (I.E., GREEN CARD) IN THE UNITED STATES?


To consult an immigration lawyer, please call us at (626) 642-8066 or email us at info@bccvisalaw.com. An attorney in our office would be happy to assist you.

One way people immigrate to the United States is based on employment. As an employer (or prospective employer), if you want to sponsor a foreign citizen to become a permanent resident (i.e., green card holder) based on a permanent job offer, you and the foreign citizen would need to go through a multi-stage application process.

The process starts, in most cases, by you first obtaining an approved PERM Labor Certification Application from the US Department of Labor (DOL). After the labor certificiation has been approved by the DOL, you would then continue the process by filing an I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, on behalf or the foreign citizen with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If prior labor certification is not required, the sponsoring process will start with your filing of the I-140 petition with USCIS. Sometimes, as discussed below, the foreign citizen can combine the I-140 petition with a permanent resident application. For information on all of the filing requirements for a labor certification request with DOL, please visit http://bccvisalaw.com/perm-labor-certification.php.

Who are the employees that I may file for?

A US employer may sponsor a prospective or current foreign citizen employee who is inside or outside the US and who may qualify under one or more of the employment based or “EB” immigrant visa categories. The EB visa categories are divided into several preference categories. These EB visa categories are organized by occupational priorities as mandated by Congress. The first four of these EB visa categories are available to otherwise eligible foreign citizens sponsored by US employers:

EB-1 Priority Workers
• Aliens with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics
• Outstanding professors and researchers
• Multinational executives and managers

EB-2 Professionals with Advanced Degrees or Persons with Exceptional Ability
• Aliens who, because of their exceptional ability in the sciences, arts or business, will substantially benefit the US economy, cultural or educational interests or welfare of the US
• Aliens who are members of professions holding advanced degrees or the equivalent

EB-3 Professional or Skilled Workers
• Professionals with a bachelor’s degree
• Aliens capable of performing skilled labor requiring at least 2 years of training or experience for which qualified workers are not available in the US
• Aliens capable of performing unskilled labor for which qualified workers are not available in the US

EB-4 Special Immigrants
• Religious workers
• Panama Canal Company Employees, Canal Zone Government Employees, or US Government in Canal Zone Employees
• Certain physicians
• Certain others

What does the I-140 petition do for my employee?

Filing an I-140 immigrant petition showing that you and the foreign citizen have an intent to have an employer-employee relationship upon the approval of the petition and proving your employer-employee relationship and the foreign citizen’s qualifications gives (or, in the case where a labor certification has been filed, saves) the foreign citizen a place in line among others waiting to immigrate based on the same kind of “EB” visa category. When the place in line is reached, the foreign citizen may be eligible to apply to immigrate.

The foreign citizen’s place in line, known as a “priority date,” will be based on the date you file the labor certification with DOL or, if a labor certification is not required, the date your petition is filed with USCIS. For this reason, there is an advantage to filing as soon as you are certain that you wish to obtain the permanent services of the foreign citizen.

After I file, how long will it be before the foreign citizen can immigrate?

The combination of high demand and the limits set by law on how many people can immigrate each year under each category and from a particular country means that for some foreign citizens there may be no waiting period, while for others there may be a significant waiting period.

Generally speaking, if a foreign citizen entered the US legally and is currently in the US (and meets certain other requirements), he or she may be able to file an application to adjust to permanent resident status if the employment-based immigrant visa category for that foreign citizen is “current.” For other foreign citizens who are on the visa waiting list, once the foreign citizen reaches the “front of the line,” the Department of State will contact the foreign citizen and invite him or her to apply for an immigrant visa. For the current waiting periods for visa numbers, see “Visa Bulletins” at http://bccvisalaw.com/immigration-to-usa.php

What about the foreign citizen’s family?

In most cases, when the foreign citizen’s place in line is reached and he or she applies to immigrate, the foreign citizen’s husband or wife and unmarried children under 2 can apply as dependents. For example: You file an I-140 petition on behalf of a prospective employee. You cannot directly petition for his or her husband and children. However, they can apply for immigrant visas (or adjustment of status) at the same time as your prospective employee when the prospective employee’s place in line is reached.

How long will it take USCIS to process my petition?

Processing times depend on a number of factors. You can check the current USCIS processing times at http://bccvisalaw.com/ins-processing.php.


THE INFORMATION ON THIS WEBSITE IS NOT TO BE CONSIDERED LEGAL ADVICE. SUCH INFORMATION IS INTENDED TO EDUCATE MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC GENERALLY AND IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE SOLUTIONS TO INDIVIDUAL PROBLEMS. READERS ARE CAUTIONED NOT TO ATTEMPT TO SOLVE INDIVIDUAL PROBLEMS ON THE BASIS OF INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN AND ARE STRONGLY ADVISED TO SEEK ADVICE FROM AN EXPERIENCED IMMIGRATION LAWYER REGARDING SPECIFIC CASE SITUATIONS.

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