Many people become permanent residents through a job or offer of employment. Some categories require a certification from the U.S. Department of Labor to show that there are not enough U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available in the geographic area where the immigrant is to be employed and that no American workers are displaced by foreign workers. In other cases, highly skilled workers, those with extraordinary ability in certain professions, and investors/entrepreneurs are given priority to immigrate through several immigrant categories. In all cases, the process involves several steps.
The main ways to immigrate based on a job offer or employment are listed below. For more information on the categories below, see the links to the left under “Green Card Through a Job.”
Green Card Through a Job Offer
You may be eligible to become a permanent resident based on an offer of permanent employment in the United States. Most categories require an employer to get a labor certification and then file a Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, for you.
Green Card Through Investment
Green cards may be available to investors/entrepreneurs who are making an investment in an enterprise that creates new U.S. jobs.
Green Card Through Self Petition
Some immigrant categories allow you to file for yourself (“self-petition”). This option is available for either “Aliens of Extraordinary Ability” or certain individuals granted a National Interest Waiver.
Green Card Through Special Categories of Jobs
There are a number of specialized jobs that may allow you to get a green card based on a past or current job. All of these require a Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, and are described in Section 101(a)(27) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) (see the “INA” link to the right):
- Afghan/Iraqi Translator
- International Organization Employee
- Iraqi Who Assisted the U.S. Government
- NATO-6 Nonimmigrant
- Panama Canal Employee
- Physician National Interest Waiver
- Religious Worker
In some cases, you may be able to file the immigrant petition (either a Form I-140 or I-360, depending on your category) at the same time that you file Form I-485, known as “concurrent filing.” For more information, see the “Concurrent Filing” link to left under “Green Card Processes & Procedures.”
If you are not eligible to adjust your status inside the United States to a permanent resident, the immigrant petition will be sent to the U.S. consulate abroad to complete the visa process. In order to apply for a green card, there must be a visa immediately available to you. See the “Visa Availability & Priority Dates” link to left under “Green Card Processes & Procedures”.
For information on coming to the United States for temporary or permanent employment, see the “Working in the U.S.” link to the right.