Becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident (Green Card Holder) Through a Job Offer
You may be eligible to become a lawful permanent resident based on an offer of permanent employment in the United States.
Several immigrant visa categories are based on employment. Your education, skills and work experience are some of the factors used to determine if the individual is eligible for a specific type of employment-based visa.
This category includes individuals who have/are:
- Extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or who are athletes who have national or international acclaim and whose achievements are recognized in their fields.
- Outstanding professors or researchers.
- Certain multinational executives or managers.
You must have an advanced degree or an exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business (the requirement for a job offer may be waived for those in this category if such waiver is in the national interest).
Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers
If you don’t petition for yourself, your employer must obtain a labor certification from the Department of Labor (DOL) and then file Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers, on your behalf. For occupations where DOL has already determined that there is a shortage, you do not need a labor certification.
Foreign nationals who are making investments in a new commercial enterprise (business) in the United States, may qualify under this category and may file Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor.
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) sets the number of immigrant visas that may be issued to individuals seeking lawful permanent resident status (a “Green Card”) each year.
The U.S. Department of State is the agency that distributes immigrant visa numbers. Employment-based immigrant visas are limited to 140,000 per year. In addition, there are limits to the percentage of immigrant visas that can be allotted to each country. Immigrant visas for individuals are limited and not always available. For more information on employment-based preference categories, please see our Green Card Eligibility and Visa Availability and Priority Dates pages.
How to File
If You Are Living Outside the United States
You can become a permanent resident through consular processing. This is when USCIS works with the Department of State to issue an immigrant visa based on an approved Form I-140, Form I-360, or Form I-526 when an immigrant visa is available for a specific employment-based visa category and country.
If you are living in the United States
Once your employer has filed a Form I-140, you may apply for lawful permanent resident status on Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, if an immigrant visa is available. We must approve your Form I-140 before we can adjudicate your Form I‑485.
If you are seeking to adjust status through employment creation, you cannot file your Form I-485 until we approve your Form I-526.
To apply for adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident, you must:
- Read the instructions for Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
- Complete and sign your Form I-485;
- Pay the filing fee, if applicable; and
- Provide all required evidence and supporting documentation.
After You File
Once we receive your Form I-485, we will process your application and you will then receive a:
- Receipt notice confirming we received your application;
- Biometric services notice, if applicable;
- Notice to appear for an interview, if required; and
- Notice of our decision.
If you are applying to adjust your status, you must apply for and receive work authorization if you want to work while your Form I-485 is pending.