How can you get permanent residence through employment?

Here you will find out how to obtain a ‘Green Card’ if you have find lawful employment in the US.

One of the ways in which you can migrate to the United States is via employment. It mostly depends on the conditions and needs of the company you work, or will work for. This path allows you to legally migrate to the United States with a temporary employment visa, and later request a ‘Green Card’.

Xavier Law Firm, immigration lawyers in Houston, TX, and Los Angeles, CA, will provide you with a simple guide with everything you should know about immigration into the United States through employment.

US Employment visa

After the Alien Relative Petition, Employment Immigration is the most common way to obtain a permanent residence permit in the United States.

However, it is not as simple as just looking for work and applying. The system is a little more complex than that. It is necessary to meet a considerable number of requirements (including higher education and experience) that would allow you to live permanently in the United States. 

The visas for permanent workers range from EB-1 to EB-5, depending on the priority level. There are other types of visa, such as the L1 Visa, which are not actually immigrant visas. These are visas for temporary workers, but they do open the door to a path that would allow you to request a Green Card and settle as permanent residents. 

A similar situation arises with the F-1 or Student Visa. As you may know, this visa has many limitations regarding legal work. However, once the student has concluded his or her studies, it also opens the door to a temporary work permit for 1 year, and afterwards allows the employer to request a permanent employment visa for its new employee.

” it is not as simple as just looking for work and applying. The system is a little more complex than that. It is necessary to meet a considerable number of requirements.”

Types of US Employment visas 

The permanent employment visas range from the EB-1 to EB-5 depending on the beneficiary or company’s preference. Some visas require you to have a formal employment offer in the United States.

The future employer will be considered the sponsor. Also, some visa categories require an employment certification approved by the Labor Department. This work permit will state that: 

  • There are not enough available and qualified American workers willing to work for the salary the company offers. 
  • Hiring a foreigner will not have a negative effect on the salaries and employment conditions of American workers in similar positions.

Preference of E Visa Categories

EB-1: The EB-1 category applies to people with extraordinary skills in science, business, arts, academia, sports, or top executives in multinational companies. You are not required to have an Employment Certification. 

You are required, however, to prove that you possess at least 3 out of ten possible skills which are considered ‘extraordinary’, such as: published scientific articles, publications about you or your work, awards, critical role in a top market organization, membership in a professional association, original contributions, high pay for your work, exhibition of your artistic work, experience based on the commercial success of your art. It is divided into 3 basic categories:

  1. People with extraordinary abilities in science, education, business, arts, and sports.
  2. Professors or outstanding scholars internationally recognized with at least 3 years of experience.
  3. Top executives from multinational companies, with at least 1 year of experience in a foreign company branch. The position must have been of an executive nature. 

EB-2: The EB-2 Visa applies to professionals with a postgraduate education, or with exceptional abilities in the arts, science, or business. You are required to have an Employment Certificate, although in some cases you can get a waiver. It is important to prove that the complexity of the position offered requires a person who has postgraduate studies. If you do not have a postgraduate diploma, an undergraduate degree and 5 years of experience might suffice.

EB-3: The EB-3 Visa applies to professionals and highly qualified workers. It requires an Employment Certificate. There are 3 different groups: 

  • Skilled workers: people who can do a job that requires at least 2 years of training or experience.
  • Professionals: people with professions that require an undergraduate degree. 
  • Other workers: these are positions that require less than 2 years of training or experience.

EB-4: The EB-4 Visa applies to special immigrants, such as religious workers, members of a foreign service, retired staff from international organizations, foreign minors protected by the US government and related cases. It does not require an Employment Certificate. This is the Visa with the largest number of categories, we will mention the most relevant: 

  1. Religious workers
  2. Employees or former employees of the United States government abroad (the DS-1884 Form must be filled, and the instructions must be followed). 
  3. Some former employees from the Panama Canal Company, from the government of the canal zone, and from the United States government in the canal zone.
  4. Some foreign physicians.
  5. Some retired from international organizations (including single children, and surviving spouses of deceased employees).

EB-5: The EB-5 Visa applies to investors who invest 1 million dollars in a new company that has at least 10 full-time American employees. The investment can be of $500,000 in some areas. It does not require an Employment Certificate. 

The Process: How to get an Employment Visa in the USA 

First, depending on the kind of visa, it is necessary for the employer to obtain an Employment Certificate from the Department of Labor. Once the Employment Certificate has been approved, he must present an I-140 Form, and petition for the immigrant worker at USCIS.

Once USCIS approves the petitions, it is then sent to the National Visa Center which will assign a number to the case. When the date is near, the DS-261 Form must be filled and the corresponding fees must be paid (the fees do vary depending on the priority category). There are fees for the different kinds of service: 

  • I-140 Form
  • DS-260 Form processing.
  • Medical test and vaccinations.
  • Additional costs: translations, copies, national documents fess, etc.

The required documents are:

  • Valid passport (the passport’s expiration date should be at least 60 days after the visa’s expiration date).
  • DS-260 Form.
  • Two photos 
  • Personal documents such as birth and marriage certificates, academic and professional certificates, etc.
  • Employer’s financial statement that proves that you will not become a burden for the US. 

Other important information

When the National Visa Center determines that your file is complete, they will schedule an appointment with you and they will send all the documents to the American embassy or consulate where you will have a visa approved. It will receive the notification via email along with the instructions, including a guide for the medical test.

Every applicant must take a valid passport to the interview and all necessary documents that have not yet been presented to the National Visa Center. The interview must always take place at an American embassy or consulate. 

Immigrant visas take a little longer than most other visas, there is no fixed time limit. It changes depending on the annual visa limit, the applicant, and the actual documents you present. 

If the visa is granted, the official will give the passport back, and the sealed package with a list of all the documents. You must not open the package, only an immigration clerk in the US is allowed to open that package. The relatives who have a visa must also enter the United States with the main applicant. 


If you think you can apply to one of the categories above to migrate to the United States, you should try to do it with an employment visa. The opportunities in this country are infinite, especially for experienced, highly qualified people, and scholars. If you want to know more, do not hesitate to contact us. We are experienced immigration lawyers in Houston, TX, and Los Angeles, CA.

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