Bethesda Employment-Based Green Card Attorneys
Comprehensive Legal Guidance in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.
Several types of employment-based green cards are available to immigrants who wish to build their lives and careers in the United States. The type of visa you can obtain will depend on your level of education, skills, and ability. In many cases, you will also need a permanent job offer from a U.S. employer.
One of our Bethesda employment-based green card lawyers is an immigrant himself and is ready to help you become a lawful permanent resident. No matter your background, we can assess your qualifications and determine what types of visas you may be eligible for. We have over a decade of legal experience in this area and are extremely familiar with how to effectively navigate the application process. Our team at Herischi & Associates will work closely with you and your sponsoring employer and provide sound counsel every step of the way.
The Employment-Based Green Card Categories
Several types of employment-based green cards are available. These types are divided into 5 preference categories. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) only issues a limited number of visas each year, and some preference categories receive more visas – and higher priority – than others.
If there are more qualified applicants than green cards available in a particular category in a given year, an approved petition does not necessarily mean you can immediately seek a green card. Consequently, it tends to be advantageous to pursue certain types of employment-based green cards if you wish to avoid a long wait.
The employment-based visa preference categories are:
- EB-1 First Preference: Priority Workers. Under this category, green cards are available to “outstanding” professors and researchers, multinational executives and managers, and individuals with “extraordinary” ability in the arts, sciences, athletics, business, or education. Establishing extraordinary ability involves providing an exhaustive level of evidence that clearly demonstrates professional recognition and sustained acclaim. Persons with extraordinary ability can self-petition for a visa and do not need a permanent job offer from a U.S. employer.
- EB-2 Second Preference: Professionals with Advanced Degrees or Workers with Exceptional Ability. An individual with a Master’s, Ph.D., or another advanced post-baccalaureate degree (or a foreign equivalent) can obtain a green card under this category. Professionals with a bachelor’s degree and at least 5 years of relevant work experience may also qualify. Individuals with “exceptional” ability in the arts, sciences, athletics, business, or education fields are also eligible under this category, and it is easier to demonstrate “exceptional” ability than “extraordinary” ability. If an immigrant qualifies under the EB-2 category (either via sufficient education and experience or exceptional ability), they can request a national interest waiver if their work stands to substantially benefit the United States. Immigrants with national interest waivers can self-petition and do not need permanent offers of employment.
- EB-3 Third Preference: Professionals, Skilled Workers, and Unskilled Workers. Workers of varying skill and education levels can procure green cards through this category. A “professional” is someone with a bachelor’s degree (or a foreign equivalent), while a “skilled worker” is someone whose occupation requires at least 2 years of experience or training. An “unskilled worker” is an individual whose work requires less than 2 years of experience or training. All applicants under this category must have a permanent offer of employment from a U.S. employer.
- EB-4 Fourth Preference: Special Immigrants. This category encapsulates a myriad of miscellaneous subcategories. Religious workers, certain Iraqi and Afghani nationals, translators, and broadcasters can all potentially receive green cards through this category.
- EB-5 Fifth Preference: Immigrant Investors. This unique category requires applicants to make a qualifying, substantial investment in a U.S.-based commercial business. This investment must generate or preserve at least 10 domestic jobs, and investment funds will be heavily scrutinized by USCIS.
Many employment-based visa petitions require permanent job offers from U.S. employers. In other words, an employer must be willing to “sponsor” you for a green card. When an employer sponsors a foreign national for employment in the United States, they must obtain a labor certification that proves no domestic workers were available or willing to take the job. This labor certification must also establish that the foreign employee will be paid fairly.
Our Bethesda employment-based green card attorneys will evaluate your circumstances and advise which preference category you should apply under. If the green card you are eligible for requires a labor certification, we can guide you and your sponsoring employer through each stage of the process.
Once your employment-based petition has been approved, any necessary labor certifications have been obtained, and a visa is available, you can proceed to the final step and apply for your green card. How you do this will depend on whether you are currently in the United States or are located abroad.
Many immigrants initially come to the United States on temporary work visas. Many of these visas allow you to apply for an “adjustment of status” from within the U.S. if you become eligible for a green card, though not all do. When you request an adjustment of the status, you can receive your green card and become a lawful permanent resident without leaving the country.
If you are currently outside the United States, you will instead need to complete “consular processing.” This will involve completing paperwork and meeting with immigration officials at your home country’s U.S. embassy or consular office. At the conclusion of this process, you will receive authorization to travel to the United States, and a physical green card will be mailed to your U.S. address at a later date.
Our Bethesda employment-based green card lawyers can assist you with both adjustments of status and consular processing. Our team at Herischi & Associates can help you prepare all necessary paperwork and will work to secure your visa as quickly and painlessly as possible.
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