How Do Employment Based Green Cards Work

Employment-Based green cards serve as a gateway for skilled foreign nationals to establish their lives and careers in the United States on a permanent basis. These green cards are specifically designed for individuals distinguished by their specialized skills, advanced educational achievements, or significant contributions in their professional fields. Family members of Employment-Based green card applicants must demonstrate their relationship to the main applicant and fulfill the same eligibility criteria. This includes medical examinations, proving financial stability, and ensuring all U.S. immigration laws and regulations are followed. It’s crucial for applicants to clearly understand and meticulously follow the procedures for including family members in their application, to facilitate a seamless and successful immigration process for the entire family.


By offering a structured pathway for high-caliber professionals and specialists from around the globe, these visas significantly contribute to the country’s innovative and competitive edge. By examining the various categories that are available, explaining the application procedure, and highlighting the necessary qualifying requirements, we can clarify the complexities surrounding employment-based green cards. Employers and prospective immigrants alike will find it to be a priceless tool for comprehending the subtleties of these green cards and successfully navigating the complexities of the U.S. immigration system.

Green Card Options for Employees

Several categories fall under Employment-Based green cards, each tailored to cater to specific qualifications and professional backgrounds. These categories represent a range of sectors and expertise levels, making it possible for a diverse array of professionals to pursue their American dream.


The EB-1 category is reserved for individuals with extraordinary abilities, outstanding professors and researchers, and multinational executives and managers. Eligibility hinges on demonstrating exceptional talent or achievement. For instance, those with extraordinary abilities in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics must show sustained national or international acclaim. Outstanding professors and researchers need significant recognition in their academic fields, while multinational managers or executives must have a proven managerial or executive track record. No labor certification is required for this category, streamlining the application process.


Related: Family-Based Green Cards Explained



The EB-2 visa category is specifically designed for professionals who demonstrate advanced levels of expertise and contribute significantly to their respective fields. This visa is an ideal choice for individuals who hold an advanced degree, which could be a Master’s degree or higher, or a Bachelor’s degree accompanied by at least five years of progressive, professional work experience. Additionally, the EB-2 category extends to those with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business sectors, where their skills are considerably above the ordinary and have significant implications in their field. Applicants under this category are typically expected to demonstrate their expertise through various forms of evidence, such as academic records, professional achievements, awards, and substantial work experience.


A notable aspect of the EB-2 visa is the National Interest Waiver (NIW). This waiver allows certain individuals to bypass the standard PERM labor certification process, a significant step in most employment-based green card applications. The NIW is particularly beneficial for professionals whose work is deemed to substantially benefit the U.S. national interest. Recent updates by USCIS have placed a greater emphasis on this waiver, especially for STEM graduates and entrepreneurs, highlighting its role in attracting and retaining individuals whose endeavors align with the U.S.’s strategic interests. The NIW process requires a demonstration of the proposed endeavor’s national importance, the applicant’s capability to advance the endeavor, and the benefits to the U.S. of waiving the standard job offer and labor certification requirements. The updated guidelines aim to streamline and clarify the process, making it more accessible for eligible professionals.


The EB-3 category of Employment-Based green cards addresses three distinct groups: skilled workers with at least two years of relevant training or experience, professionals holding a bachelor’s degree or its foreign equivalent, and other workers engaged in unskilled labor that requires less than two years of training or experience. Each of these subcategories has its own set of criteria and necessitates a labor certification process. The EB-3 category plays a vital role in bringing a wide range of skills and professional expertise to the United States, contributing significantly to various sectors of the economy.


Seeking clarity on Employment-Based green cards? Agarwal Law Group is here to simplify the process for you. Connect with us for a consultation and embark on your path to U.S. residency with expert guidance.

PERM (applicable to EB-2 and EB-3 only)

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The Program Electronic Review Management (PERM) process is integral for applicants under the EB-2 and EB-3 visa categories. It commences with employers providing a comprehensive job description that lists the specific duties and qualifications required for the role. This job description is key for both identifying suitable candidates and establishing the prevailing wage, as determined by the Department of Labor (DOL). The DOL’s prevailing wage determination ensures that the wages offered to foreign nationals are consistent with current market rates for similar roles in the specified geographic area. This is a key measure to protect both U.S. and foreign workers, ensuring that the employment of foreign nationals doesn’t negatively impact the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers.


The PERM process mandates that the employer carry out a number of recruitment efforts, also referred to as PERM advertising, after the wage determination. The purpose of these ads is to verify that there are no competent American workers available for the position by testing the labor market. The employer must place job ads in various channels, including newspapers and online job boards, and document all recruitment efforts meticulously. The timing for these advertisements is strictly regulated, with specific periods before filing the PERM application during which the ads must run. Once the recruitment phase is complete and no suitable U.S. workers have been identified, the employer can file the PERM labor certification with the Department of Labor (DOL). Employers file the PERM labor certification with the DOL after fulfilling the requirements of the PERM process. This certification serves as an official statement confirming that all necessary criteria have been met and that the employment of a foreign national is justified, thereby safeguarding the interests of the US labor market. As a result, the PERM labor certification becomes an essential component of the green card application, indicating that the foreign national’s employment serves the broader objectives and needs of the US labor market.


Related: The Difference Between a US Citizen and a Lawful Permanent Resident


Eligibility Requirements

Eligibility for Employment-Based green cards hinges on the applicant’s professional background, skill set, and the specific requirements of each category.

Who is Eligible for Employment-Based Green Cards?

Eligibility for Employment-Based green cards hinges on an individual’s specific professional skills, advanced educational qualifications, or recognized achievements. These visas are segmented into various categories like EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3, each with its own set of criteria. For instance, the EB-1 category is reserved for those with extraordinary abilities in their field, outstanding professors and researchers, or multinational managers and executives. The EB-2 visa caters to professionals holding advanced degrees or individuals with exceptional ability in certain fields, including a provision for a National Interest Waiver. The EB-3 visa category caters to a diverse workforce, including skilled workers with at least two years of job experience, professionals with a bachelor’s degree, and individuals engaged in unskilled labor. This category is specifically designed to attract talents and skills that significantly contribute to various sectors of the U.S. economy, enriching the nation’s cultural, educational, and professional landscape.

Documents and Forms

The Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, is a pivotal document in the Employment-Based green card application process. It’s filed by the U.S. employer and serves as the foundational petition for the prospective immigrant worker. For those residing in the U.S. and seeking permanent residency, the process involves filing an Adjustment of Status, which includes Forms I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) and I-131 (Application for Travel Document). This path allows applicants to obtain their green card while remaining within the country. Conversely, individuals outside the U.S. need to undergo Consular Processing. This entails applying for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy in their home country, leading to U.S. entry as a permanent resident upon approval. Both methods require thorough and accurate documentation, emphasizing the need for precision in following the detailed application procedures.

Options for Families/Derivatives

Spouses, children, and immediate family members of Employment-Based green card holders may also be eligible for U.S. admission. Their eligibility and the requirements vary based on the principal applicant’s visa category.

Who is Eligible?

When it comes to Employment-Based green cards, the family members who can typically be included are the principal applicant’s spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21. These family members are eligible to apply for derivative status, which aligns with the principal applicant’s immigration journey. The derivative status allows them to reside in the United States, and in many cases, they are also eligible to work. The requirements for derivative status are directly tied to the principal applicant’s visa category and status. Inclusion of family members in the principal applicant’s green card application mandates that they prove their relationship to the main applicant and meet the same standards of eligibility. This process involves essential steps like medical examinations, demonstrating financial support capabilities, and adhering to all relevant U.S. immigration regulations. It’s essential for applicants to fully comprehend and meticulously follow the guidelines for incorporating family members in their applications, ensuring a successful and streamlined immigration experience for the entire family.

Getting Your Employment-Based Green Card Made Simple

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Navigating the Employment-Based green card process can be complex and daunting. Consulting with an experienced immigration attorney ensures accurate paperwork, adherence to all necessary steps, and helps prevent delays. An attorney can provide personalized guidance, making the journey to U.S. residency smoother and more efficient.


Navigating Employment-Based green card procedures? Let Agarwal Law Group be your ally in this journey. Contact us for a consultation and experience a streamlined, personalized approach to your immigration needs.

10.0Pratibha Kanive Agarwal
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Agarwal Law Group

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