Permanent Residence (“Green Card”) Options
Many employers have “temporary” or nonimmigrant (H-1B, L-1, TN, etc.) employees who have made significant contributions to the company and are now ready to extend their employment indefinitely. The next step is to sponsor the nonimmigrant employee for U.S. Lawful Permanent Residence status (a “green card”). We counsel employers on the many green card options and assist in determining which one is the right choice for both employer and the employee.
Extraordinary Ability (EB-1A):
We provide support for clients who are navigating the EB-1A green card process. The EB-1A category (Employment-Based First Preference), also known as Extraordinary Ability, is a permanent residence status that is granted to highly accomplished business executives, professors, and well-known artists or athletes. An applicant can demonstrate their extraordinary ability in one of two ways: showing receipt of an internationally recognized award (e.g. a Nobel Prize, Academy Award, MacArthur Foundation fellowship, etc.), or by showing evidence in at least three of the several other delineated categories for demonstrating qualifications. Once in the United States, an EB-1A recipient must continue working in their field of expertise.
An individual applying as an individual of Extraordinary Ability doesn’t need a job offer in the United States before applying, is exempt from the requirements of Labor Certification, and can self-petition for the status. It is possible to file both an Extraordinary Ability and other green card category petition at the same time or consecutively, and there are several situations where filing two or more petitions makes sense. Your immigration attorney can help you determine if filing multiple petitions would be beneficial for your situation.
Outstanding Researcher or Professor (EB-1B):
We provide support for clients who are navigating the EB-1B green card process. The EB-1B category (Employment-Based First Preference), also known as Outstanding Researcher or Professor, is a permanent residence status that is granted to individuals that can demonstrate international recognition for their outstanding achievements in a particular academic field. The individual must have at least 3 years experience in teaching or research in the academic area and must be entering the United States to pursue tenure or tenure track teaching or comparable research position at a university or other institution of higher education. In addition, an applicant must demonstrate at least two of the six delineated categories for demonstrating the appropriate qualifications as an EB-1B.
An individual applying as an Outstanding Researcher or Professor is exempt from the requirements of Labor Certification. It is possible to file both an Outstanding Researcher or Professor petition and other green card category petitions at the same time or consecutively, and there are several situations where filing two or more petitions makes sense. Your immigration attorney can help you determine if filing multiple petitions would be beneficial for your situation.
National Interest Waivers (NIW):
The National Interest Waiver is found within the EB-2 (Employment-Based Second Preference) category for permanent residence and is reserved for individuals who meet the following criteria as determined by USCIS:
- Whether the applicant’s proposed work in the U.S. has “substantial merit” and “national importance”;
- Whether the applicant is “well positioned” to advance their proposed work, and
- On balance, waiving the job offer and labor certification requirements would be beneficial to the U.S.
It is possible to file both a NIW and other green card category petition at the same time or consecutively, and there are several situations where filing two or more petitions makes sense. Your immigration attorney can help you determine if filing multiple petitions would be beneficial for your situation.
PERM – Labor Certification:
Generally, when an employer wishes to move an employee from temporary status to a green card, the initial first step in that process will be the PERM or Labor Certification through the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”). Some categories, like the EB-1 and NIW, are exempt from this process but, for most employers and employees, PERM is an essential first step in the green card process. The PERM process requires that an employer recruit available U.S. workers per DOL requirements. By following the prescribed recruitment process, an employer can demonstrate to the DOL that it could not find any available, minimally qualified U.S. workers ready, willing, and able to undertake the offered position and, as such, should be allowed to petition its foreign worker for a green card utilizing that offered position as the basis.
Labor Certification requires a job offer in the United States, confirmation that no US workers were minimally qualified for that position, and confirmation that the employer has provided proper notice, is paying appropriate wages, and there is no strike or lockout currently occurring at the worksite.