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Sales: 312-922-9035 | Service: 312-964-6499

Employment-Based Green Cards for Permanent Residency

U.S. permanent residents are issued a I-551 Resident Card, better known as a “green card” as proof of their legal status in the United States.

What is an employment-based green card?

Employment-based (EB) green cards are a valuable tool to attract and retain foreign talent, allowing U.S.-based companies to maximize their competitive edge and promote economic growth. Green cards, or permanent residence, also provide stability and longevity that many foreign nationals seek, helping businesses reduce turnover and grow at a faster rate.

Who is eligible for EB green cards?

Sometimes it is the skill level of the job that determines the category, while other times it is the credentials of the individual foreign national beneficiary. The most widely used employment-based green card categories include:
  • EB-1 First Preference: priority workers
  • EB-2 Second Preference: foreign nationals who are professionals holding advanced degrees or who have exceptional ability in their field.
  • EB-3 Third Preference: skilled workers, professionals, or other workers.

What is an EB-1 green card?

EB-1 is one of the most desirable green card options because it does not require companies to complete the PERM recruitment process. This results in a significantly faster processing time. EB-1 green cards are available for priority workers, classified by USCIS as:
  1. Workers of extraordinary ability
  2. Outstanding university professors or researchers
  3. Certain executives or managers of multinational companies

What is an EB-2 green card?

The EB-2 green card is the second type of employment-based green card and has laxer eligibility guidelines than EB-1. However, the permanent labor certification (PERM) process is a prerequisite. Professionals holding advanced degrees qualify for EB-2 green cards.
To qualify for the EB-2 category, a requirement for the job is either:
  • A master’s degree or higher degree in a particular course of study, or
  • Equivalent work and educational experience, which is defined as a having obtained a relevant four-year bachelor’s degree and at least five years of progressive work experience in a specific field.
Foreign national employees must provide official academic records or diplomas and may be required to obtain letters from former employers verifying their past work experience.

What is an EB-3 green card?

The EB-3 is the most frequently applied-for employment-based green card option and casts the widest net in terms of who qualifies. As a result, it has the largest processing backlog. Professionals, skilled workers and other or unskilled workers all qualify for EB-3 green cards.
  • Professionals are individuals with a bachelor’s degree (or foreign equivalent) that will fill a role requiring a college degree. examples include teachers, architects and engineers.
  • Skilled workers are individuals with at least two years of training or work experience, who may or may not hold a college degree.
  • Other or unskilled workers are those who will be filling a job that requires less than two years of training or experience. examples include nannies, housekeepers, groundskeepers and nurse’s aides.

What is the PERM recruitment process?

The PERM labor certification process protects skilled U.S. workers from displacement by less-skilled foreign workers. Companies must prove they took reasonable measures to fill an open position with a U.S.-based worker. This multi-step process typically takes 10-to-12 months and is required for both EB-2 and EB-3 green cards. PERM certification must be completed prior to filing for a green card, so it’s recommended that HR professionals thoroughly understand what’s involved to avoid delays.

How long does permanent residency last?

The length of work authorization for all employment-based green cards is indefinite; however, renewals are necessary every 10 years.

How much does an EB green card cost?

The application filing fee that goes along with an EB green card application is $1,925. Certain individuals and particular stages of the application process may be eligible for premium processing; however, it is not always available for everyone or all portions of the petition process.

Is there a cap for EB green cards?

By law, there are only a limited number of green cards issued per year. Only 140,000 employment-based green cards are issued per fiscal year. Exception: An unlimited number of green cards may be issued to “immediate relatives” of U.S. citizens. In addition, the issuance of green cards is limited by the foreign national employee’s country of birth (NOT citizenship held). No more than seven percent of the total green cards approved annual may be offered to people born in the same foreign country.

Can family members of the green card recipient also apply for green cards?

When the primary applicant’s priority date becomes current, the recipient’s spouses and minor children may also apply to adjust status to obtain their green cards.

What is the USCIS Visa Bulletin?

The United States receives a massive volume of employmentbased green card applications every year, creating a significant backlog. As a result, the U.S. Department of State issues the monthly Visa Bulletin (, which provides updates regarding dates for filing applications and application final action dates.

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