An immigrant is a foreign national who has been authorized to live and work permanently in the United States. To become an immigrant based on a permanent employment opportunity in the United States, or if an employer wants to sponsor someone for lawful permanent residency based on permanent employment in the United States, there is a multi-step process.
- Foreign nationals and employers must determine if the foreign national is eligible for lawful permanent residency under one of USCIS’ paths to lawful permanent residency.
- Most employment categories require that the U.S. employer complete a labor certification request for the applicant, and submit it to the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration.
- USCIS must approve an immigrant visa petition for the person wishing to immigrate to the United States. The employer wishing to bring the applicant to the United States to work permanently files this petition.
- The State Department must give the applicant an immigrant visa number, even if the applicant is already in the United States. When the applicant receives an immigrant visa number, it means that an immigrant visa has been assigned to the applicant.
- If the applicant is already in the United States, he or she must apply to adjust to permanent resident status after a visa number becomes available. If the applicant is outside the United States when an immigrant visa number becomes available, he or she will be notified and must complete the process at his or her local U.S. consulate office.
The United States allows up to 140,000 immigrants each year to be granted permanent residence based on the work that they perform while in the country. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) has preferences for which type of workers are granted permanent residence.
For more information about employment based permanent residence, visit the links below:
- Employment Based Preference Categories (EB-1 through EB-3)
- Multinational Managers and Executives
- Outstanding Professor & Researcher Petitions
- Extraordinary Ability Petitions
- National Interest Waiver Petitions
- Labor Certification
- Special Immigrants (EB-4)
- Frequently Asked Employment Based Permanent Residence Questions