A 2020 Guide to Employment-based Green Cards


All foreign workers must acquire permission to work legally in the U.S. While some types of work visas may allow you to do so, they often fail to cover one thing most immigrants aim for: permanent U.S. residence. In order to both work and stay in the U.S. for as long you want, you must first obtain an employment-based green card. ;

What is an employment-based green card?

An employment-based green card or visa is legal proof of a foreign national’s right to permanently reside and work in the U.S. It specifically applies to workers and professionals that possess expertise, skills, or business in the U.S. making them a valuable asset to the economy.

Individuals can apply for an employment-based green card from abroad or have their current visas undergo an Adjustment of Status. Consulting an immigration attorney will help you and your employer decide on the best possible route for you.

While a green card may solidify your status as permanent resident, it is still not a replacement for a passport. You’ll still need to have a passport issued from your country of birth renewed regularly.

Types of application

There are several categories under which an employer can apply for a green card for an H1B employee.


The EB-1 application is reserved to individuals proven to exhibit exceptional abilities in art, education, business, science, and sports, or athletics. This category is considered special and may be granted to inventors, professors, researches, celebrities, high-profile executives, and others who are internationally recognized for their work.

The EB-1 is the most prestigious type of employment-based green card. Applications for this type are often prioritized, and require less waiting time than other categories. However, they also require individuals to submit specific documents that will prove their status and qualifications.


This category applies to individuals with extraordinary abilities in science, art, or business. Unlike in the EB-1 category, this does not cover leaders in academics and athletics.

The EB-2 category is typically the easiest way for non-exceptional workers to obtain a green card. Professionals must, however, possess a Bachelor’s and/or Master’s degree plus a minimum of five years of working experience to be eligible in this category. In most cases, it will take between 4 and 5 years to receive a green card under this format.

Applicants are asked to show an offer of employment and a PERM Labor Certification. In some cases, applicants may seek a National Interest Waiver for the PERM labor certification if their employment is proven to greatly benefit the nation. ;


United States of America social security and green card on white background. Immigration concept. Closeup with shallow depth of field.

Under this category, applicants are required to possess a minimum of two years’ worth of training experience. It also covers foreign nations with vocational training or undergraduate degrees.

The great thing about this category is it grants permanent residence for unskilled workers but with extensive experience in fields that are in demand in the U.S. It often receives the most applications every year due to its more flexible requirements compared to other categories.

Perhaps one of the most challenging parts of getting a green card is the waiting. Understand that it’s a process that requires your utmost patience. Make sure you review the necessary immigration policies and double check your documents to ensure the best possible outcome.

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