A Permanent Resident Alien Card, or "Green Card," allows a foreign national to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis. Obtaining a Green Card is often a lengthy and time consuming process. This section is meant to provide a general overview of the steps involved. There are three phases to the employment-based Green Card process.
(ETA 9089 Application for Permanent Employment Certification)
In this first step of the Green Card process, the sponsoring company seeks to fill a full-time position with a foreign national worker because of a shortage of qualified, available, willing and able U.S. workers.
The Application for Permanent Employment Certification is filed online with the United States Department of Labor [DOL]. The date of filing is the “priority date.” The current program for U.S. companies to obtain labor certification is referred to as the PERM program, which requires that the company perform a rigorous recruitment effort prior to filing the Application for Permanent Employment Certification.
Once filed, the DOL reviews the application to verify that the sponsoring company has met all of the recruitment requirements to obtain certification. It also ensures, among other things, that the requirements of the position as stated on the application are not unduly restrictive. If satisfied, the DOL certifies the application.
Anticipated period of time to complete this step: three to six months, including recruitment.*
(I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker)
Upon approval of the Labor Certification, the company files an Immigrant Petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).
The purpose of the Immigrant Petition is for the USCIS to verify that the employee meets the requirements of the job as specified on the Application for Permanent Employment Certification and to ensure that the sponsoring company has the ability to pay the stated wages.
If satisfied, the USCIS approves the I-140 Immigrant Petition.
Anticipated period of time to complete this step: four to 10 months.*
Final Application for Permanent Residence
(I-485 Application for Adjustment of Status)
Upon approval of the Immigrant Petition, if a visa number is available for the employee, the employee files an Application for Adjustment of Status with the USCIS.
Visa availability is based on the country of birth of the employee, the labor certification filing classification, and the employee's "priority date." As noted, the priority date is set at the time of the filing of the Application for Labor Certification.
Upon approval of the Application for Adjustment of Status and completion of some final steps, the employee will be a U.S. permanent resident alien and will receive his or her Green Card in the mail shortly thereafter.
Anticipated period of time to complete this step: 10 months to one-and-a-half years once the I-485 is able to be filed.*
Be advised that if visa numbers are available, the I-485 may be filed concurrently with the I-140.
Instructions on Green Card Processing
Green Card applications can be initiated for Experis employees only by Experis. If you are an Experis employee and would like more information, please contact your Account Manager or other branch office representative.
*Please note that the anticipated periods of time to complete each step are based on historical data and are not meant to serve as a guarantee of future processing times.