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Helping demystify the process of securing a green card -- III

In today's post, we'll continue our discussion of how those looking to secure a green card -- i.e., the immigration document conferring permanent resident status -- must be aware that the process, while ultimately fulfilling, can nevertheless be both involved and time-consuming.

Specifically, we'll focus on those seeking to acquire a green card based on a permanent employment opportunity here in the U.S., one of the qualifying categories set forth via the Immigration and Nationality Act.  

In the majority of cases, anyone looking to secure an employment-based green card will have to present evidence of a job offer and the employer making this offer will file a petition -- the Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker -- on their behalf.  

If the prospective employee is living outside of the U.S., they will ultimately secure permanent resident status via consular processing, meaning the process whereby U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the State Department work together to issue a visa provided the previously submitted Form I-140 has been approved and a visa is actually available.  

If the prospective employee is living in the U.S., the process is similar in that the Form I-140 will need to be pre-approved and a visa will need to be available. However, the prospective employee will also need to file the Form I-485 -- which is essentially an application to adjust their immigration status -- in order to secure permanent residence.

It's important to understand that visas in this category are allocated based on the following categories:

  • First Preference: Priority workers, meaning outstanding researchers and professors, select multinational executives and aliens with extraordinary abilities
  • Second Preference: People of exceptional abilities or members of professions holding advanced degrees
  • Third Preference: Professionals, skilled workers and other qualified workers 
  • Fourth Preference: Immigrants in specialized professions, including religious vocations  
  • Fifth Preference: Investors, entrepreneurs and other employment creation immigrants 

Please consider speaking with a skilled legal professional if you have any questions or concerns regarding the complex issue of green card eligibility or another immigration-related matter.

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