EB2 Green Card Priority Date
Benefits of the EB2 Green Card
An EB2 Green Card is a popular way to obtain Permanent Resident Status in the United States. Professionals with an advanced degree, such as a master’s degree or higher, as well as professionals who can demonstrate exceptional ability, may qualify for an EB2 Green Card in the United States. It does not require any investment and successful applicants are eligible to travel freely in and out of the United States. Spouses and dependent children of EB2 Green Card holders are eligible to immigrate to the United States and adjust status to a permanent resident if they wish.
The EB2 Green Card in 3 Steps
Step #1: PERM Labor Certification (6 to 10 months processing time)
The first step in the EB2 Green Card process is the PERM (Program Electronic Management Review) Labor Certification. This process is completed by the U.S. employer with the Department of Labor (DOL). The filing of the application is the responsibility of the employer, not the employee. However, the employee can benefit from understanding the necessary documents and requirements for PERM. In general, the DOL uses the PERM process to ensure that the admission of foreign workers, who will be employed in the U.S. in the future, will not adversely affect the job opportunities, wages, and vacancies available to U.S. citizens and U.S. nationals.
The process of filing a successful PERM application requires a job opening in a specified professional field. After receiving a prevailing wage determination and going through the recruitment process, employers may then complete the PERM form and submit the application. One thing to note is that the PERM/Labor Certification application must be submitted within 180 days of any recruiting effort. This means that if you begin the recruitment process prior to receiving the prevailing wage determination, the recruitment effort may expire before you receive the prevailing wage determination. Once a Permanent Labor Certification application has been approved by the DOL, the employer will need to then seek the immigration authorization from USCIS (UNITED STATES CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES).
Step #2: Petition for Alien Worker and/or Consular Processing for the Applicant (6 to 9 months standard processing time / 15 days for premium processing time)
To qualify for an EB2 Green Card, applicants, along with the employer, must file a Form I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers. As part of the application process, employers must be able to demonstrate a continuing ability to pay the offered wages to the immigrant as per the requirements from the Department of Labor and USCIS. The Applicant is required to submit relevant experience letters and educational documents as evidence that he/she is qualified to perform all of the duties for the offered position. Employers may use annual reports, federal income tax returns, and audited financial statements to demonstrate a continuing ability to pay the applicant’s annual wages.
If six months is too long to wait for the approval of the Form I-140, applicants may want to consider opting for the premium processing service. Premium processing requires additional fees in return for shortening the Form I-140 petition processing time from six or more months to fifteen calendar days.
Step #3: Consular Processing and/or Adjustment of Status
This is the last step in applying for permanent resident status in the United States for many immigrant professionals and it occurs once the FormI-140 is approved. If the applicant is not present in the USA, he/she can opt for consular processing. If the applicant is already lawfully present in the United States, they can file an application for permanent residency through the Adjustment of Status process. This means that applicants do not need to return to their home country to obtain an immigrant visa, and they remain in the US while the green card application is pending.
Consular processing: in this process, an EB2 Immigrant Visa is obtained after a successful interview with the consular officer at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate outside of the US. It is based on meeting the required criteria and submitting the necessary documents that were used to apply for the Form I-140. The employer must show that it is offering a permanent position to the applicant. Once his/her EB2 Immigrant Visa is granted and stamped in the passport, the applicant travels to the USA on the visa and then receives his/her Permanent Resident Card shortly after arriving.
Adjustment of status: For this process, once a visa number is available, or, in other words, once the priority date is current for the applicant, and the applicant is lawfully present in the United States, he/she is eligible to apply for Adjustment of Status and receive their green card. In another scenario, if the applicant's priority date is current when filing the Form I-140, he/she may be eligible to concurrently file the Adjustment of Status Application (Form I-485) along with the Petition for Alien Workers (Form I-140). This can speed up the overall processing time considerably. To check if you are eligible for concurrent filing, you should consult with an experienced immigration attorney.
Priority Dates and Wait Times
When the applicant submits his/her Petition for Alien Workers (Form I-140), he/she will obtain a priority date. An applicant’s priority date is generated the same day USCIS receives the Form I-140 Petition. The priority date is the applicant's position in line to obtain a visa once one is available in that category. For some countries, there is no wait time and a visa is immediately available to them. These applicants are then either scheduled for an Immigrant Visa interview immediately, or they are immediately eligible to adjust their status in the USA and receive the green card.
For other countries, particularly for those applicants who are born in China and India, these wait times can be much longer. Applicants can look at the Department of State’s website for the most recent Visa Bulletin and find more information about wait times. EB2 I-140 processing takes up to a year or a little longer to finish, but it can take several years in certain cases for the green card process (Form I-485 or consular processing) to start. There are also chances of priority date retrogression as well, which would slow the process even more.
While the EB2 Green Card process can be complex and involves complying with a number of requirements (such as PERM/Labor Certification and degree/experience), the approval process itself may be faster than other related PERM/Labor-based visa categories. The EB2 Green Card, for those who qualify, can offer a much quicker path to permanent residency.
Ashoori Law is an immigration law firm that helps families, professionals, investors, and entrepreneurs get visas, green cards, and citizenship to the United States. If you have any questions about the EB2 Green Card, or any other immigration related question, we welcome you to schedule a free consultation by clicking this link.
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Michael Ashoori, Esq.
President of Ashoori Law
I’m a U.S. immigration lawyer and I help families, professionals, investors, and entrepreneurs get visas, green cards, and citizenship to the United States.
Since starting my law firm, I’ve helped hundreds of people from all over the world with their immigration needs. I’m very passionate, hard-working, and committed to my clients.
Got a question? Send me an email.