eb1 eb2 eb3 green steps

Green Card Process Steps and Stages for EB1, EB2 and EB3

Raghu Green Card 260 Comments

In this article (and video), you can learn about the Green Card Process steps from H1B Visa or via Employment-Based (EB1, EB2 and EB3) category process.

There are two main path’s to obtain Green Card in USA (lawful permanent resident status)

  1. Family-based Green Card Categories and
  2. Employment Based Green Card – EB1, EB2, and EB3.

P.S. there are other ways, but in the article, I’m going to focus on Employment Based Green Card Process ( EB1, EB2 and EB3 Steps) and Various stages involved.

If you are working in H1B Visa, L1B Visa or other non-immigrant work visa, you most likely to through the following steps for your Employer-Sponsored Green Card.

Note: Employment Based Green Card process is driven by Employer and cannot be self-sponsored.

Green Card Process Steps

There are three stages for Green Card for EB2 and EB3.

  1. Stage 1: PERM/Labor Certification Stage ( EB1 doesn’t require this Stage)
  2. Stage 2: I-140 Immigrant Petition Stage
  3. State 3: I-485 Adjustment of Status Stage

eb1 eb2 eb3 green steps

Stage 1: PERM Labor Certification

  • PERM/Labor Certification stage is the first step in the green card process.
  • PERM stands for Program for Electronic Review Management.

Why PERM Labor Certification?

During this PERM Labor Certification step,  Employer have to prove that there are no qualified American Citizens or Permanent Residents for this positions and  foreign workers not taking jobs away from U.S. citizens.

Here is an overview of what happens at work place before green card process begins:

  • HR Manager notifies company’s Immigration Attorney about filing Green Card for the specific employee.
  • Initial Meeting: Manager, Employee, HR and Immigration Attorney
  • Job Description: Drafted, revised and finalized.
  • Prevailing Wage determination request submitted to U.S. DOL (Department of Labor)
  • Followed by Recruitment Phase
  • If no qualified US workers identified, file application with DOL.
  • Date when the application is filed with DOL is your Priority Date (PD).
  • DOL processes and approves PERM Labor Certification

Processing Timeline :

  • Initial Conversation to Job Description Finalization: 1 to 2 Months
  • Prevailing Wage Determination : About 2 months
  • Recruitment and Filing : 3 to 6 months
  • PERM Labor Approval : 2 to 8 months. (as of Oct 2015, PERM approval time is 7 months)

If PERM Labor is filed 365 before H1B Expiry date, then H1B can be extended in 1-year increments.

Stage 2: I-140 Immigration Application

Next step in the Green Card process is I-140 Immigration Application. After Labor Certification Application has been certified by DOL I-140 application can be filed.

Why I-140?

  • Verify employee meets job requirements specified on the PERM/Labor Certification Application
  • Verify the sponsoring employer can pay the offered wages to the employee.

After I-140 is approved, H-1B employee will be able to extend the H1B for 3 years period beyond initial 6 years.

Stage 3: I-485 Adjustment of Status

Form I-485 Application to Adjust Status, the actual green card application which will be filed after I-140 application is approved by USCIS.

Green card visa number is available based on

  • Applicants country of birth
  • Employment-based classification
  • Priority date of the Applicant

You could be born in India and have Australian Citizenship. But, Visa number availability is based on country of birth (India).

The priority date is the date that the PERM/Labor Certification Application was filed with the DOL (EB2 and EB3).

For EB1, date I-140 is filed with USCIS is the Priority Date.

Long wait times are due to the unavailability of Green Card Visa numbers.

There is a certain number of Green card applications are made available per year per category per country.

Every month Department of State publishes the Visa Bulletin,  with available visa numbers based on priority dates.

While filing I-485 application, you could file for EAD and Travel Permit (Advanced Parole).

Green Card Processing Time

  • People wait for 4 to 6 years in this stage in EB2 (for India)
  • Several more years for EB3 (if you are from countries like India and China).
  • Recently my co-worker got EB3 Green Card in Oct 2015 after 13 years Wait.

If the priority date moves back from after you file for I-485, then visa numbers will not be available.

You would have to wait till visa numbers available to get Green Card. That’s when folks apply for EAD.

What about EB1 Category?

For EB1 green card process, there are just 2 stages.

  1. Stage 1: I-140 Immigrant Petition
  2. State 2: I-485 Adjustment of Status

As you can see, there is no PERM Labor Certification step.

Plus, there is another option called National Interest Waiver (NIW) category for EB2, where PERM Labor is not required.

Green Card Article Series

  1. How Long Does it Take to Get Green Card in the USA for Eb1, EB2, and EB3
  2. Green Card Steps for  EB2 and EB3 Explained ( this article )
  3. Green Card Visa Numbers availability for E1, EB2, and EB3
  4. US Green Card Waiting Time Based on Pending Applications
  5. Immigration Path: Steps for an F1 Visa to Become U.S. Citizenship

Comments

  1. What’s the difference between the H1B and EB3? Which one has more advantage, if I just graduated from graduation school and got a job at the hospital.

  2. I have my PD Aug 2008. Based on the dates for filing of employement based visa category, my attorney has applied for my I485, I131, I765 and G325. I just finished my biometrics too. What is the next step and how many months or years I have to wait? what are the next steps

    1. BTW my category is EB2 India which got ported from EB3 (old company) to EB2 (new company) in 2016

  3. Hi Raghu – I’m on EB2 (PD = Aug2013) and my I-140 got approved. When can I expect my PD to become current (approx. timeline) considering EB2?

    Also, I had my I-140 approved twice, once with employer-A and currently with employer-B (with same PD). IF I switch my job now back to employer-A, will they have to re-do all steps till i-140?

    Please suggest. Thank you!

    1. Author

      EB2 – PD 2013 – At the current PD movement, you are thinking 4 to 5 more years of wait. Oct 2016 Pending 485 data were published today. About 19,000 applications are pending before April 2010. About 1200 average month. About 8 to 10k EB2 is issued per year. So, do that math for a rough estimate.

    1. Author

      There is not set time limit. Go with what your attorney says.

  4. I find this forum most current and helpful.

    My I-140 approved recently in EB2. I am planning to switch employer.

    a. Is there any period of time, I need to at least need to continue with same employer before switching so that that employer can not revoke the I-140. I heard it’s 180 day but not sure on this or not found from any official link.
    b. Any expected date of new law to implement for I-140 transfer without perm process?

  5. Dear Sir,

    I am from Bangladesh. Recently many companies have been working as agents for providing EB 3 visa for US in Bangladesh and they are committing that it takes 1 year to get green card after stepping in US and working for an employer for 1 year. Actually how many days does it take to get the green card in EB 3?

  6. Hi Raghu ,

    Need your quick suggestion

    Can i retain my PD if employer revokes I 140 ? I have changed from Employer A to Employer B

    1. Author

      This question should be posted to an Attorney.

      As far I know, the law allows retention of priority date even after I-140 is revoked by the employer. But, I have *read* that USCIS sometimes doesn’t follow the same and they may not port the date. So, you should talk to your new employer’s attorney.

    2. I am asad from bangladesh.some company saying that they deal with EB3 program.they told that we can get green card with 5 family members and it may take 2 years to get green card and fly with it to usa.I am confused with time and authenticity.please help me.

      thanks

  7. Hi Raghu
    My company is helping me with the green card process for USA. My I-140 was approved few months ago. I cannot proceed with I-485 application as the time when my EB2 priority date (Sept 2014) becomes current is many years away.

    I had also applied for Canadian PR and it has already been approved. So if I move to Canada now, I can live & work there as a permanent resident.

    In the future, can I come back to USA when my EB2 priority date becomes current ? and continue my green card process ?
    As far as I understand, my new USA employer would have to start the green card process again under EB2 but my old priority date(Sept 2014) can be used so I don’t have to wait to file I-485.

    Are there any issues with this ?

    Thank you.

  8. My company is helping me with the green card process for USA. My I-140 was approved few months ago. I cannot proceed with I-485 application as the time when my EB2 priority date (Sept 2014) becomes current is many years away.

    I had also applied for Canadian PR and it has already been approved. So if I move to Canada now, I can live & work there as a permanent resident.

    In the future, can I come back to USA when my EB2 priority date becomes current ? and continue my green card process ?
    As far as I understand, my new USA employer would have to start the green card process again under EB2 but my old priority date(Sept 2014) can be used so I don’t have to wait to file I-485.

    Are there any issues with this ?

    Thank you.

  9. Hi, Raghu! I like the way you presented the GC process. It’s so easy for me to understand. My question is …. if I can forcast that my priority date is about to come out (maybe next month), what preparations should I make? Do me and my family have to do medical again? If yes, which types esp if its 2 to 3 years ago already? All my 6 friends were able to get their gc but mine (and another friend’s) reverted back. Is the INS giving me a letter what to do?

    Thank you again for being helpful.
    Marie

  10. Hi Raghu,

    I am a citizen of Jamaica. I am just curious about the timeline a little. I’ve already applied for my green card through EB3 (received date May 25th) with priority date August 4th, 2015. I’ve already received EAD/AP, and I did my biometrics about a month ago. Do you have an idea when I might hear back regarding the green card?

    What is strange is that the receipt number still isn’t available on the USCIS’ website to track.

    Thanks

  11. Hello,

    Thank you for your information. I am currently on OPT STEM and my employer want to apply for Green card. I asked attorney of company to show me all the document before submitting them to DOL, but he said it’s illegal to show me anything. But I want to show my docs to another attorney to make sure everything is perfect.

    Is it really illegal? Please let me know.

    1. Author

      They are not going to give it to you. GC is employer driven process!

Leave a Comment - Your Thoughts Counts