How do I sponsor a worker for a US Green Card?

By Michael Niren May 14, 2012 2 min. read

If you are a prospective employer of a foreign national whom you want to sponsor to become a US permanent resident on the basis of  a permanent job offer, you must carefully examine the multifarious process involved. Before you proceed to the first step you need to  ascertain whether your prospective employee will meet any of the standards set forth in four preference categories.

Normally you have to begin the process by obtaining a copy of an approved Labor Certification Application (LCA) from the Department of Labor (DOL). After receiving a copy of the LCA, you must fill up the Form I-140 known as Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. On behalf of the foreign national you are seeking to sponsor, you must file the form with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office.

When a certification of the Department of Labor is not necessary, the process shall start with the  filing of the Form I-140. There are times when Form I-140 is combined with an application for permanent residence. To know more about this, consult your immigration lawyer.

The waiting period

The priority date shall be the date when you file the petition on behalf of the foreign worker. When the priority date becomes current, the foreign national may choose to apply to immigrate to the United States. Proper timing for meeting all the requirements are essential to getting your petition processed and approved at the earliest possible opportunity. There is no guaranty however as to how long exactly you have to wait until your petition is finally approved because of several factors affecting the procedure.

One of the aspects that has a strong impact in processing your petition is the high demand for a certain type of visa that may run counter to the limits set by law in a certain country. When there is a limit on how many foreign nationals can obtain a lawful permanent residence visa each fiscal year, not everybody can immigrate to the United States at the same period of time. Dont mistake this for an impression that your prospective worker is denied US entry. Hopeful foreigners may need to wait until they reach the “front of the line” – the time when a priority date becomes current. When that happens the foreign worker, on whose behalf you filed the petition, will be contacted by the US Department of State and will be asked to apply for an immigrant visa.

As an employer, who can you sponsor?

As long as the foreign worker qualifies for an employment-based immigrant visa or anything under EB visa categories, you may file on his or her behalf.

EB-1 Visas for priority workers are reserved for foreign nationals who have extraordinary talent, ability, or expertise in business, education, sciences, arts, and athletics. EB-2 Visas are designed for professionals with advanced degrees and distinctive ability in fields that will significantly advance the national economy, culture, education, and the general welfare of the United States. EB-3 Visas are intended for professionals or skilled workers who have the ability of doing skilled labor, provided that they have earned at least two years of work experience. The skilled workers referred to in this category must not be available in the United States. EB-4 Visas are reserved for special immigrants such as religious workers, certain physicians, Panama Canal Employees and other special immigrants deemed to be as such by law.