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The Employment Immigration Green Card Process

The Employment Immigration Green Card Process

An immigrant (also called a "lawful permanent resident" and Green Card holder) is a foreign national who has been granted the privilege of permanently living and working in the United States. If you want to become an immigrant, and obtain a Green Card, , you must go through a multi-step process:

You must be eligible for lawful permanent residence (a Green Card) based on employment

Most employment categories require that your U.S. employer complete a labor certification request (Form ETA 750), and submit it to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must approve an immigrant visa petition, usually USCIS Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker, for you (filing requirements differ for each employment category, so be sure to click your appropriate category below for more details). Your employer files this petition. However, if a Department of Labor certification is needed the application can only be filed after the certification is granted. The employer acts as the sponsor (or petitioner) for the applicant (or beneficiary) who wants to live and work on a permanent basis in the United States.

The State Department must give you an immigrant visa number, even if you are already in the United States. When you receive an immigrant visa number, it means that an immigrant visa has been assigned to you.

If you are already in the United States, you must apply to adjust to permanent resident status after a visa number becomes available. For more details, see Green Card: Become a Permanent Resident While in the U.S. (Adjust Status) If you are outside the United States when an immigrant visa number becomes available, you will be notified and must complete the process at your local U.S. consulate

How Can I Appeal?

If your Petition for Alien Worker is denied, the denial letter will tell you how to appeal. Generally, you may file a Notice of Appeal along with the required fee at the appropriate USCIS Regional Service Center within 33 days of receiving the denial. Once the fee is collected and the form is processed at the Service Center, the appeal will be referred to the Administrative Appeals Unit in Washington, D.C. sending the appeal and fee directly to the AAU will delay the process. For more information, see How to Appeal if USCIS Denied My Petition or Application (US Immigration, Green Card Denial).

In the U.S., you may also call the national USCIS toll-free information service at 1-800-375-5283.


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