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How To Apply For A Green Card under EB-3 & EB-2 Category (most common for H-1B and E-3 visa holders)

If you are currently on an H-1B visa or E-3 visa and curious about what you have to do to get permanent residency (aka a Green Card) then we will try and document the process here for you.

If you are interested in the issues surrounding whether or not you are able to do it and what other visas can transfer to a Green Card, read the specific Green Card and visa posts as they discuss that in more detail. This post is designed to be strictly about the process.

Firstly let us show you the Green Card. The most thing to note is that it is not actually green and it is a plastic card issued to you by the USCIS.

You can read more in the Green Card information post about the EB-2 and EB-3 category of green cards. Essentially EB stands for employment based as this version of permanent residency requires the employer to file.

The EB-2 category is for Post Graduate degree holders like a Masters Degree or Bachelor Degree holders with 5+ years experience in the chosen specialty.

The EB-3 category is for Bachelor degree holders or those with enough work experience in the relevant specialty which was enough probably in the first place to get them their H-1B or E-3 visa without a Bachelors degree.


Step 1: Labor Certification

ApplicationĀ  using Form ETA-750 submission via your employer to the Department of Labor.

During this Labor Certification procedure, your employer has to prove to the Department of Labor they were could not find a suitable person for the specific role you are in within the US. They will have to advertise for your position, and sometimes do interviews and other recruiting procedures to prove this under the DOL guidelines.

After this your employer can file an application with the DOL explaning they were unable to find both a suitably qualified and experienced candidate. As a result they wish to sponsor you for permanent residency as you have the relevant expertise.

This process can take many months to years to complete.

The cost of this process with the advertising of the role can obviously range greatly but a rough conservative figure may be $1,000 but if can differ greatly state by state and also with the different DOL offices.

Step 2: I-140 to USCIS & Adjustment of Status ( I-485)
These two can be filed in parallel but form I-485 wont be approved until after you I-140 is accepted
At this time you can also file for EAD ( Employment Authorization Document) and AP ( Advance Parol or Travel Document) , once you file for 485, you will be required to do fingerprinting.

Once your Labor Certificate is approved, your employer will file a Form I-140 -(know as Petition for Immigrant Worker) – on your behalf.

Employer should demonstrate that the company is in a good financial position to capable of paying the salary advertised for the job. For this purpose employer’s financial financial statement and corporate income tax return documents also required.

Also at this point a National Visa Number issued via the Department of State. The Adjustment of Status can only be filed once your Visa Number is available according to the Visa Bulletin released by the Department of State each month.

The applicant is given is granted against per year Quota/per country/per category. So people from China, India and Mexico and those from those countries with just Bachelor Degrees tend to have very long waits into many years before they can complete the process.

Another restriction at this stage is that a person applying for a green card needs to stick with the company, through which his/her green card is getting processed, till he gets his Green card. Otherwise he loses the process, and needs to apply for a fresh application from the beginning.

Spouse/Dependent applications can only be filed once the I-140 is approved for primary applicant.

The I-140 processing fee is constantly changing but is currently $500 for regular and $1,000 for premium processing.
The I-485 fee is $930 (includes work authorization EAD and Advnace Patrol Travel if filed at same time otherwise EAD is $340 and Advance Patrol is $305)
Additionally a $120 medical assessment paid to approved Doctor is required as well as $80 biometric fee.

It should be noted that these fees are multiplied when dependents like spouses and children under 21 are involved.

Get You Passport Stamp and Green Card

I hope this helps your understanding of the Green Card process. It is fairly complicated and is one of the reasons why lawyers start to become more necessary in these times which is unfortunate as that is an added cost to the employer and immigrant.


Creating a US Style Resume for Job Applications

I thought I would touch in a short note about resumes. As many sites that also charge for other free information I have shared in this blog also state as part of their service they will help with resumes as well to ensure it is in a US format which can be different from other International countries.

To be honest, in this global world, where labor is constantly travelling all over the place, differences between resumes (language aside) is becoming more and more homogenized the world over. So the advice I will share to help with your job applications to get your E3 Visa, H1B Visa or J1 Visa may be what you are already doing.

Additionally, the job sites I recommended like Monster.com and LinkedIn.com as well as others like Career Builder and Yahoo Hot Jobs all have extensive sections on this so it hardly a trade secret.

The truth is probably these days, that you have to go beyond your resume format to obtain a job offer and eventually get your E3 or H1B visa by really standing out from the pack. By this I mean it is the presentation, extra efforts, interview performance which is basically whole package you offer during all stages of the application process that will get you that job offer.

However the resume is an important pre-requisite so I will try and outline the major points of the US style resume in my opinion. Of course depending on the profession, some factors may vary but this will be the standard to cover most types of industries I believe.

Just in case you were wondering, my resume was very much in an Australian style and I actually had a sit down session over breakfast with a VP of a media company, who basically tore my whole things to shreds. Then he gave me section by section pointers to change it to a US Style Resume.

I can also confirm my initial response rate from prospective employers improved dramatically following this complete re-work.

General Points to Consider

  • Keep the length to 2 pages or less
  • Put it in the format of reverse chronological order (i.e. job experience then education then extra information)
  • Try and put all your contact details in the header area as not to waste space
  • Consider adding a business/personal objective of about 1-2 sentences just prior to work experience. Also if you do add this, try and tailor it to the position to which you are applying
  • You can also either in this initial section or in a cover letter state when you are available to work
  • In work experience put your most recent experience first by putting company name & location, job title, dates of service, the job description in bullet form (ensure this straight to the point like “managed $10 million marketing budget for clients across all channels”)
  • In education state the institution and all relevant qualification achieved as well as year of graduation. If mini description is required to explain qualification then add here as well
  • Consider putting the web address of institution if it is foreign to the US so they can research
  • In next part you can spend a little bit of space on additional skills, achievements/awards and personal interests however this is definitely not the focus of the resume so should be kept brief
  • The second last thing is to put reference check names and their relevant contact details. US companies have a tendency to check these during the job offer stage of the application process but of course that can vary.
  • The last party you can put a brief note on your Visa Status, I will paste below exactly what I put there for the E3 visa but of course you can substitute for H1B or any other visa as well.

As an Australian I am eligible for the E3 visa which is specifically for Australian professionals working for US employers. (This visa works similarly to the Canadian TN Visa and requires 1 form to be completed being the Labor Condition Application (LCA –US State Dept. Info)

I hope all this information has been of some help in your quest for an E3, J1 or H1B visa and that soon your plans and hard work applying for jobs in the US will get you many call backs, interviews and hopefully job offers to choose from!