The Serrano Law Firm has extensive experience working complex employment based permanent residency cases. Obtaining permanent residency through employment is a wonderful pathway that provides many individuals and families the opportunity to work and live in the United States without having to continuously renew a temporary work visa. The process is multi-step and can be quite lengthy often taking numerous months to years depending on the category of employment. The process involves both the employer and employee working with several agencies including the state workforce commissions, the U.S. Department of Labor, the Department of Homeland Security and perhaps the Department of State. The attorneys at the Serrano Law Firm understand the intricacies at each step and work closely with each client to formulate the best course plan to successfully navigate the process obtain permanent residency.

There are numerous jobs that permit an individual to seek permanent residency.  Employment Based Permanent Resident Petitions are based upon the requirements of the job and typically fall within one of the following categories:

Employment Based-1 entails: Managers of companies; multilevel nationals; persons of extraordinary ability typically within the fields of arts, sciences, education, business, sports; outstanding researchers and professors.

Employment Based-2 entails:  Three sub-categories (Advanced Degree, Exceptional Ability, National Interest Wavier). Individuals considered professionals with an advanced degree. Individuals seeking to apply under the exceptional ability sub-category must demonstrate ability that rises to the level considered exceptional within the categories of art, science or business. For these purposes, exceptional ability “means a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the fields aforementioned.” The next subcategory is for those filing with an advanced degree. If individuals file as a professional with an advanced degree then the person must possess such a degree required for the job or a foreign equivalent. An alternate requirement to the advanced degree requirement is an individual that holds a baccalaureate or foreign degree plus 5 years of relevant work experience after completing the requirements for the baccalaureate degree. In other words post-baccalaureate experience.  The last sub-category is for individuals filing under the National Interest Waiver section. These individuals request the Department of Labor to waive certain requirements because it is in the interest of the U.S. Even though the jobs that qualify for NIWs are not set forth by statute, typically this category is for individuals that have demonstrated exceptional ability and whose employment will be of great benefit to the U.S. It is important to keep in mind that individuals seeking a NIW do not require an employer-sponsor but may self-petition. 

Employment Based-3 entails: Individuals who have at least relevant work experience in the appropriate field for two years at a skilled level. This category includes professionals with a baccalaureate degree; or other workers with less than two years relevant work experience but is qualified to perform a job at a level in an area where workers are unavailable in the U.S.  

Permanent Residency through Special Category Jobs entail: Specialized jobs that have been identified by the Department of Homeland Security that do not fall within one of the aforementioned categories but are of importance to qualify through a different process and petition. These jobs require the completion of Form I-360 and some of the jobs include:

  • Religious Worker
  • Panama Canal Employee
  • Physician NIW
  • International Organization Employee
  • Certain Language Translators
  • Broadcasters
  • Special Immigrant Amerasians
  • Individuals Who Helped the U.S. Government

The most common process for obtaining employment-based permanent residency includes the following steps:

  • First Step: The individual must obtain an employer sponsor if required by the category. 
  • Second Step: A Labor Certification Application must be filed with the Department of Labor for the particular job that is being offered to the individual. Keep in mind that prior to filing this application several intricate steps must completed successfully and within the requirements of the process. Failure to complete each and every requirement can lead to a denial of the application by the Department of Labor. Of all the steps, this is by far the most complex and complicated. Obtaining the assistance of a knowledgeable and experienced attorney to handle this step is key to the process. 
  • Third Step: Upon receiving certification from the Department of Labor a Petition for Alien Worker must be filed with USCIS. 
  • Fourth Step: Once the Petition for Alien Worker is approved, USCIS will review the Application to Adjust Status if the individual is within the U.S If the person is abroad, the U.S. Consulate will review the immigrant application. The Application for Adjustment of Status can be filed concurrently if available according to the visa numbers for the particular employment-based category. It is at this step that qualifying family members can also file to adjust status to obtain permanent residency or file at the U. S. Consulate, whichever is applicable to the particular case. 

The Serrano Law Firm serves individuals and companies of all sizes in this complex process. To obtain a customized strategic plan for permanent residency, call our attorneys for a consultation.