Working in the USA with an Employment-Based Green Card


Obtaining an employment-based Green Card is arguably one of the most common routes into the USA for immigrants. As with other immigrant visas, it involves going through an application process with USCIS and receiving approval.

To explain things more clearly, let’s go through the process of getting an employment-based Green Card and the different classifications.

Employment-Based Green Card

Obtaining an Employment-Based Green Card

Getting a Green Card requires the applicant to have a petitioner. This is someone who’s already a US citizen (or lawful permanent resident); they basically act as a sponsor and reference for your application.

Unsurprisingly, for an employment-based Green Card, the petitioner will be your potential employer. As part of the petition, they must show why they’re seeking a worker from outside the US for that particular job. It’s not something you as the applicant would need to worry about – it’s just for the employer to show why they can’t hire an American to do the job.

Once your employer files an immigrant petition with the USCIS, they must also file an EB-2 form if you are offered employment with a US company and hold an advanced college degree. On the other hand, if you have been offered employment in the US and you hold a Bachelor’s degree, are a skilled worker with at least two years of training, or an unskilled worker with less than two years of training, your sponsoring company must file an EB-3 form.

After completing the petition, the rest of the application process is basically the same as with any other type of Green Card. If you’re already based in the US (for example, you’re adjusting your status from nonimmigrant), you’ll have to attend a meeting at a processing center.

However, if you haven’t yet moved to the US, you’ll go through consular processing. It involves the same steps, except it’s handled at your country’s US embassy or consulate instead.

EB-2 Immigrant Visa

If you hold an advanced degree and are applying for an EB-2 immigrant visa, you’ll need to know which category applies to you. You can select one of the following:

  • The EB-2 (A) is for professionals who have an offer from a US company for employment and hold an advanced college degree. 
  • The EB-2 (B) is for professionals who have demonstrated excellence in business or the arts and sciences and have an offer of employment from a US company.
  • The EB-2 (C) is for immigrants who demonstrate excellence in a specific skill or hold an advanced college degree. You must also show that your abilities will benefit the US in some way.

Once you are awarded an employment-based Green Card, you are then a lawful permanent resident of the US and can work in the USA.  You may also apply for an immigrant visa for your spouse and children.

You can change jobs after getting your employment-based Green Card. While there aren’t any legal restrictions on when you can do this, it’s best to wait 6-12 months after becoming an LPR. Leaving your job too fast could cause a USCIS investigation, as they might check whether the job offer was genuine or an example of immigration fraud.

You will find a step-by-step guide on applying for the EB-2 Immigrant Visa on US Green Card Advice. They also have a selection of the best immigration lawyers if you need additional advice.

EB-3 Immigrant Visa

If you hold a Bachelor’s degree from a college in your home country and you have been offered employment to work in the USA, you’ll have to check which EB-3 visa is most appropriate for you. They include the following:

  • The EB-3 (A) applies to professionals who have an offer of employment and hold a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college in their country of origin. 
  • The EB-3 (B) applies to workers who have at least two years of experience or training in a particular skill and have been offered employment with a US company.
  • The EB-3 (C) immigrant visa is for unskilled workers who have been offered employment with a US company. The position typically requires less than two years of experience or training in a particular field.

Similar to the EB-2 immigrant visa, an EB-3 allows you to work in the USA as a lawful permanent resident and you can apply for an immigrant visa for your spouse and your children under the age of 21. Both types of employment-based visas also allow you to travel outside of the US for a specified period.

The same argument about changing jobs is true here. As an LPR, you have all the same rights regarding work as other Green Card holders. However, the nature of the Green Card means you must be more careful in that particular area than other visa holders.

Think of it the same as getting a Green Card through marriage. Getting divorced soon after can look suspicious in the same way that leaving your job soon after getting an employment-based Green Card would.

You will find a step-by-step guide on applying for the EB-3 Immigrant Visa on US Green Card Advice. They also have a selection of the best immigration lawyers if you need additional advice.

Other Employment-Based Green Card Categories

EB-2 and EB-3 are the most common categories of employment visas, but there are others. Unsurprisingly, there’s EB-1, which is for people of “extraordinary ability”. It’s a pretty vague term, and rightly so. It applies to people who excel in their professional field, whatever this may be.

For example, it might be an Oscar-winning actor, an artist with international acclaim, a Nobel prize-winning scientist, or similar. The biggest difference between EB-1 and the other visa categories is that these applicants don’t need a job offer. Instead, they just need evidence of their extraordinary ability.

Further down the list is the EB-4 visa. It applies to special immigrant workers, which is another broad category. Generally, it relates to religious occupations (e.g., priests or similar) but has also been used for foreigners who have worked for the US government. For example, EB-4 visas have been granted to Iraqi and Afghan translators, NATO workers, and similar.

The final category is the EB-5 Investment Visa. By investing a minimum of $1 million into an American business, a foreign national can essentially buy a Green Card. The process is a bit more complicated than this, but that’s all you really need to know.

Employment-based Green Card backlog

The backlog for Employment-based Green Cards in 2021 was a stunning 1.4 million. A study made by the CATO Institute can be found here together with the employment-based Green Card timeline 2021

Getting Help with an Employment-Based Green Card

We are here to advise you about the Employment-Based Green Card so just call us anytime or contact our support online.

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