The H1B visa is the most popular nonimmigrant US work visa that foreigners get to work in the United States. The H1B visa is granted to non-US citizens for a maximum of 6 years. After the H1B expires, visa holders are required to return to their home country or apply for H1B visa extension. However, H1B visa holders who want to become permanent residents of the United States can get a US Green Card. Your sponsoring employer can file a petition and begin the H1B visa to Green Card transition process for you.
H1B to Green card process
Transitioning from the H1B visa to Green Card is a way to become a lawful permanent resident through employment in the United States. The H1B to Employment-based Green Card or H1B to Green Card process must be initiated by the employer of a visa holder in the United States.
Categories of employment-based Green Card
Employment-based preference immigrant categories include:
First preference (EB-1): Priority workers including:
- Aliens in the US with extraordinary ability in science, arts, education, business, or athletics.
- Outstanding professors and researchers.
- Certain managers and executives employed in multinational organizations.
Second preference (EB-2): Foreign nationals who hold advanced degrees or demonstrate exceptional ability.
- Positions that require at least a master’s degree
- Positions that require at least bachelor’s degree + minimum 5-year’s relevant experience
- Positions in the arts/ sciences/ education/ business that require special ability
- Positions in the national interest
Third preference (EB-3): Skilled professionals, workers as well as other workers
- Skilled positions require at least 2 years’ training or experience
- Unskilled positions that require 2 years’ training or experience
- Professional positions requiring at least a bachelor’s degrees from a US university or college or its equivalent form a non-US college
Individuals currently living outside the US can refer to Consular Processing to know how to apply for a Green Card as a family preference immigrant.
Transitioning from the H1B visa to Green Card
You need to follow the below steps to transition from an H1B visa to a Green Card:
Step 1: PERM Labor Certification
PERM stands for Program Electronic Review Management. Individuals who come under EB-2 visa and EB-3 visa categories must apply for PERM Labor Certification. It includes prevailing wage determination, recruitment and ETA Form 9089.
- Prevailing wage determination: You are required to get a prevailing wage determination from the US Department of Labor (DOL). The prevailing Wage Determination provides information to the DOL regarding the job responsibilities, requirements and location. Once DOL approves the PWD, the employer will use it as the base salary requirement for the job.
- Recruitment: The employer needs to carry out a series of mandatory recruitment processes to ensure that no US citizen is qualified or willing to fill the open position through 2 Sunday newspaper job postings, a job recruitment with the state’s workforce agency, and 3 other advertisements.
- ETA Form 9098: After the PWD and recruitment step, your employer needs to file ETA Form 908, Application for Employment Certification with the Department of Labor, electronically or by mail.
Step 2: Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien worker
Once the ETA Form 9089 has been approved, your employer must file Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. Form I-140 certifies that the non-US applicant is eligible for an immigrant visa based on employment and the US employer will pay the worker wage advertised in the PERM phase. In case of the current priority date of the employee, Form I-140 can be filed similarly with the I-485 application to adjust status. The process is known as ‘concurrent’ filing.
Step 3: Form I-485, Adjustment of Status
Individuals who meet certain requirements need to file Form I-485, Application to adjust status or Register Permanent Residence to apply for a Green Card. You can apply for a H1B to Green Card transition without leaving the country. The process is known as “Adjustment of Status.”
In the meantime, the employee can apply for the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and Advance Parole.
Once the Form I-485 is approved, the employee will receive a stamp in his/ her passport. After that you will get the physical Green Card after successfully changing your status from H1B visa to Green Card holder.
Green card application fees
When applying for a H1B visa to Green Card transition, the applicable Green Card application fees must be paid to the USCIS. Your employer will pay a part of the cost, however, you will also be required to pay some fees yourself.
Additional costs may be applicable for hiring an immigration attorney.
H1B visa holders and Green Card holders of Indian origin may have several India-related queries. To get tailor-made answers/ solutions, you can download SBNRI App from the Google Play Store or App Store. You can also use the SBNRI app for investment in stock market/ mutual funds, NRI account opening, tax filing, etc. To ask any questions, click on the button below. Also, visit our blog and YouTube channel for more details.