You can become a permanent resident through a job or offer of employment. For certain categories, it requires a certification from the US Department of Labor that shows that there are not enough US workers who can or able, willing, qualified and available in that particular geographic area where the immigrant seeking a green card is to be employed.
In addition, it should also have proof that no American workers are displaced by such foreign workers. In specific cases, highly skilled workers with extraordinary ability in certain professions, and investors/entrepreneurs are given permission to immigrate through various immigrant categories. Whichever the case is, the path to a green card is a long and winding one.
In most cases, this classification needs an employer to get labor certification and the employer has to file form I-140, Immigrant petition for Alien worker.
After getting approved of Labor Certification, domestic employees and unskilled workers have to wait for a quite a period before they can apply for a green card based on employment. This is because only a limited number of visas are available under this classification every year. After this petition is approved, the USCIS (formerly the INS) will send a notice of approval to the petitioner and send the approval to the National Visa Center. This petition will be in the visa center until an immigration visa number becomes available.
Once you get an immigrant visa number, you have to get permission to live and work permanently in the U.S through conditional permanent residence. If you are in the US, you can apply to adjust your status to a lawful permanent resident by filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status with the USCIS. If you are outside the US when an immigrant visa number becomes available, you will complete the process and get a visa number at US Consulate.
You will be required to submit certain supporting documents and fees. Furthermore, before you get the visa, you have to undergo a medical examination. This examination will be done by a doctor designated by the consular officer and if you are in the US, it will be designated by the USCIS. In addition to the visa fees, you should bear the entire costs involved in the examination process.
If there are more qualified applicants under this category than the prescribed numbers, the category will be considered oversubscribed. In such cases, visas will be issued in the chronological order in which the petitions were filed till the prescribed numerical limit for the category is reached. Immigrant visas will not be issued until an applicant’s priority date is reached. The applicant’s priority date is the filing date of a petition.