4 Easy Steps from an H-1B to a Green Card

There are multiple visas available for foreign nonimmigrants who want to work in the US, but the H-1B is arguably the most popular. One of the main reasons this visa is so coveted is its dual-intent factor: Holders of the H-1B can apply for permanent lawful residence during their “temporary” stay. If you’re in the US on an H-1B and ready to apply for a Green Card, follow these four steps to successfully accomplish your goal.

How to Know You’re Ready to Apply

Moving from a nonimmigrant to a permanent lawful resident of the US is understandably a big deal. Whatever the reason behind your decision, you’ve spent time in the country under your H-1B and are ready to transfer your status to a Green Card.

Before you apply, there are a few things that you need to have ready. The most important requirement is a sponsor. Typically, this is your US employer, but it can also be a family member who is already an American citizen. Should a relative sponsor an H-1B holder, they must file a relative petition (Form I-130) and an Affidavit of Support (Form I-864) agreeing to be the applicant’s financial sponsor.

When you have a sponsor and are excited to change your citizenship status, it’s best to start as soon as possible. The process can take 6-18 months before the decision is finalized. 

Steps to Transfer Your H-1B to a Green Card

Because the H-1B is a dual intent visa, transferring to a Green Card is a streamlined process. However, any mistake can cause your request to get rejected, so it’s wise to work with an immigration lawyer like Visa2US throughout this endeavor.

Your first step is to ensure your sponsor is qualified to complete this journey with you. If this is the same employer on your visa, they should already be approved by USCIS, but check with your immigration lawyer to be safe. Most foreign workers transitioning to a Green Card are sponsored by employers they have worked with for years that wish to hire the foreign worker for a permanent position.

The employer takes the next step. They must file for a PERM labor certification, short for Program Electronic Review Management. This certification is a test completed and submitted to the US Department of Labor. The PERM asks the employer to verify that there are no qualified, willing, or available US residents without a job who want to do the work and that no one else’s wages are affected if you are provided the permanent job.

Step three occurs after the PERM is approved. The employer completes and files Form I-140, the Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. This petition gives you permission to work in the US and is submitted with the approved PERM certification. USCIS reviews the petition and approves or rejects it. If the petition is approved, you’ll receive an approval notice that tells you how to move to the next step in the Green Card process. The date USCIS receives the petition is called your “priority date,” which holds your spot in the line of Green Card applicants.

The final step is the submission of Form I-485. This form is your petition to change to a permanent resident/adjust your status. It can only be completed once you’ve reached your priority date. After Form I-485 is submitted correctly, there’s nothing left to do but wait for USCIS to review and approve or reject your petition for a Green Card.

What’s Next?

Are you ready to apply for an adjustment of status from an H-1B to a Green Card? Minor mistakes can cause permanent rejections. Don’t take chances on something as important as your future in the US. Contact Visa2US to ensure each step in the process is completed timely and accurately. Our immigration experts are available 24/7 to answer your questions and help you make your stay in the US a permanent one!

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H-1B Visa

H-1B Visa

H-1B visa is used by businesses and organizations in the United States to employ foreign nationals with the preferred qualifications, knowledge, and expertise in a role.

I-485 Adjustment of Status

I-485 Adjustment of Status

Submit a form I-485 application to apply for lawful permanent resident status.

National Interest Waiver (NIW)

National Interest Waiver (NIW)

An applicant must either hold an advanced degree or have an exceptional ability in their field that would substantially benefit the U.S. to be qualified.