Starting With the H-1B Visa
For decades, foreign nationals have made a substantial impact on the US economy, filling vacancies that would otherwise have remained empty due to a lack of skilled, qualified, and willing American workers. These individuals are given the right to work and live in the US legally via work visas, with the most popular category being the H-1B visa.
Under this category, individuals with bachelor's degrees or higher and professional skills may register for the ability to obtain one of a limited number of these visas. Historically, 65,000 regular visas are given out annually, chosen through a random lottery selection process, with an additional 20,000 available for those with advanced degrees. There are also H-1B visas for cap-exempt jobs that don’t require a lottery for approval.
H-1B visas are sought after due to their many benefits, including the requirement of the employer to cover the visa’s costs and pay a high prevailing wage. They also permit the beneficiary’s family (spouse and dependent children) to live in the US with them, attend school, and apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
Another coveted benefit is the ability for the beneficiary and their family to file for Permanent Residency via a Green Card. If the employer is willing to sponsor the worker, they assume the financial responsibility and complete the paperwork, which leads us to the next term, EB-2 Green Card Transfer.
EB-2 Visas and Green Card Transfers
The EB2 Visa (called an EB2 Green Card) is an employment-based visa in the second preference category. It gives the beneficiary permanent resident status and is only available to foreign nationals with an advanced degree or equivalent who also have “exceptional ability” through significant expertise in their field.
EB-2 visas are available in EB-2A for Advanced Degree holders, EB-2B for those with Exceptional Abilities, and EB-2C for National Interest Waiver recipients.
Only 40,000 Green Cards in each category are allotted annually. The number available is displayed monthly in the EB2 Visa Bulletin.
Recipients of the EB-2 Green Card must meet the labor certification requirements unless they qualify under the National Interest Waiver. Obtaining this visa doesn’t give the holder an immediate Green Card, but it does permit them and their spouse and unmarried children to live and work in the US until their transfer from an H-1B to an EB-2 Green Card is processed.
Maintaining lawful immigration status throughout this period is vital to your approval. Talk to your immigration attorney to ensure you’ve completed the I-485 petition correctly after USCIS has approved the employer’s I-140, then watch the Visa Bulletin to determine when it’s time to file for your Green Card.
The Department of Labor Visa Bulletin
Each month, the Department of Labor (DoL) releases an official notice that informs those waiting for Green Cards when they can expect to file. Called the Visa Bulletin, this resource is a vital reference point for hundreds of thousands of people every year.
In the bulletin, the DoL announces whether it will use the Date of Filing or Final Action Date to move forward with Green Card petitions. It’s broken down by visa category and country of origin. When your date for filing or final action date and country match those on the Visa Bulletin, it’s time for you to take the last step in the Permanent Resident process.
Timing your H-1B transfer and awaiting an official Green Card is a delicate balance. When you work with Visa2US to develop a strategy for your situation, the process becomes easier, and your chances of success are maximized.
Whether you want to hire an employee under an H-1B specialty occupation visa or you’re ready to initiate the EB-2 Green Card transfer, our expert immigration attorneys at Visa2US are here to guide your steps.