There are three main stages to the overall Green Card Process:
- PERM – Labor Certification Petition filed by the employer to the U.S. Dept of Labor (DOL) after pre-filing steps are complete (see more on pre-filing steps further below at **). Once filed, PERM cases are presently taking approximately 12 months if not audited (or approximately 18 months if audited).
- I-140 – Petition filed by the employer to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) requesting classification as eligible to get your immigrant visa based on employment. Once filed, I-140 cases typically take about 6-9 months (or as short as 15 days if Premium Processing is chosen).
- I-485 – Application filed by the employee to the CIS requesting your actual adjustment from non-immigrant to immigrant status and culminating in the issuance of the actual green card. In some cases (depending on the processing backlogs of the government at the time of filing), the I-140 Petition and I-485 Application may be filed concurrently. (Note, there is no ability to Premium Process an I-485 Application).
**Below are the key steps between case initiation and the PERM (9089) filing below:
Please note: Variation occurs on a case-by-case basis as to the precise order of all steps, and whether certain steps would be sequential or concurrent, but generally speaking, below is the overall order.
- Request for Scope of Services from employee
- Requests for initial information from employee and employer
- Assistance with initial inquiries
- Review of information for completeness
- Subsequent requests for remaining information and clarifications from the employer, and receipt of information from follow-up requests
- Comprehensive legal review and development of a strategy for the case with internal documentation and any necessary advice sessions
- Drafting the Green Card (GC) case job description (it is drafted in an advertisement format)
- Communication of the GC job description (ad) with the employer for reviews, finalization, and approval by the employer and approval via internal legal review
- Qualifications verification process (based on all specific details contained in the finalized job description/ad) with employee
- File the Prevailing Wage request form 9141 and receive a determination by the DOL (a determination will take about 180-240 days, based on present timeframes)
- Receiving approval on the wage from the employer
- Preparing for the active advertisements/recruitment
- Active advertisements/recruitment stage (minimum 30+ days)
- Employer finalizes applicant reviews if they received any applicants (this time varies from 30-150 days)
- Drafting the PERM Form (9089)
- Internal legal reviews of the PERM form
- Reviews by employer and employee of the PERM form
- Electronic filing of the PERM form with DOL