Once the USCIS has approved your employer’s petition, you are granted a green card priority date which is your place in line for a green card. Since the number of green cards which are issued are numerically limited by country and by category, waiting lines sometimes develop. If your employer submitted a PERM application on your behalf, your priority date is the date that the Labor Department received the PERM application. If no PERM application was required (Schedule A, National Interest Waivers, etc.), your priority date is when the USCIS received the visa petition (Form I-140) filed on your behalf.
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“Very professional law firm. We had a difficult issue and Mr. Shusterman’s office got right onto the case and resolved the issue with USCIS. Because of their efforts, me and my family were able to get our Legal Permanent Residency card. My suggestion to those trying to obtain employment based card. Don’t look for money saving attorney. They will cost you lot more in long run. Go to a law firm which is professional and knowledgeable. It pays in the long term.”
- Nilesh Patel, Chicago, Illinois
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As soon as your priority date is current, you can apply for permanent residence.
Most persons qualifying for permanent residence through employment may apply for green cards without leaving the U.S. You must demonstrate to the USCIS that you qualify for adjustment of status and that you do not fall within any of the “excludable” categories. For example, persons convicted of serious crimes seldom qualify for green cards.
Your spouse and children may obtain green cards at the same time as you do. Most of time, no personal interview is required for persons who adjust their status based on an offer of employment.
A little advice about attorneys for immigration: Most persons who seek H-1B visas and lawful permanent residence through employer sponsorship do so with the aid of an attorney. This is wise because immigration laws and procedures tend to be complex.
Do not select an immigration attorney solely on the basis of a referral by a friend or a colleague. Shop around not only for price but for quality. Carefully scrutinize the website of the law firm that you are considering before choosing who will represent you. How much experience do the attorneys have in employment-based immigration law? Are they Certified Specialists in Immigration Law? Treat selecting an attorney as if you life depends on it, because it does!
Permanent Residence: Additional Resources
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Carl Shusterman served as an INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) before opening a firm specializing exclusively in US immigration law. He is a Certified Specialist in Immigration Law who has testified as an expert witness before the US Senate Immigration Subcommittee. Carl was featured in the February 2018 edition of SuperLawyers Magazine.