Sponsoring an employee for a green card: Employer requirements

On Behalf of | Feb 4, 2021 | Business Immigration

Whether you are looking to sponsor one of your current employees to become a permanent resident, or wish to sponsor a potential employee, there are several steps and requirements that both the foreign national and you, the employer, must fulfill.

By sponsoring an employee, you reserve a place in line for them to apply for a green card in their specific category. Even after you sponsor an employee, it can take some time for their visa to be approved. Once you know that you need to sponsor an employee for permanent residence, it’s important to begin the process as soon as you can.

What employees can a business sponsor?

Employers in the U.S. may sponsor foreign workers who qualify under any of the employment-based (EB) visa programs.

  • EB-1 for priority workers with a history of outstanding ability
  • EB-2 for foreign nationals with advanced degrees or who have demonstrated exceptional ability in the arts, sciences or business
  • EB-3 for professionals with a baccalaureate degree, as well as skilled workers in positions for which there are not enough qualified U.S. applicants
  • EB-4 for special immigrants such as religious workers

Steps an employer needs to take

The steps you need to take as an employer may depend on the EB category your employee falls into.

For foreign workers who qualify for an EB-1, EB-2 or EB-3 visa, your business will need to file a Form I-140 with USCIS. For EB-2 and EB-3 visas, however, you must first file a labor certification with the Department of Labor before you begin Form I-140.

EB-4 visas require you to file Form I-360 with USCIS.

Once these forms are filed with USCIS, your qualifying employee will receive a priority date which reflects their place in line among other workers in their EB category.

What is next?

Timing can widely vary when sponsoring new or existing employees. High demand and caps on the number of accepted applicants may extend waiting times. Depending on the timing, the foreign national and their EB category, there may be a substantial wait time or there may even be no wait time at all. Once you file your petition, you will be able to track its progress on the USCIS website. When your petition is approved, the employee will be contacted to complete any further steps.