Central Florida Employment Immigration Attorneys
Professional Legal Guidance for Immigrating Workers
If you wish to work in the United States, you will need a lawful permanent resident card or an employment visa.
- Lawful permanent resident cards confer lawful permanent residency, allowing you to live anywhere in the United States, and permit you to work.
- Employment visas enable recipients to work in certain types of occupations for a set period of time. Most permanent and temporary worker visas require that you secure a permanent offer of employment from a U.S. employer.
Our employment immigration lawyers at Central Florida Immigration Attorneys will educate you and guide you through the process to obtain a lawful permanent resident card or an employment visa. We have over 20 years of combined legal experience and can leverage our knowledge to assist you and your sponsoring employer in navigating what can be a complex and confusing system.
One of our founding attorneys previously served as a former immigration services officer adjudicator, giving our team a complete, multifaceted understanding of the U.S. immigration system.
Obtaining a Lawful Permanent Resident Card Through Employment-Based Immigration
If you hope to eventually become a permanent U.S. citizen or have the freedom to work anywhere in the country, you will first need to become a lawful permanent resident. . To qualify for a lawful permanent resident card, you will in most cases need to secure a permanent offer of employment from a U.S.-based company that is willing to sponsor you.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issues a maximum of 140,000 work-based lawful permanent resident cards each year. These visas are issued through a preference category system. Our team will evaluate your education, experience, and accomplishments to determine if you qualify for one of the available categories.
Employment-Based Lawful Permanent Resident Cards Categories Include:
- EB-1 Visas for Individuals with Extraordinary Ability – For workers whose accomplishments have earned them national or international acclaim. Applicants do not necessarily need a permanent job offer to obtain a lawful permanent resident card. This category also includes multinational executives and managers who are seeking to transfer to U.S. branches.
- EB-2 Visas for Individuals with Advanced Degrees – For workers with a master’s degree or foreign equivalent. Workers with a bachelor’s degree and at least 5 years of relevant work experience can also be eligible. Those with “exceptional” abilities in the arts, science, or business industries can qualify for the EB-2 visa without a specific degree requirement. National Interest Waivers can also be issued to certain applicants whose work is deemed in the national interest of the United States.
- EB-3 Visas for Professionals, Skilled Workers, and Unskilled Workers – For a wide range of applicants.
- “Professionals” include those with a bachelor’s degree or foreign equivalent.
- Skilled workers refer to workers who are qualified to fill a job that requires at least 2 years of professional experience or training.
- Unskilled workers include workers who can fill a job that requires less than 2 years of experience or training. These jobs may not involve agricultural work.
- EB-4 Visas for Certain Special Immigrants – For workers in religious vocations, those who work with the U.S. abroad, and other miscellaneous subcategories.
- EB-5 Visas for Immigrant Investors – For foreign investors that are willing to invest at least $500,000 in a qualifying economically distressed area or at least $1,000,000 in an endeavor that creates U.S. jobs.
Your sponsoring employer will need to initiate the lawful permanent resident card application process by undergoing Program Electronic Review Management (PERM) labor certification. This step is intended to prove that there are no domestic workers available to fill a role.
After you work with your sponsoring employer to submit all necessary documentation to USCIS, you will receive a “priority date” that effectively determines your place in line. Depending on the category you applied through, you may face a substantial wait before a visa becomes available. Our employment immigration attorneys can assess the current Visa Bulletin and set clear expectations on how long you should expect to wait.
Once your application is approved and a visa becomes available, you will be able to proceed with an adjustment of status or consular processing depending on your visa. If you are currently in the United States on a temporary worker visa, you can likely request an adjustment of status without having to leave the country. If you are currently abroad, you will instead schedule a consular processing appointment with your U.S. embassy or consular office.
Obtaining an Employment Visa
Not all nonimmigrant visas can lead to lawful permanent resident cards. Some visas will require that you prove that you intend to leave the United States once your status expires. However, certain types of worker visas are considered “dual intent visas,” meaning that beneficiaries can enter the United States with the intention of eventually applying for a lawful permanent resident card.
Our legal team can assist you with many types of dual intent worker visas, including:
- H-1B Visas for Workers in Specialty Occupations. Foreign workers can be hired by U.S. employers to fill “specialty occupations” on a temporary basis if there is a shortage of qualified domestic employees. H-1B visas are initially valid for 3 years but can be extended for a maximum total of 6 years.Recipients are permitted to apply for lawful permanent resident card through an offer of permanent employment or marriage to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.
- O Visas for Individuals with Extraordinary Abilities or Achievements. O visas can be challenging to initially obtain but offer a tremendous level of flexibility. Under this visa, individuals with nationally or internationally recognized achievements can work in their chosen field in the United States. The visa can initially last for up to 3 years but can be extended an unlimited number of times. Recipients can procure green cards through marriage or a permanent offer of employment.
- P Visas for Athletes and Entertainers. Internationally recognized artists and entertainers can obtain this visa to facilitate their participation in a United States-based event. The P visa can initially be valid for up to 1 year but can be renewed an unlimited number of times. Beneficiaries can seek lawful permanent resident card through marriage or a sponsoring employer.
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