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Permanent Residency – Green Card

Immediate Relatives
Family Preference System
Residency Through Employment
Employment First Category (E1)
Employment Second Category (E2)
Employment Third Category (E3)
Employment Fourth Category (E4)
Employment Fifth Category (E5)
Special Legislation

Our Immigration Law practice group will explain the process, go over every question in the applications with you, prepare the documentation, collect and review the supporting documents and file the case under the name of Garces, Grabler & LeBrocq and prepare you and your relative prior to the interview.

If your relative is out of the country, we will do everything necessary to have the consular interview result in an approval. If you or your relative is in the United States, should you wish to have an attorney accompany you, we will have a lawyer go with you to the adjustment interview.

If you are living in a state that is far from our offices, you may elect to:

  1. Go to the interview without a lawyer (not advisable).
  2. Go to the interview with one of our lawyers.
  3. Or we will hire a lawyer near your home to go to the interview with you.

Obtaining permanent residency (“green card”) grants the applicant, spouse, and minor children lawful permanent residence to live and work in the United States.

There are many ways to obtain lawful permanent residency in the United States:

  • Immediate relatives of United States citizens
  • Individuals who have achieved extraordinary ability in their professions
  • Individuals who qualify to fill an employment position that no American can fill
  • Multinational executives
  • Religious leaders
  • Married or Unmarried Sons or Daughters of United States Citizens over 21 years of Age
  • Married or Unmarried Brothers or Sisters of United States Citizen
  • Spouse or Minor unmarried child of Lawful Permanent Resident
  • Unmarried Child over 21 years old of Lawful Permanent Resident
  • Grant of Refugee or Asylum in the United States
  • Visa Lottery
  • NACARA; Cuban Adjustment Act; HRIFA, and other special legislation

The Visa Bulletin, issued monthly by the United States Department of State, controls the time period (quota) many cases take. Priority dates (date of filing) do not affect Immediate Relatives.

Immediate Relatives

The “Immediate Relative” is an immigrant petition which allows some individuals from other countries to apply for legal permanent residence in the United States on the basis of a family relationship to a United States citizen.

The benefits of this type of visa are:

  1. Immediate relatives receive preferential treatment and are not subject to a quota.
  2. If the relative entered the United States with a visa, he or she will be able to change status in the United States even if they overstayed their visa or worked without permission.

The approval and grant of such visas are subject to the alien not violating any other law(s) or regulation(s).

An immediate relative is:

  1. A spouse of a U.S. citizen.
  2. Parent or step-parent of a U.S. citizen.
  3. A child or step-child of a U.S. citizen.
  4. Spouse of a deceased U.S. citizen.

A step-parent or child will only qualify as an immediate relative if that relationship was created before the child’s eighteenth birthday.

Family Preference System

The Visa Bulletin, a monthly publication of the U.S. Department of State, sets forth the availability of family preference visas for:

  1. Adult children (unmarried and married) of U.S. citizens.
  2. Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens.
  3. Spouses and unmarried children (minor and adult) of lawful permanent residents.

The Priority date is the date that the Petition is filed.

Preference Relationship U.S. Sponsor Visa Allocated:

  • 1st Unmarried adult children, U.S. Citizen — 23,400 Visas/year
  • 2nd A Spouses and minor children, LPR — 87,900 Visas/year
  • 2nd B Unmarried adult children, LPR — 26,300 Visas/year
  • 3rd Married adult children, U.S. Citizen — 23,400 Visas/year
  • 4th Brothers and sisters Adult, U.S. Citizen — 65,000 Visas/year

Residency Through Employment

The Offices of Garces, Grabler & LeBrocq can process any application or petition, whether on behalf of the company or the self petitioning individual. We consult with the individual and/or company and carefully analyze the facts and make recommendations on what is the best procedure to follow. Once retained, we will assist with preparing petitions, applications, documents, correspondence and continue the case through adjustment of status or consular processing.

An individual from another country may permanently immigrate to the United States if he or she fulfills certain conditions. The complexity in this type of case depends upon the education, skill, experience and nationality of the person who wishes to immigrate. Each country has its own quota.

The process of obtaining employment based immigration is broken into various steps:

  • PERM (formerly Labor Certification)
  • Visa Application
  • Adjustment of Status
  • Consular Processing

PERM is required of all categories except the first preference category. But, under special circumstances, this requirement can be waived by filing a National Interest Waiver.

There are currently five (5) employment based preference categories. Under current law, there are a maximum of 140,000 employment based immigrant visas issued each year. The first three preference categories are each allotted approximately 40,000 visas annually plus certain allocations from the preference groups. The last two categories are each allotted approximately 10,000 visas annually. Any unused visas in the first three categories are applied against the demand of any other of the first three preference categories.

The classification of a preference category dictates the complexity, cost and wait of the procedures. The important factors influencing the difficulty of the process include the demand for visas in each category, the number of visas available in each category, whether the category requires a PERM application, and whether a National Interest Waiver is possible under the circumstances.

Employment First Category (E1) — No job offer required

Within this category there are three sub-categories:

  1. Persons of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. Applicants in this category must have extensive documentation showing sustained national or international acclaim and recognition in the field of expertise. Such applicants do not have to have a specific job offer so long as they are entering the U.S. to continue such work in the field in which they have extraordinary ability. These applicants can file their own petition with USCIS (formerly INS) without the need of an employer.
  2. Outstanding professors and researchers with at least three (3) years experience in teaching or research, who are recognized internationally. No PERM is required for this classification, but the prospective employer must provide a job offer and file the petition with the USCIS.
  3. Certain L-1 visa executives and managers who have been employed at least one of the three preceding years by the overseas affiliate, parent, subsidiary, or branch of the U.S. employer. The applicant must be coming to work in a managerial or executive capacity. No PERM is required for this classification, but the prospective employer must provide a job offer and file a petition with the USCIS.

Employment Second Category (E2)

Professionals holding advanced degrees, or persons of exceptional ability in the Arts, Sciences, or Business. All second preference category applicants must have a PERM approved by the Department of Labor (DOL), or Schedule A designation, or establish that they qualify for one of the shortage occupations under the Reduction in Recruitment process (discussed later). A job offer is required and the U.S. employer must file a petition on behalf of the applicant.

Aliens may apply for exemption from the job offer and PERM if the exemption would be in the national interest, in which case the alien may file the petition. Form I-140 along with evidence of the national interest.

There are two subgroups within this category:

  1. Professionals holding an advanced degree (beyond a baccalaureate degree), or a baccalaureate degree and at least five (5) years experience in the profession.
  2. Persons with exceptional ability in the arts, sciences, or business.

Exceptional ability means having a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered within the field.

Employment Third Category (E3)

This group includes skilled workers, professionals holding Baccalaureate Degrees and other workers. This is the category under which most people file. These applicants require an approved I-140 petition filed by the prospective employer. They all require a PERM application (Labor Certification or Schedule A designation), or evidence that they qualify for reduction in recruitment (RIR).

There are three (3) subgroups within this category:

  1. Skilled workers are persons capable of performing a job requiring at least two year’ training or experience.
  2. Professionals with a baccalaureate degree are members of a profession with at least a university bachelor’s degree.
  3. Other workers are those persons capable of filing positions requiring less than two years’ training or experience.

Employment Fourth Category (E4)

These are called Special Immigrants. There are six (6) subgroups:

  1. Religious workers coming to carry on the vocation of a minister of religion, or to work in a professional capacity in a religious vocation, or to work for a tax-exempt organization affiliated with a religious denomination.
  2. Professionals with a baccalaureate degree are members of a profession with at least a university bachelor’s degree.
  3. Former employees of the Panama Canal.
  4. Retired employees of international organizations.
  5. Certain dependents of international organization employees.
  6. Certain members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Employment Fifth Category (E5)

To qualify, an alien must invest between U.S. $500,000.00 and $1,000,000.00, depending on the employment rate in the geographical area, in a commercial enterprise in the United States which creates at least 10 new full-time jobs for U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, or other lawful immigrants, not including the investor and his or her family.

Labor Certification – ETA 750A and B are Department of Labor (DOL) forms. After completion of these forms and complying with all requirements, a labor certification may issue.

The labor certification must establish that the alien will not displace U.S. workers or adversely affect the wages or working conditions of U.S. workers. This is established by demonstrating that no minimally qualified and willing U.S. worker can be found. Alternatively, a position may be pre-certified if the DOL has determined that there are insufficient USC/LPR workers in the field. This is accomplished through a list of pre-certified jobs designated as Schedule A by the DOL. Once a labor certification is approved, the employer files an I-140 employment based visa application on behalf of the alien employee or prospective employee.

PERM – ETA form 9089 has now replaced the “labor certification.” The new process is referred to as PERM (Program Electronic Review Management). An approval is required before the employer may file an I-140 employment based visa application on behalf of the alien employee or prospective employee.

Special Legislation

Diversity Immigrants (Visa Lottery) — The Attorney General determines the number of persons from each foreign country that will be allocated visas and which countries that will not be located visas for any given year. Only one application may be filed per applicant per year or the applications will be disqualified.

Polish and Hungarian Parolees — The Congress in IIRIRA established a special adjustment of status program for persons who:

  1. Are nationals of Hungary and Poland.
  2. Were inspected and granted parole into the U.S. during the period Nov. 1, 1989, to Dec. 31, 1991, after being denied refugee status.
  3. Have been physically present in the U.S. for at least 1 year and physically present on the date the Adjustment of Status Application is made.
  4. Are admissible into the U.S without regard to INS Section 212(a)(4), (5), (7)(A). Each family member must independently qualify and apply separately.

Nicaraguan and Cuban Adjustment — Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act — Provides for adjustment of status for Nicaraguans or Cubans physically present in the U.S. since Dec.1, 1995, if he/she applied for adjustment of status before April 1, 2000. They can adjust even ordered excluded, deported, removed or failed to depart voluntarily after VD order.

Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act of 1998 — Provides for equal treatment for Haitian refugees with Nicaraguans Adjustment and Central American Relief Act. Applications must have been filed at any time between June 11,1999, and March 31, 2000.

Syrian Adjustment Act — Allows for the adjustment of status of Syrian Jews who:

  1. Arrived in U.S. after Dec. 31, 1991, after being allowed to depart Syria by the Syrian government.
  2. Are physically present in the U.S. at the time of filing the adjustment of status application.

The application must have been filed no later than Oct. 26, 2001. The applicant must have been physically present in the U.S. for one year after being granted asylum, must not be firmly resettled in any foreign country, and must be otherwise admissible. A spouse, child, unmarried son or daughter of the principal applicant may also apply.

Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos Adjustment Act — Allows for the adjustment of status of Vietnamese, Cambodian and Laotian Nationals who were paroled into the U.S. before Oct. 1, 1997, and who were physically present on the date and eligible for adjustment.

USA Patriots Act — Provides for special benefits for family members of persons who were victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks by allowing them to become special immigrants or to self petition. It allows for the extension of certain deadlines for children who have become 21, for persons granted voluntary departure or for persons who missed the diversity lottery deadline as a result of the events of September 11, 2001.

To speak with an experienced Immigration attorney immediately call us toll free at 1–800–923–3456 or contact us online to discuss your legal matter today.


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