Employment Green Card Frequently Asked Questions

What is an employment-based green card?

An employment-based green card grants permanent residency in the United States to foreign nationals based on their employment or job offer from a U.S. employer. There are various employment-based immigrant categories (EB categories) that determine eligibility.

What are the different employment-based immigrant categories (EB categories)?

There are five main EB categories:

EB-1: Priority Workers (including individuals with extraordinary ability, outstanding professors and researchers, and multinational managers or executives).

EB-2: Professionals with Advanced Degrees or Exceptional Ability.

EB-3: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers.

EB-4: Special Immigrants (including religious workers and certain government employees).

EB-5: Immigrant Investors (investors who create jobs in the U.S.).

Can I apply for an employment-based green card on my own, or does my employer have to sponsor me?

Sponsoring yourself for an employment-based green card in the United States is possible but it comes with certain challenges and limitations. While most employment-based green cards require an employer to sponsor you, there are a few categories where self-sponsorship is an option. Consult with your immigration attorney for guidance.

What is the process for obtaining an employment-based green card through employer sponsorship?

The process generally involves the following steps:

Labor Certification: For most EB categories, the employer must obtain a labor certification (PERM) from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to demonstrate the unavailability of U.S. workers for the position.

Immigrant Petition: The employer files an immigrant petition (Form I-140) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on your behalf.

Priority Date: USCIS assigns a priority date based on the filing date of the immigrant petition.

Visa Bulletin: You must wait for your priority date to become current in the Visa Bulletin, as this determines when you can proceed with the final stages of the process.

Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing: Depending on your immigration status, you may apply for an adjustment of status (Form I-485) if you are in the U.S. or go through consular processing if you are outside the U.S.

Green Card Interview: If required, attend an interview with USCIS.

Green Card Approval: Upon approval, you receive your green card, granting you permanent residency.

How long does it take to get an employment-based green card?

The processing time for an employment-based green card varies depending on factors such as your EB category, country of chargeability, and USCIS processing times. It can take several months to several years.

Can I apply for an employment-based green card while in the U.S. on a non-immigrant visa (e.g., H-1B or L-1)?

Yes, you can apply for an employment-based green card while in the U.S. on a valid non-immigrant visa, but you must maintain your non-immigrant status until you receive your green card.

Can my family members also obtain green cards through my employment-based green card application?

Yes, your spouse and unmarried children under 21 may be eligible to apply for green cards as your derivative beneficiaries, based on your employment-based green card application.

Can I change employers while my employment-based green card application is pending?

Changing employers during the green card process can be complex, and it may require starting the process over with the new employer. Consult with your immigration attorney for guidance.

Is there a numerical cap on employment-based green cards?

There is an annual numerical limit on employment-based green cards for each EB category and country. Some categories have backlogs, while others do not.

Can I apply for U.S. citizenship (naturalization) after obtaining an employment-based green card?

Yes, you may be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship through the naturalization process after being a lawful permanent resident for a specified period, typically five years (or three years if married to a U.S. citizen).
Ross Gregory
Ross Gregory
Tony Montana
Tony Montana
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Dana Davidson - Full Bio

Dana T. Davidson holds degrees from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and State University of New York at Stony Brook and has been practicing immigration law since 2003 in New York and nationwide. She represents corporations, individuals, and families in a broad range of immigration matters. Attorney Davidson has offices in New York City and Glen Cove.


  • Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University, New York, New York
  • Juris Doctor – 1988
  • Honors: Moot Court Board, Member, Judge
  • State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, New York
  • Bachelor of Arts – 1982
  • Major: Political Science
  • Concentration: Business

Pro-Bono Activities

  • Safe Passage Project, Volunteer Attorney, 2013-Present
  • Educating the Educators, Founder, 2012-Present
  • Momentum Project, Board Member, 1991-1994 Bar Admission
  • New York, Eastern District
  • New York, Southern District
  • Washington, D.C.

Speaking Engagements
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Spring Conference 2018, Berlin, Germany, Speaker on “Public Charge” panel
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Fall Conference 2018, Johannesburg, South Africa, Speaker: “Practice Management in the New Age” panel
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Spring Conference 2018, Madrid, Spain, Speaker: “El Traje de Luces: Self-Sponsored Petitions – EB-1A and NIW”  AILA RDC-EMEA Spring Conference 2017, Brussels, Belgium, Speaker: “Continuing Blanket L Challenges”
  • Safe Passage Project, March 2017, Speaker: “Representing Unaccompanied Minors: Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and the Effects of President Trump’s Executive Orders on Immigration”
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Fall Conference 2016, Speaker: “It’s Not About Money: I-864”
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Spring Conference 2016, Vienna, Austria, Speaker: “K-Visa: Differences Between K-1 and I-130 Processing”
  • New York Institute of Technology’s Center for Entrepreneurship, January 2016, Entrepreneur/Executive-in-Residence
  • AILA Fall Conference 2015, London, UK, Speaker: Impact of joint sponsors on family-based cases
  • Goldman-Sachs 10,000 Small Business Education Program, October 2014, “What is required to grow a business?”
  • Dowling College, May 2013, Keynote Speaker at the first annual Latino Summit at Dowling College
  • International Taxation Conference, 2010