What is the H1B Visa to Permanent Residency (or H1B Visa to Green Card) Process?

  • One of the most popular work visas in the U.S., the H1B visa is a dual intent visa with a duration of stay up to 6 years (initial duration of stay of 3 years with an extension) with certain exceptions. H1B visa holders may be eligible starting the H1B visa to green card status in the U.S. and can bring immediate family members (such as spouse and children under age 21) to the U.S. as dependents on H-4 visa status.
    • Able to attend school, apply for a driver’s license, and open a U.S. bank account, H-4 visa holders may remain in the U.S. as long as the H1B visa holder retains legal status and apply for eligibility to work in the United States
    • In order to obtain an H1B visa, the employer must file a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the U.S. Department of Labor on behalf of the foreign worker, attesting to wages and working conditions; once the Labor Condition Application is approved, the employer must file a petition requesting H1B classification with necessary supporting documents and fees; once the petition is approved, the foreign worker may either begin work under H1B classification on or after the indicated start of the position if already physically present in the U.S. under valid status or apply for the H1B visa using the approved petition and presenting himself or herself at a U.S. port of entry seeking lawful admission into the U.S.
    • In order to transition from a H1B visa to green card status, the employer must apply for a Permanent Labor (PERM) certification, establishing the prevailing wage for the foreign worker’s position and setting the position’s salary to this amount as well as proving that there are no qualified U.S. candidates for such position; once the PERM certification is approved, the employer must file a petition on behalf of the foreign worker and to file for adjustment of status once the priority date is current.

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