Once you have your H-1B, you may want to pursue permanent residence here in the U.S. There are several ways you can do this, with the most common one being through your H-1B employer. Getting an employment-based green card from H-1B status requires several complicated steps and is best done with the help of an attorney. That being said, the path from an H-1B visa to a green card is relatively straightforward and is taken by tens of thousands of nonimmigrants every year. This straightforwardness is due to the fact that the H-1B is both extremely popular and also considered to have dual intent, meaning that applying for a green card will not jeopardize your nonimmigrant H-1B status. Check for H1B Visa Process in UT Evaluators
The first step is to find an employer who will sponsor you. This can be your current H-1B employer or a different U.S. employer. The type of green card you pursue should be based on your skills, qualifications, and the position you are being offered. Here are some common choices for H-1B holders:
A. EB-1C: This is for multinational executives and managers (though you must have worked for the multinational company’s foreign branch for at least one year in the three years leading up to your green card application)
B. EB-2: You can merit this by means of having an advanced degree (and a job that requires that degree)
C. EB-3: Because you must have at least a bachelor’s degree to qualify for an H-1B, that will land you in the wheelhouse for this green card.
Although the outcome—legal permanent residence valid for 10 years at a time—is the same, these options differ in two ways: requirements and processing time. We’ve already mentioned the requirements, now let’s talk about how they differ in terms of processing time.
Just like the H-1B application is the I-129 petition, employment-based green cards require the I-140 petition. Once your employer fills this out, sends it, and the USCIS receives it, that date will be your personal priority date. Keep this date handy, since you will need to use it in the coming months.
You will need to check the Department of State’s monthly visa bulletin regularly to check the posted “final action dates”. These are constantly changing and are assigned to you based on your country of origin and the green card you have petitioned for. For example, the final action date for an EB-1 applicant from Australia will likely be different than an EB-3 applicant from India. For H1B Visa Evaluation Visit here
The final action dates move based on how many people from each country (or group of countries) petitioned for the same green card. Usually, the date moves forward, closer to your priority date. However, if too many people from India apply for the EB-2, then the date could end up not moving at all or even moving backward in a process called retrogression. Once the final action date in your category matches or passes your priority date, the latter will be considered current and you will be able to move onto the next step.
Finally, once your priority date is current, you will need to decide between two options: adjustment of status and consular processing. Because you are in the U.S. under a nonimmigrant visa status (H-1B), you will be able to file an I-485 form to have your nonimmigrant status adjusted to an immigrant one. It can take about six months to process the I-485 depending on the service center and there is no way to expedite the process.
On the other hand, it may be faster for you to travel to the U.S. Consulate or Embassy in your home country in a method called consular processing. This involves making an appointment with the consulate or embassy and appearing for a one-on-one interview with a consular officer. Depending on your situation this can make the H-1B to green card processing time shorter and the cost cheaper.