Business immigration is what is commonly known as “employment-based immigration” (EB immigration). EB immigration is the process by which an individual can acquire U.S. legal residency through a business or employment opportunity. Most of these cases require that three steps be achieved in order for the individual to obtain U.S. permanent residency.
The first step is to obtain approval from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) through the PERM labor certification process. In order to receive DOL approval, the prospective employer must document the unavailability of U.S. worker for the position being offered to the individual. Furthermore, the employer must certify that it will pay the foreign national at a minimum the “prevailing wage” for the position being offered based on the individual’s education and/or experience. Please note that some cases, such as EB-1 (Priority Workers), EB-2 (Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability) with a National Interest waiver, EB-4 (Certain Special Immigrants), and EB-5 (Immigrant Investors), do not require a labor certification.
The next step requires that the U.S. employer file a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of the applicant. The employer must attest that it has the resources to pay the foreign worker the advertised wage and that the foreign worker meets the qualifications for the position. In certain situations the foreign national may self-petition, and therefore not require a petitioning employer. These cases include EB-1, EB-2 with a National Interest waiver, EB-4 and EB-5.
After the approval of the above petition, the foreigner may then be eligible to file for an immigrant visa in order to enter the U.S. as a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR), or if already in the U.S., file to adjust status to that of an LPR. There may, however, be a delay in filing either application. The wait time will depend on which preference category the case falls under, as well as what country the foreign national is from.
The spouse and minor unmarried children, under the age of 21, may also qualify to apply for permanent residence under the same approved petition.
However, a foreign national may not be eligible for permanent residency if he or she falls under one or more grounds of inadmissibility. In some cases, an application for waiver of grounds of inadmissibility may also need to be filed in order to be considered for permanent residency.
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