Welcome to the USA. Immigration Welcome Letter and Green Card Closeup. United States Homeland Security.
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By Yadira Zepeda
Managing Attorney

If you have ever dreamed of living in Texas but thought your foreign citizenship would get in the way, you will probably be happy to know that there is a path for you to get permanent residency in the Lone Star State. This is because you can use your employment skills to get a green card. Many employers in Texas are looking for workers with specialized skills, and are willing to sponsor foreigners to immigrate here for work. If this is something that interests you, an experienced immigration attorney in Texas can help you get the process started. 

What is a green card? 

The card that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issues to permanent resident aliens has historically had a green color. This is why it has acquired the name “green card.” This also might be seen as giving foreign workers a green light to a future as an American citizen. Others may prefer to retain the citizenship of their home country while getting the employment and foreign entry advantages of having a green card. There are many paths that one can use to get a green card, but probably the most optimal path is through employment. There is an understanding that the United States benefits by attracting skilled workers from around the world who are drawn here for employment reasons and to build a better life. This is why USCIS has created a number of different categories for immigrant work visas. 

What are the immigrant visa categories for foreign workers? 

There are three different categories for foreign workers who are considering immigrating to America. The first preference is for the most talented people, those who have demonstrated an extraordinary ability in the science, arts, education, business, and athletics. This category is the EB-1 visa and it is also used for professors, researchers, multinational managers, and executives as well. If you fall into one of these groups, then you should consider this visa. The second preference is the EB-2 and it is for professionals with advanced degrees. This includes lawyers, physicians, dentists, and those holding Masters of Business Administration and similar degrees. 

You can also apply if you have demonstrated an exceptional ability in your particular field even if you haven’t obtained a degree beyond a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Sciences. 

The third preference is for skilled workers and other professions not covered by the first two categories. This is the EB-3 visa, and it is a way to get a green card even if you don’t have a college degree. All you need to demonstrate is at least two years of experience in your particular field. However, there is a backlog of EB-3 visa applications, so it is better if you can demonstrate your qualification for an EB-1 or EB-2 visa. 

What are the employment requirements? 

In order to sponsor a foreign worker for an immigrant visa, the prospective employer must be a United States employer offering a full-time position based in the United States. The employer must show that it has made a good faith effort to hire American workers, and that it is willing and able to pay the prevailing wage for the type of position it is sponsoring. 

What is the process for getting a green card? 

There are three steps to getting sponsored and approved for permanent residency status. First, your prospective employer will have to get approval from the United States Department of Labor. This Labor Certification is done through a process called PERM and requires proof that your employer made a good-faith effort to find a qualified US worker for the job. It also requires a showing that your employment will not adversely impact other workers in your field by paying you the prevailing wage for similar employees. 

The second step is for your prospective employer to file a petition for an immigrant visa on Form I-140. This is filed with the USCIS together with all of your supporting documentation. If your home country uses an official language other than English, you will need to get these documents translated. 

Once the petition is granted, you will need to apply for your immigrant visa. If you are outside of the United States, you will need to do consular processing at the US embassy or consulate in your home country. This can be done by filing a Form DS-260 electronically. You will then be invited for an immigrant visa interview at the US embassy or consulate nearest to your home. If you are already inside of the United States under a nonimmigrant visa, you will file a Form I-485 with the USCIS for an adjustment of status. Once the process is completed, you will be issued a green card. 

If you are considering permanent residency in Texas, our firm can help you with the process Using your employment skills and experience is a great way to get permanent resident alien status in Texas. However, the path is not easy and you will need a skilled and experienced immigration attorney to assist you. The Zepeda Law Firm, PLLC looks forward to helping you achieve your dream.

About the Author
Yadira Zepeda, is the principal attorney and founder of Zepeda Law Firm, PLLC. With over 18 years of immigration law experience, representing people from around the world, she is recognized in her field and community as an expert in the U.S. Immigration laws. She has built her practice on mostly referrals as her aim has always been to be more intimate and personal with clientele. While other firms have paralegals conduct consultations, she handles all initial consults with clients and oversees each case. Her goal is to provide kindness and sincerity to each case in a very intimidating process.