TN Visa & Green Card

General Description of the Employment-based Permanent Residency (Green Card) Process.

1. Overview:

A foreign citizen may obtain lawful permanent resident ("LPR") status (i.e., a green card) through two options: (i) family based or (ii) employment based immigration. Through family-based immigration, a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident can sponsor his or her close family members for permanent residence. Through employment-based immigration, a foreign citizen may obtain a green card based on an offer from a U.S. employer for permanent employment.

2. Five Employment-Based Preference Categories:

The U.S. immigration laws provide five basic categories (referred to as "preferences") under which a foreign citizen may obtain permanent residence in the U.S. based on employment. The five employment-based ("EB") preference categories are as follows:

3. Basic Employment-based Green Card Process:

The permanent residence process for employment based green cards generally includes a three-part procedure involving the U.S. Department of Labor ("DOL"), Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS"), and the U.S. Department of State ("DOS"). The following are the three stages: 

Stage I: DOL – Application for Employment Certification (PERM).

Stage II: USCIS - Petition for Immigrant Worker (I-140).

Stage III (2 Options):

Option 1: DOS - Immigrant Visa Processing (IVP).

Option 2: USCIS - Adjustment of Status (AOS).


Revised June 3, 2010.