How to Convert H1B to Green Card? – Process, Fees, and Eligibility Key Points: H1B Visas are employment-based and are issued for 6 years. It has dual intent, which can later be converted into a Green card. H1B to Green card application process: Apply for PERM. Fill I-140 Fill and submit form I-485 H1B to Green card timeline : Around 12–15 months H1B to Green card process fee : $10,000 approximately
Are you working on an H1B Visa and decided to settle down in the US? That’s a big step, and you need permanent citizenship for it. Transitioning from an H1B to Green card will open doors to possibilities like owning a house,
getting a business credit card, and quick loan processing.
However, there are many documents required and steps involved in the process. So let’s understand the H1B visa to green card process, eligibility, and requirements. Let’s jump into the blog to learn more.
What is an H1B Visa and Green Card?
H-1B is an employment-based Visa that allows international citizens to work in the US temporarily. The US Immigration Department issues the Visa once you fulfill the process and get approved. It signifies the applicant has suitable education and training to perform the respected job.
This Visa is valid for 6 years and then the government gives employees a 10 days grace period to return to their home country. The point to note is that you cannot apply for this Visa yourself; the company or employer you’re working for initiates the process.
But the good news is that H-1B Visa has dual intent. Meaning, people on the H1B Visa can settle in the US by gapplying for permanent citizenship or a Green Card.
A green card is a permanent resident card that has several categories. No matter what category you fall under, holding a green card simply means you are a US citizen.
Now that you are introduced to it, let’s look at the different categories of Green cards in the next section.
Green Card Categories
There are numerous types of Green cards, depending on the reason for coming to the US. Let’s discuss them here.
Family-Sponsored: If you meet the requirements, you may be able to join your family if they already live in the United States. This is limited to immediate family members who are already citizens or permanent residents of the United States, such as spouses, parents, siblings, or children. Employment-Based: Your employer can also sponsor your immigration to the US if you are employed by a US company while you are still residing in your home country. You are obligated to continue working for the employer who sponsored you for the duration of your employer-based green card sponsorship.
You can work somewhere else once the contract requirements are met. Not only that, but you can apply for the national interest waiver to become a permanent resident if someone does not employ you. To be eligible, your work must somehow improve the US economy.
Returning Resident: You are eligible to apply for a returning resident green card if you were a previous owner of one but spent a year or more abroad. You must, however, demonstrate the reasons you were not in the US, such as a family emergency or cultural obligations that were unavoidable.
So these are the green card categories; moving on, let us see who is eligible for H-1B to Green Card in the next section.
Note : Once you get permanent citizenship, you can apply for a home loan to finance your property in the US. Also Read: Bank of America Plasma Loyalty Card: Features, Activation, and Login Process Who’s Eligible for H1B to Green Card?
It is important to know the eligibility criteria before applying for a green card. The applicants applying for employment-based cards are most likely to fall under these sub-categories.
Immigrant worker Physician National Interest Waiver Immigrant investor
There are many others as well, but the majority of people fall into these brackets. Moving ahead, let’s look at the steps to convert
from H1B to Green card. Steps to Convert H1B Visa to Green Card
from H1B to Green Card is a systematic process that requires time and patience. We have broken down the steps below, so follow the instructions carefully. Also, please keep in mind to fill all the essential forms and not skip any step. Step 1: Apply for Your PERM Certification
A permanent labor certification is issued by the Department of Labor (DOL) which allows an employer to hire a foreign worker to work permanently in the United States
First, your employer needs to apply for the labor certification in your name, known as PERM (Permanent Labor). Using this form, your employer will: Decide on your pay. Show that there are no suitable U.S. candidates for the role. Complete the ETA 9809 form.
After completing this step, you need to move on to the next one.
Step 2: File Form I-140
Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker is a form that is submitted to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) by an employer to petition for a foreign employee to work in the US on a permanent basis.
Submit the I-140 form, also called the
Immigration Petition for Alien Workers, as soon as the PERM certification is accepted. The office will assign you a priority date as soon as the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) receives your application.
However, as a foreign national, you will not be able to proceed to the next step until your term has ended. Once your form is accepted and qualified, you can jump to the third step.
Step 3: File Form I-485
A person in the US can apply for lawful permanent resident status using Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
The last form is the
adjustment of status form or I-485. The I-485 must be submitted to the USCIS office in your community for you to proceed. The customs office will stamp your passport with your new Green Cardholder status once it has been approved.
That’s it! By following these steps, you’ll become a Green card holder.
So this is the procedure for applying for an H1B green card. Moving ahead, let’s discuss the preference levels and programs.
H1B Visa to Green Card Preference Levels and Programs
There are three levels of preference to qualify for a green card:
1st Preference (E-B1)
Applicants may qualify for this Green card if they:
Possess exceptional talent in the arts, sciences, business, teaching, or sports. Are exceptional as a professor or researcher. Are a manager or executive from a multinational company who fulfills extra requirements.
There’s less competition in this bracket, and one may expect speedier H1B to green card processing time.
2nd Preference (E-B2)
You can qualify for this preference level if:
You have a profession that calls for a graduate degree, such as a master’s. You possess extraordinary talent in the arts, business, or sciences. You are a doctor who is willing to spend some time working in underprivileged areas.
The government issues 40,000 visas a year, with a 7% country cap.
3rd Preference (E-B3)
You can qualify for this preference level if you:
Have a bachelor’s degree and work as a professional. Possess more than two years of experience as a skilled worker. Are an inexperienced worker, needing less than two years of training to perform the job
The government issues 28.6% of the total Visa allotment every year.
4th Preference (E-B4)
You can qualify under the fourth preference level if:
You are employed by the US government abroad or were previously employed by it. You are preachers and practitioners of religion. You serve as translators for the US Military Forces.
Every year, the government issues 10,000 Visas for this category.
5th Preference (E-B5)
You can qualify under this level of preference if you are an investor who can create at least
10 full-time jobs and will invest $500,000 to $1,000,000 in the US economy.
10,000 Visas are allocated for the applicants every year.
These are the preference levels on which Visas are allotted every year.
When Should You Apply for Green Card?
As you are aware that getting a green card is a time-consuming process and can even put you in trouble if not received on time. So this is when you must apply for green card:
When there’s a year or months left for H1B to get expired. When you are comfortable with your job position as during the documentation, you can not switch job or even change position. When you have physically lived in US for 3 years and decided to settle down.
Keeping all these things and the processing time in mind, you can file to get your US citizenship.
What is the H1B to Green Card Processing Time?
As we already know the application steps, let’s break down the time needed to complete each step and how long it may take to get accepted.
PERM Certification: It might take 6–18 months to get the certification. I-140 Form: The average processing time after submitting this form is 4–6 months. The approval time depends on the waitlist. I-148 Form: After getting approved in the above step, fill out and apply for the I-148 form. It takes 6–9 months for Immigrant Visa Application processing.
You can check the waitlist and status at the official
US Citizenship and Immigration Services site. H1B Visa to Green Card Fees
The cost of obtaining an employment-based green card is high. It comprises costs that must be covered by the employee as well as the employer or sponsor. The fees that must be paid are as follows:
Attorney Fees: For the attorney to file the PERM certification, employers must pay between $2,000 and $5,000. They also need to file the I-140 and I-485 forms, which cost a few thousand dollars each. Either the employer or the employee may pay the fees for these two forms. Advertisement Cost: The cost of the advertisement is contingent upon the state and the media outlet utilized to promote the job opening. Fees range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. These costs are covered by employers. Application Fees: Each employee must pay $580 for the I-140 application and $1,070 for the I-485. The employer or the employee may be responsible for paying these costs.
Generally speaking, the cost of filing an H1B visa application for a Green Card can reach
$10,000. Once accepted, the individual is allowed to live and work in the United States indefinitely.
Please note that the rates and charges may differ depending on the government policies. Make sure to check out the updated fees on the official site.
So this is everything you must know to switch
from H1B to Green Card. We hope this blog will guide you in performing the right steps. Read Next: 10 Must-Have Credit Cards for Fair Credit in 2024 Frequently Asked Questions Ans: H1B holders need to be very careful about the timeline. If you do not apply to receive a green card in the sixth year of H1B, you have to return to your country. After which you can apply for a green card via consular processing. Ans: If you leave the country before the expiry of the term, you can travel and re-enter the US anytime.
Ans: No, you can not do that as H1B is only specific to the US and does not offer travelling opportunities. Ans: No, you can not get your H1B visa stamped in the US consulate. Ans: Yes, H1B visas are dual intent, so one can lawfully pursue permanent residence status in the US.