Seeking a Green Card Through Work: Know Your Options for Permanent Residency
Certain types of employment in the United States may provide the opportunity to apply for a green card. Obtaining a green card grants you permanent residence in the United States, and can open up many more opportunities, including the possibility of applying to become a U.S. citizen in the future. At Millar & Hayes, our Seattle lawyers can help you through the process, avoiding pitfalls and mistakes that can sometimes cause delays and denials.
Applying for a green card based on employment involves several steps, and many technical requirements must be met. You should consult with an attorney before applying.
Eligibility: Preference Categories
To qualify for permanent residence based on employment, all applicants must fit within specified categories:
- First preference: EB-1 priority workers. This category is for persons with "extraordinary ability" in the sciences, arts, education, business, and athletics; outstanding professors or researchers; and certain multinational executives and managers.
- Second preference: EB-2 professionals. This category is for persons with "exceptional ability" or who have advanced degrees and are members of a profession.
- Third preference: EB-3 workers. This category is available for skilled workers, professionals, and unskilled workers. Applicants must have a qualifying job offer and obtain a labor certification.
- Fourth preference: EB-4 special immigrants. This category is for religious workers and other special categories of immigrants.
- Fifth preference (EB-5) is for substantial business investors.
Each category imposes different requirements on applicants. You should speak with an attorney before beginning the process to ensure that you are eligible.
Obtaining a Green Card
The process of obtaining a green card for permanent residency in the United States can sometimes take longer than you might desire. The application process involves a petition filed by the employer and an application for permanent residence filed by the employee. The employee must meet all admissibility requirements. We have years of experience screening applicants to anticipate and address any concerns you may have. Under our guidance, you can make sure that you are appropriately moving forward in the process, and we work to help you achieve favorable results.
In addition, many people can obtain a visa to work in the United States while they wait for their green card application to be approved. We can also assist with this process, as we frequently prepare a wide range of work visa applications.
Documents for TN visa application for land or air port-of-entry applications:
- Evidence of citizenship and entry document
- Executed TN support letter
- Copy of applicant's resume
- Copy of applicant's degrees, transcripts, diplomas or certificates
- Executed attestation letter of supervising prfessional (Sci/Tech TN)
- Copy of supervising professional's degrees, diplomas, certificatdes (Sci/Tech TN)
- Executed consulting agreement (management consultant TN and independent contractor)
- Copies of previous experience letters evidencing five years of experience
- Previous experience letters (if necessary)
- Academic / experience evaluation (if degree issued outside NAFTA country)
- Informational literature on employer
- Payment for the I-94 filing fee
Additional documentation to submit if filing through the UCIS:
- Completed and executed Form I-129
- Completed and executed Form I-129 free trade supplement
- Copy of valid passport face page
- Copy of document evidencing current non-immigrant status in U.S.
- Payment in the amount of $320 for I-129 petition filing fee
TN Visa vs. TN status
Individuals new to U.S. immigration law and unfamiliar with the provisions for Canadian and Mexican citizens often confuse a TN visa with TN non-immigrant status. There is a significant difference between a TN visa and TN non-immigrant status. In order to understand the differences, speak with our Seattle WA and Vancouver, BC immigrations attorneys regarding your specific needs.
TN Visa Professions
A Canadian individual must be coming to the U.S. to work temporarily in one of the professions listed in the appendix to the North American Free Trade Agreement. These are the listed professions:
- Accountant (baccalaureate, CPA, CA, CGA, or CMA)
- Animal Breeder
- Animal Scientist
- Architect (baccalaureate or state/provincial license. Also see Landscape Architect, below)
- Computer systems analyst who must have: baccalaureate or post secondary diploma *and three years' experience
- Dairy Scientist
- Dentist (DDS, DMD, or state/provincial license)
- Dietician (baccalaureate or state/provincial license)
- Disaster Relief Insurance Claims Adjuster who must have: baccalaureate or 3 years' experience in claims adjustment, and completed training in appropriate areas of insurance adjustment pertaining to disaster relief claims.
- Engineer (baccalaureate or state/provincial license)
- Forester (baccalaureate or state/provincial license) (Also see Silviculturist, below)
- Graphic Designer who must have: baccalaureate or post secondary diploma and three years' experience.
- Hotel Manager who must have: baccalaureate in hotel/restaurant management, or post secondary diploma in hotel/restaurant management, and three years' experience in hotel restaurant management.
- Industrial Designer who must have: baccalaureate or post secondary diploma and three years experience.
- Interior Designer who must have: baccalaureate or post secondary diploma and three years' experience.
- Land Surveyor (baccalaureate or state/provincial/federal license)
- Landscape Architect
- Lawyer (member of state/provincial bar, or LLB, JD, LLL, or BCL)
- Librarian (MLS, or BLS. BLS must be one for which another baccalaureate degree was a pre-requisite)
- Management Consultant who must have: baccalaureate or five years' experience in consulting or related field.
- Medical Technologist/Medical Lab Technologist (Canada) who must have: baccalaureate or post secondary diploma *and three years' experience. (U.S. job must be in a laboratory to perform chemical, biological, hematological, immunologic, microscopic, or bacteriological tests, and analyses for diagnosis, treatment or prevention of disease)
- Nurse, Registered (must have state/provincial license)
- Occupational Therapist (baccalaureate or state/provincial license)
- Pharmacist (baccalaureate or state/provincial license)
- Physician (teaching and/or research only, MD or state/provincial license)
- Physio/Physical Therapist (baccalaureate or state/provincial license)
- Plant Breeder
- Poultry Scientist
- Psychologist (must have state/provincial license. Cannot qualify with just baccalaureate degree)
- Range Manager/Range Conservationist
- Recreational Therapist
- Research Assistant (baccalaureate and U.S. job in a post-secondary educational institute)
- Social Worker
- Soil Scientist
- Silviculturist/Forestry Specialist (also see Forester, above)
- Teacher (baccalaureate degree: must be coming to work for a college, seminary or university only); no secondary or elementary school teaching.
- Technician or Technologist, Scientific (E.g.: Electronic engineering technician.) who must: work in direct support of professionals in one of these disciplines: biology, chemistry, engineering, forestry, geology, geophysics, meteorology, physics OR possess theoretical knowledge of discipline, and solve practical problems in discipline, or apply principles of the discipline to basic or applied research.
- Urban Planner
- Veterinarian (DVM, DMV, or state/provincial license)
- Vocational Counsellor
- Writer, Technical Publications (Technical Publications Writer) who must have: baccalaureate or post secondary diploma and three years' experience.
In order to pursue a TN visa an applicant must have evidence that they have the necessary credentials to be considered a professional in one of the Schedule 2 fields listed below. Call or email us with any questions that you may have. We are always happy to let you speak directly with a qualified immigration lawyer.
|PROFESSION||MINIMUM EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS|
|Accountant||Baccalaureate Degree; or C.P.A, C.A., C.G.A., or C.M.A.|
|Architect||Baccalaureate Degree; or state/provincial license|
|Computer Systems Analyst||Baccalaureate Degree; or Post-Secondary Diploma or Post Secondary Certificate and 3 years experience|
|Disaster Relief Insurance Claims Adjuster||Baccalaureate Degree and successful completion of training in the appropriate areas of insurance adjustment pertaining to disaster relief claims; or three years experience in claims adjustment and successful completion of training in the appropriate areas of insurance adjustment pertaining to disaster relief claims|
|Engineer||Baccalaureate Degree; or state/provincial license|
|Forester||Baccalaureate Degree; or state/provincial license|
|Graphic Designer||Baccalaureate Degree; or post-secondary diploma and three years experience|
|Hotel Manager||Baccalaureate Degree in hotel/restaurant management; or post-secondary diploma or post-secondary certificate in hotel/restaurant management and three years experience in hotel/restaurant management|
|Industrial Designer||Baccalaureate Degree; or post-secondary diploma or post-secondary certificate, and three years experience|
|Interior Designer||Baccalaureate Degree; or post-secondary diploma or post-secondary certificate, and three years experience|
|Land Surveyor||Baccalaureate Degree or state/provincial/federal license|
|Landscape Architect||Baccalaureate Degree|
|Lawyer (including Notary in the province of Quebec)||L.L.B., J.D., L.L.L., B.C.L., degree; or membership in a state/provincial bar|
|Librarian||M.L.S. or B.L.S. (for which another Baccalaureate Degree was prerequisite)|
|Management Consultant||Baccalaureate Degree; or equivalent professional experience as established by statement or professional credential attesting to five years experience as a management consultant , or five years experience in a field of specialty related to the consulting agreement|
|Mathematician (including statistician)||Baccalaureate Degree|
|Range Manager/Range Conservationist||Baccalaureate Degree|
|Research Assistant (working in a post-secondary educational institution)||Baccalaureate Degree|
|Scientific Technician/Technologist||Possession of (a) theoretical knowledge of any of the following disciplines: agricultural sciences, astronomy, biology, chemistry, engineering, forestry, geology, geophysics, meteorology, or physics; and (b) the ability to solve practical problems in any of those disciplines, or the ability to apply principles of any of those disciplines to basic or applied research|
|Social Worker||Baccalaureate Degree|
|Silviculturist (including forestry)||Baccalaureate Degree|
|Teacher: College||Baccalaureate Degree|
|Teacher: Seminary||Baccalaureate Degree|
|Teacher: University||Baccalaureate Degree|
|Technical Publications Writer||Baccalaureate Degree, or post-secondary diploma or post-secondary certificate, and three years experience|
|Urban Planner (including Geographer)||Baccalaureate Degree|
|Vocational Counselor||Baccalaureate Degree|
In order to pursue a TN visa an applicant must have evidence that they have the necessary credentials to be considered a professional in one of the Schedule 2 NAFTA fields listed below. Call or email us with any questions that you may have. We are always happy to let you speak directly with a NAFTA immigration attorney. To view credential requirements for scientists, go to the Credentials: Science tab.
|PROFESSION||MINIMUM EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS|
|Dentist||D.D.S., D.M.D., Doctor en Odontologia|
|Dietician||Baccalaureate Degree; or state/provincial license|
|Medical Lab Technologist (Canada)
Medical Technologist (Mexico and U.S.)
|Baccalaureate Degree; or Post-Secondary Diploma or Post Secondary Certificate and 3 years experience|
|Occupational Therapist||Baccalaureate Degree; or state provincial license|
|Pharmacist||Baccalaureate Degree; or state/provincial license|
|Physician (teaching or research only)||M.D., Doctor en Medicina; or state/provincial license|
|Physiotherapist/Physical Therapist||Baccalaureate Degree; or state/provincial license|
|Psychologist||State/provincial license; degree|
|Recreational Therapist||Baccalaureate Degree|
|Registered Nurse||State/provincial license degree|
|Veterinarian||D.V.M., D.M.V., or Doctor en Veterinaria;
or state/provincial license
In order to pursue a TN visa an applicant must have evidence that they have the necessary credentials to be considered a professional in one of the Schedule 2 NAFTA fields listed below. Call or email us with any questions that you may have. We are always happy to let you speak directly with a NAFTA immigration lawyer. To view credential requirements for professions in the medical field go to the Credentials: Medical tab.
The minimum education requirement is a Baccalaureate Degree for each of the following professions:
Agricultural (Agronomist), Animal Breeder, Animal Scientist, Apiculturist, Astronomer, Biochemist, Chemist, Dairy Scientist, Entomologist, Epidemiologist, Geneticist, Geochemist, Geophysicist, Horticulturist, Meteorologist, Pharmacologist, Oceanographer, Physicist, Plant Breeder, Poultry, Scientist, Soil Scientist, Zoologist.
Consultation: Business Immigration Attorneys for Your Needs
If you are serious about getting legal assistance, a consultation is the best place to start. Spend up to a full hour with an immigration attorney to discuss the details of your case, get answers to your questions, work through complex issues and supporting documents and plan an immigration strategy for obtaining benefits.