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Visa Talk Continued: The Green Card Process

April 25, 2013

In February, I talked to immigration attorney David Rubman about the steps involved with obtaining and transferring an H-1B visa. The process can be long and while on an H-1, candidates find their options limited as many companies will not sponsor transfers. The end goal for these workers is obviously permanent residency, but just how does one apply for and receive a green card? I continued my talk with Mr. Rubman to find out more.

Green Cards

Linda: You said in our last conversation that the H-1B cannot be issued for more than 6 years. What happens after 6 years?

David: That’s why people apply for a green card. A green card, also known as Permanent Residence, gives the individual the right to live and work in the US permanently. It is also the first step to applying for US citizenship.

Linda: How long into an H-1B can you apply for a green card?

David: There is no limit on when an employer can apply for a green card for a worker. It just depends on the employer’s policy. Most employers want to wait some time to decide if they like the employee enough to sponsor him or her for a green card. But legally the employer can start the green card process at any time, even before the employee starts working. It is completely separate from the H-1B process.

Linda: What is the company’s responsibility for sponsoring a green card? You said most employers wait to start this process, presumably because of the cost and time involved?

David: The green card process is more complicated than the H-1B and more expensive. For one thing, it is a process that requires the employer to advertise for US workers for the position, and then show it can’t find a qualified US employee.

Linda: As opposed to an H-1B where there is no requirement that the employer show there is a shortage of American workers?

David: Exactly.

Linda: So how long does the process usually take?

David: It varies based on circumstance. For persons with Master’s degrees born in India or China, the process can take more than 4 years. For those born in other countries, the process can be completed in about 1 year. For those without Master’s degrees, it is a longer process.

Linda: What is the financial cost for employers sponsoring a green card?

David: Costs can be up to $10,000 for a green card case.

I want to thank Mr. Rubman again for the taking the time to provide his expertise. I know that many unique situations arise with both clients and candidates within the visa process, so if you have any additional questions, do not hesitate to reach out to Rubman Law.

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