I am currently working under an H1B visa and would like to get a green card through my employer. What is the process?
The process of obtaining an employment-based green card is the same whether you currently have an H1b or not. There are three steps:1. Permanent Labor Certification Application. This step is about the job itself. The point of this step is to prove to the department of labor that there are no qualified US workers who can fill the position, and that the terms of your employment are not going to drive down wages or otherwise harm US workers. In this step, your employer goes through certain steps like placing an ad for the job in the newspaper and on a job search website to prove that he was unable to find a qualified US worker to fill your position. The employer also has to get a determination of what the "prevailing wage" for your job is, and has to commit to pay you at least this much. Once he has completed these and a few other preliminary steps, the employer can file the Labor Certification Application with the Department of Labor.2. I-140 Petition. This step is about the relationship between you and the employer. Once you have an approved Labor Certification Application, your employer can then file the I-140 petition. This step is where your employer formally petitions USCIS to allow him to hire you for this particular job. In this step USCIS will scrutinize the job and whether it fits into the categories of jobs for which green cards can be issued. It will also look at your qualification to make sure you qualify for the job.3. I-485 Application. In the third and final step, you the employee apply for a green card. This step focuses on you personally and whether there is any reason you should not be granted a green card. (Do you have a criminal history, immigration violations, communicable diseases, etc.) If there is no wait list in your job category and nationality category, this step can be completed concurrently with step 2, the I-140. If there is a wait in your category, however, you will have to wait to complete step three until your I-140 is approved and your priority date is current.Huge perk of having an H1b in this situation: as an H1b holder, you can get unlimited extensions of your H1b for as many years at it takes to complete your green card application under certain circumstances, namely if you have an approved I-140 but your priority date is not current, or if your Labor Certification Application has been pending for a year. These "extensions" may be available if you had H1b status in the past, even if you are not currently in H1b status and even if you are not currently in the country. You should talk to an immigration attorney to see if this is possible in your situation.