San Diego Green Card Labor Certification Attorneys

For many employment-based visas that require employer sponsors, foreign workers must undergo the Department of Labor’s labor certification process before applying for a visa and successfully getting permission to work and live in the United States by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).

The labor certification process is completed by the intending immigrant’s employer sponsor and the Department of Labor (DOL). The process takes place in order to verify that the incoming worker’s presence and employment will not adversely affect the United States’ job market or economy. Specifically, it assures that there are no ready, willing, or able U.S. workers who will miss a job opportunity because of a foreign worker. It also assures that the incoming workers will not negatively change work conditions or lower wages in the United States.

Employment-Based Visas That Require DOL Labor Certification

There are two major categories of work-based green cards that require labor certification. This certification process typically takes 6 months to 2 years. The DOL does not charge a fee for the initial labor certification stage, but USCIS charges filing fees for the next 2 stages of the process.

  • Second preference EB-2 visas. Those with exceptional abilities and advanced degrees who have found a full-time employment opportunity in the United States must have their employer go through the labor certification process. However, under certain conditions, some foreign nationals may be able to seek a National Interest Waiver (NIW) of the labor certification process that allows them to skip this process.
  • All third preference EB-3 visas. This popular type of work-based green card is intended for skilled workers, professionals, and unskilled workers. All of these workers must have an employer sponsor and that sponsor must receive labor certification from the Department of Labor.

Employment-Based Visas That Don’t Require DOL Labor Certification

Not all employment-based visas require labor certification from the Department of Labor. The four major work visas that do not need labor certification are:

The first preference (EB-1) visa. This includes:

  • Those who have an extraordinary ability (does not require an employer sponsor),
  • Outstanding researchers or scientists (requires an employer sponsor), and
  • Multinational managers or executives (requires an employer sponsor).

The second-preference (EB-2) visa with a National Interest Waiver.

While most people seeking the EB-2 visa must get labor certification – including those with exceptional abilities and those with advanced degrees – those who petition for a National Interest Waiver do not need to do so. Successfully obtaining a NIW, however, requires proving that your work will be of national scope and benefit the nation as a whole.

The fourth-preference (EB-4) visa.

Although this visa requires an employer sponsor, it does not require labor certification through the Department of Labor. This visa is for religious workers, broadcasters, foreign employees of the U.S. military, international organization employees, and members of the American Forces.

The fifth-preference (EB-5) visa.

The EB-5 category is for investor visas, which allows foreigners to invest money in a business that will create 10 or more jobs in the United States in exchange for permanent residency. While these visas require a specific type of investment in a specific type of project, they do not require labor certification.

Get Help With Labor Certification & Work Visa Applications

Labor certification with the Department of Labor is an absolutely vital part of the employment-based green card process for many immigrants. Although the foreign workers themselves do not need to be involved in the certification process, as this is the responsibility of their current or future employer, it is helpful for them to understand the process. At Feldman Feldman & Associates, we ensure that all parties understand the process and ensure that we do everything in our power to help you successfully navigate the employment-based green card process. Call us or fill out our online contact form to speak with one of our immigration attorneys today.