[This post is part two of two blogs on frequently asked immigration questions]
How do I apply for permanent residence based on my employment?
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the U.S. government agency that manages lawful immigration to the United States. The USCIS must approve an immigrant application (Form I-140) that is completed by your employer. Your employer must apply for a Permanent Labor Certification from the U.S. Department of Labor. The certification shows that your job will not negatively affect the job opportunities or wages of U.S. workers. Getting this certification is not impossible, but may take several months to process.
Then the State Department will give you an immigrant visa number. If you are in the United States, you can apply for permanent resident status when a visa number is available. If you are outside the United States, the local U.S. consulate will let you know when a visa number becomes available.
How do I help a relative obtain a green card/become a permanent resident?
If you are a United States citizen, you may file a permanent resident application for a spouse or children. The application form is called the I-130. If you are a citizen age 21 or older, you may also file an application for parents and siblings.
If your petition is approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), your relative must wait in line with other relatives of U.S. citizens, based on the date your petition was filed. For spouses, parents, or unmarried children under the age of 21, there is no waiting line.
These additional links to the USCIS website may be helpful:
Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker: http://www.uscis.gov/i-140
Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative: http://www.uscis.gov/i-130
If you need help applying for permanent residence, please contact the Santa Barbara Lawyer Referral Service at (805) 569-9400.