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 Question: I have heard a great deal about the new PERM program. Specifically, that it will take only 60 days or less to rule on the PERM application once it is submitted to the Department of Labor. Does this mean that I can immediately apply for a Green Card after receiving an approved Labor Certification?

Answer: The answer would be yes and no depending on your particular case. The normal procedure for a typical Labor Certification (which is what the new PERM is) would be for the employer to file what is known as the I-140 or employer petition once the Labor Certification is certified or approved. This petition is filed to the USCIS and basically would prove that the person is qualified for the position. If the visa number is available at the time the I-140 petition is filed, then the Adjustment of Status application could be filed at the same time as the I-140. In these types of cases, both subsequent applications to the labor certification could be filed at the same time and things would move very quickly. Of course, this also assumes that you are qualified to adjust your status in the United States to that of Lawful Permanent Residency.

However, in the last month, the EB-3 category for some countries has been backlogged and now has a significant wait before the visa number will become current. There are several categories that people fall under when applying for the Green Card. If the position requires less than two years experience, then it is considered unskilled labor. If the position requires more than two years experience, but does not require a college degree of at least a bachelor, then it is considered skilled labor. If the position requires a bachelor degree, but no type of higher degree, then it is considered a professional position. Thus, unskilled labor, skilled labor and professional positions all fall under the EB-3 category. If the visa number is backlogged, then you must await until the visa number becomes current in order to apply to adjust your status to that of a Lawful Permanent Resident.

Question: Which countries have backlogged EB-3 categories and how long do they have to wait?

Answer: There are three countries that are backlogged. They are China, India and the Philippines. If you happen to be from one of those countries, you must wait until the visa number becomes current in order to process the adjustment application after the visa number becomes current. At the present time, the current processing date is January 2002. Therefore, only if the priority date on the Labor Certification that you filed is on or before January 2002 will you actually be able to file the adjustment application at the present time. It does appear (although this could certainly change) that the wait for people in the EB-3 category would have to wait approximately 3 years for the visa number to be current for any new PERM application that is filed. Of course, it could be more or less depending on how fast the visa numbers are processed.

Question: What if I am from one of those countries, but my job requires a Masters or Doctorate degree?

Answer: In that case, you would not be in the EB-3 category, but rather, you would be in the EB-2 category for positions that require advanced degrees. If this were the case, there is no backlog and you would be able to file the adjustment application right away after the Labor Certification is approved.

Home » Immigration Updates » PERM: I can get my Green Card much faster!

PERM: I can get my Green Card much faster!