How to Sponsor an Immigrant for Work
In this article, we explain how to sponsor an immigrant for work in 5 steps including determine if your employee qualifies, file the relevant petitions and forms, and attaining approval from the National Visa Center.
If you are a current or prospective employer of a foreign national, you may be able to sponsor your employee to become a permanent resident in the United States. In order to sponsor an employee based on a permanent job offer, you and the foreign national you’re petitioning for must go through a specific process.
5 Steps: How to sponsor a work visa for an Immigrant
While the process of sponsoring an immigrant is similar whether you’re sponsoring a friend, family member, or employee, there are some specific considerations for employment-based sponsorships.
1) Determine if your employee qualifies
You must determine whether or not your employee maintains the necessary qualifications before filing your petition.
2) Get approval from the Department of Labor
In the majority of cases, approval from the US Department of Labor (DOL) regarding Permanent Labor Certification is required prior to filing Form I-140. However, if your employee falls under the category of EB-1, you may be exempt from this step.
3) File the relevant petitions and forms
Once your Permanent Labor Certification has been approved by the DOL, you will need to file a petition with USCIS. In most cases, the correct form for employment-based sponsorships is Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker. As the petitioner, you can choose to do this electronically or by paper mail.
Depending on the details of your situation, you may need to submit additional supporting documentation. Some (but not all) employment-based visa applications require you to fill out and file Form I-864, Affidavit of Support in order to accept financial responsibility for the foreign national whom you’re sponsoring.
4) The employee applies for their visa
In some cases, if a foreign national is currently legally residing in the US, they may be eligible to file an application to adjust their status to “permanent resident.” However, in general they will be placed on the visa waiting list. Wait times can vary substantially depending on your specific situation.
5) Wait for review and approval by the NVC
Once your current or prospective employee reaches the front of the waiting list, the US Department of State will contact them and invite them to apply for an immigrant visa. Their case will be reviewed by the National Visa Center (NVC), and you can refer to the NVC Timeframes page at any time to see which cases are currently being reviewed.
What are the requirements for sponsoring an immigrant for work?
If you want to sponsor an immigrant employee for permanent residence, you must adhere to the requirements laid out by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
To be eligible to sponsor an immigrant for work you must:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Be a US citizen or green-card holder
- Reside in the US or one of its territories
- Meet the minimum financial requirements
- Provide proof of intent to maintain employer-employee relationship upon their arrival to the US.
You can sponsor a current or prospective employee through an employment-based visa by filing Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker.
When sponsoring a work visa, what kinds of employees can an employer sponsor?
As a US employer, you can help a current or prospective foreign-national employee who lives in the states or abroad gain permanent residency, provided they fall into one or more of the approved employment-based (EB) immigrant visa categories:
- EB-1 – Priority Workers: This includes foreign nationals with exceptional abilities in the arts and sciences, education, business, or athletics; outstanding professors and researchers; and multinational executives and managers.
- EB-2 – Professionals with Advanced Degrees or Exceptional Abilities: This includes foreign nationals who work in fields holding advanced degrees or can demonstrate exceptional abilities in the arts and sciences or in business.
- EB-3 – Professional or Skilled Workers: This includes foreign nationals who fall into one of three specific categories, which include “skilled workers,” “professionals,” and “other workers.”
- EB-4 – Special Immigrants: This includes foreign nationals who fall into a variety of particular categories, including religious workers, government employees, certain broadcasters, certain physicians, interpreters, and others.
How to help your employee’s family when you sponsor an immigrant for work
You cannot directly file on behalf of your prospective employee’s family. However, once the immigrant is eligible to file, their spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21 have the option to simultaneously apply as dependents.
When to get in touch with an experienced immigration attorney.
If you’re interested in sponsoring an employee for permanent residence, you don’t have to go through the process alone. It’s important to understand the pros and cons and the liabilities associated with becoming an immigration sponsor.
If you have any questions or concerns about the process, don’t hesitate to reach out to an experienced immigration attorney with specialized knowledge regarding immigration law. The Batrakova Law Office will offer guidance and representation throughout the process to give you and your worker the best chance possible of being approved.