What Are the Differences Between H1B Green Card Categories?

permanent resident card

For nearly every foreign worker in the US, the end goal is a Green Card. One of the biggest factors in successfully obtaining a Green Card is establishing permanent residence, which is a crucial step for everyone working in the US with an H1B visa.

While “H1B” refers to the type of visa, there are actually a variety of different application types, and not every foreign worker will receive their visa for the same reason. Let’s take a look at the various categories of H1B visa applications and examine their main differences.

EB1 Visas

EB1 is fairly uncommon and is meant to be used by exceptional (according to the law) employees like celebrities, inventors, executives, or other types of high-profile workers. In most cases, a Green Card will be issued within a 12-month period.

The application process for this category requires employers to prove that the visa applicant possesses the “extraordinary abilities” they claim. For example, for a company to bring over a high-profile executive, it must provide records to prove the executive’s position and status (at a bare minimum).

These types of cases are unique, and each might have slightly different requirements.

EB2 Visas

For many employees, the application for EB2 tends to be the fastest and easiest way to get a Green Card. Most employers like IT consulting or staffing companies file Green Card applications under the EB2 category.

At a minimum, applicants should possess a Bachelor’s degree or Master’s degree in the US and have at least 5 years of work experience.

Applicants under EB2 usually have to wait from 4-5 years for their Green Card to be approved.

EB3 Visas

A majority of large companies (think Fortune 500) file their Green Card applications using the EB3 category. Requirements for EB3 are somewhat relaxed—EB3 only requires a Bachelor’s degree (or its equivalent) and 2 years of work experience.

However, the waiting period for approval tends to be much longer and can take anywhere from 8 to 15 years.

Applying for a Green Card from an H1B

For those with current H1B visas, you are eligible to apply for permanent residency by applying for a Green Card. It is better to start as soon as you can before any visas expire and avoid delays. Here's a general overview of the process:

  • Step 1: Apply for PERM Certification. Done by the employer.
  • Step 2: Submit Form I-140 - Immigration Petition for Alien Worker
  • Step 3: Submit Form I-485 - File form I-485 to USCIS, an adjustment of status.

Once approved you will be notified and await your physical green card by mail.

For help navigating our Green Card application, get in touch with our team of immigration lawyers right away to find out more information and figure out what the next step will be.