When you learned that you’ll be among thousands of immigrants who arrive in Louisiana on an employment-based visa, you were no doubt excited and a bit nervous at the same time. Especially if it would be your first time entering the U.S., you might be worried about learning to speak English or adapting to a culture that is different from your country of origin.
Perhaps your ultimate goal is to obtain a green card through employment in the United States. If you can accomplish this goal, Louisiana will be your permanent home, unless, of course, you decide to plant roots in another state. Navigating the system to seek an adjustment of status can be stressful. The more you learn about the program you wish to pursue, the better able to resolve a problem you might be if an obstacle occurs.
Determine your preference category so you know what to expect
Obtaining a green card is a process that takes time. How much time depends on your specific circumstances. For instance, if you’re becoming a permanent resident through employment in the U.S., your case will be categorized by preference priority. There are typically four main categories for processing these requests, which are in the following list:
- First-preference employees include those with high skill levels in science, art, business, education or athletics.
- Second priority is usually for those who have advanced degrees or skills in specific professions.
- The third category for employment-based green cards includes skilled laborers, as well as professionals or workers whose academic background or skill level does not fit one of the prior two categories.
- A fourth preference category is for religious workers, members of the U.S. military and several other types of employment.
If you wish to apply for a green card through the fourth preference category, the paperwork and process may be slightly different than the other three programs. Making sure you have filled out the proper paperwork without errors is a key factor to avoiding delays.
Proof that you can live and work in the United States
Obtaining an employment-based green card allows you to live and work in the U.S. on a permanent basis. If you achieve this goal, you’ll want to always carry your green card with you wherever you go. Once you have a green card, you can apply for a Social Security card and Louisiana driver’s license, as well.
A green card also enables you to leave and re-enter the United States at will, provided your time away does not exceed one year, in which case you would have to re-apply for entry. If you have questions or concerns about legal issues associated with employment-based permanent residency, it’s always best to speak with someone who is well-versed in U.S. immigration laws rather than assume that a particular course of action would be helpful.