Once you have all your documentation together, you will need to find an employer who is willing to sponsor you for the green card process. That employer must then go through an extensive recruitment process and determine the prevailing wage for your position in the geographical area that you will be working in order to obtain the PERM Labor Certification from the Department of Labor. Next, your employer will need to file an I-140 petition with the USCIS. Once the petition is received, that date will mark your priority date. You will need to wait and watch the monthly visa bulletin released by the Department of State to see if your priority is “current”, meaning that it matches or passes the final action dates given in the most recent bulletin. It is important to note that, as of the writing of this article, most of the final action dates for the EB-1C green card are backlogged only a few months, others are backlogged several years. If you are from China or India, be prepared to wait a considerable amount of time before your priority date is current. Keep in mind that the dates for the “other workers” group vary slightly from the dates for the other two groups. As soon as your date is current, you can file your I-485 petition to adjust your status if you are already in the U.S. Your status will automatically switch to legal permanent resident as soon as your I-485 is approved. However, there are a number of factors that can drastically change the amount of time your EB-1C green card will take.
- The PERM Labor Certification process will take about 8 months without complications. If your employer is audited or subjected to supervised recruitment, this time could potentially increase to two years.
- The I-140 takes an average of 6 months depending on the caseload of the Service Center that is processing the petition.
- Waiting for your priority date can take anywhere from two months to over a decade depending on what your country of origin is.
- The I-485 may take an average of 6 months to process as well. This step cannot be expedited by premium processing.
If six months is too long a time to wait for your I-140 to be processed, you can pay the extra fee to use premium processing, an optional service that shortens your petition’s processing time to 15 calendar days. So the total EB-1C processing time can be between 14 months in the best case scenario and up to 15 years in the worst case. Work with your EB-1C green card attorney to determine what you will be able to expect from your processing time. If your priority date wait time is too long, you may consider porting your EB-1C to EB-1B status. This is not an easy process and should only be attempted with the help of an EB-1C attorney.