How to Transition from an H1B Visa to a Green CardAre you an H1B visa holder? Is your stay in the U.S. smooth? Do you know H1B visa is a dual intent visa? Are you willing to become a lawfully permanent citizen of the United States?

If the answer to this set of questions is yes, then read on. Because in this article your queries will be answered and your doubts will be clarified.

Relatively, the H-1B visa is different because it’s a dual intent visa that permits foreign nationals to apply for a green card or lawful permanent resident status.

This means that not every temporary or nonimmigrant visas have these options. While some visas allow only renewal for the same status, others permit changing to another temporary status. Some visas do not permit for renewal or change, and foreign nationals would need to return to their home land after their visa expires.

Having an H-1B visa means you’re at an advantageous position than most other nonimmigrant U.S. visas. You may be eligible to obtain a green card to live and work permanently in the U.S. by adjusting the status process. However, multiple steps and a specific application process is involved to obtain a green card. It’s advisable to begin the green card application process at the earliest possible to avoid complications after the H-1B visa expires.

The green card process includes applying for PERM labor certification, submitting Form I-140 (Immigration Petition for Alien Worker), and filing Form I-485 (adjustment of status). The processing times and fees for the H-1B to green card transition differ, and we provide you the recommendation to consult with an employer or immigration lawyer for better guidance.

H1B Fees

Moving from an H1B visa to a Green Card can be expensive, like most visa and immigration-related applications. The fees required for the transition are paid by the H1B visa holder’s employer and the visa holder himself. Here is a breakdown of the fees involved in the process:

– The cost to file a PERM certification ranges from $2,000 to $5,000, and it’s paid by the employer.

Application Fees

– The fee to file the I-140 form is $700.

– The fee to file the I-485 form is $1,140.

– These fees can be paid either by the employer or employee.

Overall, the cost of transitioning from an H1B visa to a Green Card can be up to $10,000, with the employee responsible for $20,000 or more, depending on the circumstances.

Types of Green Card Holders

Green Card Holders types vary according to the reason for arrival in the United States. Below is the list of basic types of green card holders:

Family-sponsored: This works if you’ve immediate family members like spouse, parents, siblings, or children already living as US citizens or permanent residents.

Employment-based green card: This works for those who’re employed and sponsored by the US employers until your contract expires. In case, one isn’t sponsored by any US employer, one can apply for the national interest waiver to become a permanent resident. One must contribute to the US economy to be qualified.

Returning resident: This works if you had a green card earlier but left the US for more than a year due to certain emergency or any other solid reason.

Green Card lottery: Every year the USCIS conducts a green card lottery selecting 55k non-citizens for providing green cards. There are around 20 million green card lottery applicants every year.

Green Card Categories

US companies can request permission from the Department of Labor to employ foreign workers for various jobs, using different categories for each application.

The first preference category (EB-1) caters to those intended recipients who apply for a green card for employment purposes and carries potentialities as an executive or manager. These workers have the highest priority. They’ll be qualifies only if they prove their exceptional ability, credit in the industry as a researcher or professor, and the qualifications to handle the job.

The second preference category (EB-2) is for those who bear advance degrees or incomparable skills in specific fields such as medicine, science, or teaching. To be eligible, applicants must have a master’s degree and at least five years of experience in the industry, and their abilities must exceed those with a general bachelor’s degree in the same categories.

The third preference category (EB-3) is for those skilled workers holding a bachelor’s degree along with at least two years of experience in the industry. The company hiring foreign workers must prove that there are no American workers who can perform the job.

The fourth preference category (EB-4) is for special immigrants having unique skills, including military translators, religious workers, and those working for a US government agency in the same country or abroad.

Finally, the fifth preference category (EB-5) caters to the foreign workers in the “investor class” who invest at least $500,000 in the US economy and generate at least ten jobs.

Consequences of Delaying the Green Card Process

The EB-2 visa attorneys at are often asked whether waiting until H-1B status expires before applying for a green card bear any consequences. The answer is simple: when you submit an I-485 application, you are asking the USCIS to change your status from H-1B to green card status.

What’s significant is to remember that the key phrase here is “adjust your status.” If you aren’t in status, it means that your H-1B status has already expired, so technically, you cannot adjust it. In such cases, the USCIS may deny your application, and you may face the consequences of remaining in the US while out of status.

Moving from H1B to a green card requires a systematic approach that can result in delays or denials if not done correctly. Hence, it’s advisable to have a qualified immigration attorney handle the H1B to green card process.

H-1B to Green Card Process

The process of attaining a green card through employment involves certain steps. Here’s a breakdown of each step:

Step 1: Find a Qualified U.S. Employer

To apply for a green card, you must have a job offer from a qualified US employer for a position that meets the requirements of an employment-based green card category. This employer does not have to be your current H-1B employer but must meet certain requirements before sponsoring your green card application.

Step 2: Employer Submits PERM Labor Certification

Your employer must obtain a PERM labor certification by conducting a prevailing wage determination, conducting an extensive recruitment process, and filing a Form ETA-9089.

Step 3: File Form I-140

Once the PERM labor certification is approved, your employer must file an I-140 Immigration Petition for Alien Worker. Your employer must prove the ability to pay the salary for your job position and submit it along with the approved PERM labor certification.

Step 4: Wait for the Priority Date to Become the Current

Your priority date is the date on which the USCIS received your petition. You must wait until your priority date becomes current before moving on to the next step.

Step 5: File Form I-485 Adjustment of Status

Once your priority date becomes current, you can apply for adjustment of status by submitting the I-485 form with the USCIS. If approved, you’ll receive your green card. You can also apply for the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and Advance Parole during this phase.


Can I get a Green Card after 3 years of H1B?

Possibly yes but not guaranteed. You can apply for a Green Card after being on H1B status for three years, but the chances are affected by many factors. The process of application for a Green Card can be complex and time-consuming, and multiple factors can influence your eligibility. It’s best to consult with an immigration lawyer to find the best path for your specific situation and explore your options.

Is it easier to get a Green Card after H1B?

It’s not essentially easier to get a Green Card after possessing an H1B visa, as the two processes are separate and have their requirements. However, having H1B status may make you eligible for certain Green Card categories, such as employment-based Green Cards. In general, the Green Card application process can be complex and lengthy, and it’s vital to consult with an immigration attorney to ensure smooth pathway to citizenship.

Can you go from H1B to citizenship?

Yes, you can go from H1B status to citizenship in the United States. However, there are several steps involved in this process, including obtaining a Green Card and meeting the eligibility requirements for citizenship, such as having continuous residence in the US and being physically present in the country for a certain period.

Which is better, H1B or EAD?

It totally relies on your circumstances and goals. H1B and EAD (Employment Authorization Document) are both types of work authorization in the US, but they’ve different eligibility requirements and limitations.

H1B is a non-immigrant visa for foreign workers with a job offer in the US, typically in specialized occupations. It’s initially granted for up to three years and can be extended for up to six years. H1B holders can also apply for a Green Card if they meet the eligibility requirements.

EAD, on the other hand, is a document that allows certain categories of non-immigrants to work in the US. It’s typically granted to individuals who’re in the process of applying for a Green Card or other types of immigration benefits, such as asylum or adjustment of status.

In general, H1B holders have more job mobility and flexibility compared to EAD holders, as they’re not tied to a specific employer or immigration status. However, the H1B application process can be competitive and time-consuming, and there’s an annual cap on the number of H1B visas that can be issued.

Ultimately, the choice is yours and your best option wholly depends on your circumstances, job prospects, and long-term goals. It’s advised to consult with an immigration attorney to determine the best pathway for your situation.

How Long Does It Take to Renew a Green Card?

The Green Card renewal process takes around one and a half months to twelve months. The processing times can be viewed on the USCIS website.


In conclusion, obtaining a green card while under H-1B status may seem complex from the surface level, but it’s possible. It’s essential to take the process step by step, and if you’ve any concerns or doubts, you can contact us for assistance.

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