Every Green Card has a Story.

After three long years, I finally received my Green card. It was a long ride, but the award is outstanding. Of course, it is not just: Filing some paperwork, waiting a couple of months, and that is it. In my case, a lot of people were preparing my application.

In January 2020, I moved from the Netherlands to the United States. This is described in this blog post. That blog wasn’t the complete story.
One of the requirements for an L1b visa is a bachelor’s degree or higher, and I didn’t have such a degree. My previous managers had to write a letter about my work in my last roles to prove I was thinking and working on this level. Those letters and all my certifications had to be sent to a professor, who verified everything.
After the verification, he wrote a five-page report which stated I worked and had the skills at a bachelor’s degree or higher. (At least I have on paper that I am smart 🙂 )
This was a small thing at the L1b application, but with the Green Card process, it became a huge delay!

There are different types of Green Cards, and I applied for an EB-3 visa (Employer-Based, Skilled Worker). Luckily my company was willing to help, and Fragomen was the lawyer’s office.

EB-3 Process Steps

There are three significant steps for an Employer-Based green card:
-The PERM Labor Certification process. This is a lengthy process.
– Applying for an I-140
– AOS. (Adjustment of Status.)

PERM Process

The PERM process contains a few steps:
Request Prevailing Wage determination (PWD) from the Department of Labor (DOL)
In mid-2020, my company laid off TMEs in the Bay Area just after this process started. Because of this, I had to wait six months before I could go further in the process.
– Recruitment
An advertisement was placed, and they copied and pasted a default text. In the first advertisement, the minimum requirement was a Bachelor’s degree. As you can read, I didn’t have such a degree, so they had to rewrite the advertisement and publish it again. This was again almost a delay of 5 months.
Submit PERM to DOL.
When the PERM is submitted to DOL, the waiting begins.
Finally, the I-140 could be filed, together with an I-131 (Application for Travel Document)

Physical exam

It was straightforward to find a doctor that is allowed to do the physical exam. Just visit: Find a Civil Surgeon | USCIS and search for someone near you.
Even though I had all my vaccines, a few were needed. Don’t worry about the paperwork. They test if you don’t know if you have a vaccine. The required vaccines could be done at my local MD.
And that was it. We did receive a sealed envelope with the physical exam report, which was sent with the application to USCIS.

Biometric appointment

Although we filed an AR-11 (Address Change) because we moved to North Carolina, USCIS did send us a biometric appointment for San Jose, CA. After calling the USCIS service center numerous times, my wife finally got an appointment in Raleigh, NC. I did get an appointment for San Jose, CA (Again). Because I didn’t want to wait repeatedly, I booked a flight to San Jose, CA and did the biometric appointment.
Two weeks later, I received another biometric appointment in Raleigh, NC. I could skip this, but I went anyway.

The final step

The last step was waiting for the approval and the arrival of the physical green card. In our case, we didn’t have to give an interview.

After three long years, we finally got a physical green card. Is this the end of the story? No!
With the L1b visa, we did have an SSN with DHS authorization on it. A visit to the Social Security office is needed, a straightforward process to remove this.

The other small thing is our driving licenses. This was valid for only two years because they put the end date on the same date as your visa. Now we can renew our driver licenses with a green card, valid for the standard period.

Every Green Card has its own story. It is not a smooth ride, and if you are in the process of it, you know it can be very bumpy. Just have patience and faith; even though it took us three years, we got it.

Flag on top of a mountain

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