Let our deep legal expertise and technology-enabled processes guide you in your U.S. immigration journey
The PERM or Program Electronic Review Management System Labor Certification was created by the Department of Labor on March 28, 2005. On this page, you will learn all about the program, PERM processing time, PERM process and steps, and detailed information about the entire application process.
PERM is essentially the first step in the process of applying for employment-based lawful permanent residency (green card). The objective of PERM is to defend U.S. workers and the job market. This means that the process was created to ensure that foreign workers are not filling the positions that could otherwise be filled by qualified U.S. workers.
The PERM applicant must submit a comprehensive application to the Department of Labor in order to demonstrate how his/her exceptional skills cannot be duplicated by an available U.S. worker. Unlike the EB-1 First Preference Visa, the EB-2 and EB-3 both require the applicant to obtain a PERM Labor Certification before applying for the employment-based immigrant visa.
The PERM Labor Certification for EB-2 Visa may be waived with the National Interest Waiver (NIW) if the applicant provides evidence that the employment would further the national interest of the United States.
In order to qualify to begin the PERM process, the following requirements must first be met:
PERM regulations mandate that recruitment steps for both professional and non-professional positions be completed within 6 months of filing the PERM application.
Professional vs. Non-Professional
Professional occupations usually require a bachelor’s degree or higher. You could also possess the foreign equivalent of a degree to qualify. Speak with your immigration attorney to determine if your degree qualifies for the professional occupation category.
(NOTE – if the job opportunity is located in a rural area that does not have a newspaper with a Sunday edition, the employer may then use the edition with the “widest circulation” in the area of intended employment.)
A combination of any 3 additional recruitment methods outlined below can meet the additional recruitment requirement for professional positions:
Your employer should always remember to keep a diligent record of all payment receipts and online correspondence to provide sufficient evidence of the effort put into this recruiting process. This will help avoid a lengthy and potentially costly audit.
In order to satisfy the recruitment process for non-professional positions (positions that do not require a degree an employer is required to only comply with the following 2 steps):
The steps must be conducted at least 30 days but no more than 180 days before the filing of the application. For both professional and non-professional positions, the employer must wait 30 days after the end of the recruitment period before filing the ETA 9089. This is to ensure that any qualified U.S. workers have a reasonable time period in which to respond to your ads or job order.
There are many PERM steps in the process, below, you will find a detailed explanation of each step.
The total processing time for PERM is between 430 and 700 days. This figure includes everything from the moment you start the process to the time when your PERM is approved. Below is a breakdown of how long each step might take:
Your employer needs to create a recruitment report that includes the reasons that led you to reject all U.S. applicants. These reasons must be lawful and non-discriminatory. While your employer does not need to identify each applicant, an audit may require this information.
If the DOL or Certifying Officers are not satisfied with the information provided, then your employer may run the risk of receiving a targeted audit. This can be the result of inconsistencies in your documentation, suspicion of the availability of qualified U.S. workers, or an incomplete or dissatisfactory recruitment report.
The DOL also runs random audits that can neither be anticipated or avoided. This is done to help ensure that no one attempts to take advantage of the PERM system. While we always recommend seeking help from an immigration attorney to mitigate the possibility of a targeted audit, there is nothing that can be done to anticipate a random audit.
If your employer is selected for an audit, the processing time increases drastically from about six months to over one and a half years in some cases. It is also important to note that once an audit notice has been given, your employer must respond even if the PERM application has been withdrawn.
As for PERM costs, the Department of Labor has no filing fee for the PERM petition. However, the Labor Certification cost includes more than just a filing fee. There will be additional costs associated with the recruitment process such as placing ads and taking the time to interview potential U.S. candidates. Regardless, the entire PERM application process is the responsibility of your employer.
However, when it comes to your green card processing fee, the USCIS has a filing fee of $580 for the I-140 petition. This is a fee that your employer must pay, not you. The premium processing fee can be paid by either you or your employer.
The costs associated with adjusting your status vary depending on your age. To get a better understanding of what the I-485 costs to file, take a look at the chart under “Special Instructions” on the USCIS website.
Green Card by Employer-Sponsored Labor Certification with PERM
Attorney Fee: $3,900 (for PERM process), $2,500 for I-140, $1900 for I-485/AP/EAD
(*PERM Audit response fee = $1000, if applicable)
USCIS Fee: $700. Premium Processing fee: $2500 (optional).
See the full list of fees here.
PERM and I-140 Form is closely related to the entire process of employing foreign workers. When your employer’s PERM Labor Certificate is approved, they will have to submit I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. The worker is not required to submit the form, it is only the employer that does so.
After Form I-140 is approved, the USCIS will notify you with an Approval Notice, and you can start your PERM green card application process.
The VisaNation lawyers have helped countless clients obtain PERM labor certifications. We pride ourselves on outstanding service and exceptional client care. This is what our leading business immigration lawyer Shilpa Malik said about our PERM services:
The intricate process of getting a PERM approval requires meticulous attention to detail and an in-depth understanding of the ever-evolving regulations. I am committed to guiding my clients through the complexities, leveraging my expertise to ensure a strong and persuasive application.
There is a common misconception about the PERM Labor Certification. Many people tend to call it a PERM Visa or PERM Green Card. However, the PERM is not a visa and does not by itself grant you access to the U.S. Instead, it is merely the first step in obtaining an immigrant visa (green card). Once your PERM is approved, your employer can file a petition for a green card on your behalf.
After your I-140 petition is approved, you must wait until a visa number is available for your priority date. Depending on which employment-based green card you are applying for, this wait can be as little as no time at all or as long as 20 years.
When a visa number becomes available, you can apply to adjust your status or to obtain a green card from a U.S. Consulate or Embassy in your home country. Your green card, not any PERM visa, will allow you legal residence in the U.S.