The permanent residence process for employment-based immigration generally includes a four-part process involving the U.S. Department of Labor ("DOL"), Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS"), and the U.S. Department of State ("DOS"). The following are the four stages:
 
 
Stage.1 : Filing the Labor Certification Application with the Department of Labor
PERM is the process for obtaining a labor certification, the first step of the green card process for foreign nationals seeking permanent residence through their employment.

To obtain an approved PERM Labor Certification, the employer must prove (through newspaper advertising and other recruiting methods) that they were unsuccessful in recruiting a qualified U.S. worker for a particular position.

The employer must be prepared to hire the foreign worker on a full-time and permanent basis.

There must be a bona fide job opening available to U.S. workers.

Job requirements must adhere to what is customarily required for the occupation in the U.S. and may not be tailored to the worker's qualifications. In other words, the employer must establish that the job opportunity has been described without the use of unduly restrictive job requirements, unless it can demonstrate that they arise out of business necessity.

The employer must pay at least the prevailing wage for the occupation in the area of intended employment.

Approved labor certification is valid only for 180 days and expires after this time period.
 
Stage.2 : Filing the I-140 Petition for Permanent Employment.
After an employer has completed Stage I, the Labor Certification Application process (PERM), it may then move on to Stage II, filing the I-140 Immigrant Petition with USCIS.
When an I-140 petition requires an offer of employment, the petitioner must submit evidence that the prospective U.S. employer has the ability to pay the proffered wage.
The petitioner must demonstrate this ability at the time the priority date is established and continuing until the beneficiary obtains lawful permanent residence.
 
Stage.3 : (2 Options)
Option 1: DOS - Immigrant Visa Processing (IVP); If the person is outside the United States, the individual can obtain an immigrant visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. This is called Consular Visa Processing.

This stage involves the submission of personal information about the foreign citizen and family members to the U.S. Consulate in the foreign citizen¨s home country. Proof of birth, marriage, divorce, as well as a police report, submission of a medical examination, and discharge certificate from the military, if applicable, are required. These documents are provided to a consulate officer at an interview where the foreign citizen is issued an immigrant visa for admission to the United States as a permanent resident.

Upon successful inspection, the immigration officer will stamp the foreign citizen's passport with an I-551 stamp, which provides temporary evidence of lawful permanent residence status and work authorization for a one-year period. If the physical green card is not received within the year, an individual may renew this authorization for another one-year period.

Option 2: USCIS - Adjustment of Status (AOS); If the foreign national is in the United States (on a non-immigrant visa status, which has not expired and has complied with the terms and conditions of that status) s/he may file a request to process his/her application for permanent residency while in the U.S. This process is called "adjustment of status." The employment based I-485 Application for Adjustment of Status may be filed with the appropriate INS Service Center and will be filed when an immigrant visa becomes available as reflected by the alien's priority date.

This stage involves filing Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status with USCIS. Simultaneous with filing this petition for AOS, permission to travel pending adjustment approval AND for employment authorization pending completion of the process is also usually filed. Until the employment authorization document and the travel permits are actually issued (approximately 90 days after filing) the foreign citizen and his/her family are generally restricted from leaving the U.S.
 
Stage.4 : Green Card
Green Card stamp on passport.