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Can you attain permanent residency on a temporary worker visa?

On Behalf of | Nov 30, 2023 | IMMIGRATION & NATURALIZATION - Immigration

In the 2021 fiscal year, the U.S. Department of State says it granted close to 1.8 million temporary worker visas.

Many temporary workers are curious about the possibility of transitioning from a temporary worker visa to permanent residency.

From temporary work to permanent resident

While a temporary worker visa allows entry into the U.S. for a specific job, moving from temporary to permanent residency is not automatic. It involves navigating specific procedures, often relying on employer support.

Employment-based paths to residency

For many temporary workers, the chance of obtaining permanent residency hinges on employer sponsorship.

Visa categories such as H-1B or L-1 offer pathways for transitioning to permanent residency through employer-initiated petitions. These mark the initial steps toward a more extended stay in the U.S.

Importance of visa categories

It is important to recognize that not all temporary worker visas lead to permanent residency. Understanding the implications of the specific visa category is key.

Some visa categories provide a clear pathway to a green card. Others may not offer a straightforward route. For example, in certain cases, individuals with an H-1B Visa may be eligible to apply for a Green Card, usually through employer sponsorship. However, workers in the U.S. on an H-2A or H-2B visa may not qualify directly for permanent residency.

Navigating the green card process

Individuals aspiring for permanent residency typically apply for a green card through family sponsorship, employment-based preferences or other eligible categories. This process involves multiple steps, such as filing petitions, undergoing background checks and attending interviews.

Challenges in the transition

Transitioning from a temporary worker to a permanent resident is not without its challenges. The process often requires meticulous documentation, adherence to timelines and a thorough understanding of legal requirements. Moreover, the competition for green cards can be intense, with a limited number available each year.

While holding a temporary worker visa opens doors to opportunities in the U.S. workforce, the journey to permanent residency is intricate for those aspiring to make the United States their permanent home.