After the labor certification has been approved, the next step toward obtaining permanent residency is filing the Form I-140. The I-140 is the document that qualifies an applicant for permanent residency based on the specific employment-based preference category requested. The I-140 must be submitted to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) together with a copy of the labor certification and other required documentation confirming that the employee is qualified for the category.
The ideal scenario is for the Form I-140 to be filed concurrently with the Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. The I-485 is the final step in the permanent residency process. Before the Form I-485 can be filed, an immigrant visa must be available to the applicant. Due to the high demand for immigrant visas in some countries, the waiting period for a visa can be several years. If an applicant’s priority date is current, i.e., an immigrant visa is currently available, the I-140 and I-485 can be filed together. If the priority date is not current, the I-140 has to be filed separately. Once an immigrant visa becomes available, the I-485 can be filed.