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Will changing jobs affect my green card process?

Whether a job change will affect a foreign national’s permanent residency (“green card”) process depends on where he or she is in the process. Below is a very general overview of the consequences of changing jobs once the permanent residency process has started:

  • If the PERM labor certification process has just begun, the foreign national will have to re-start this process at the new job and will lose his or her priority date.
  • If the PERM labor certification process has been completed and the subsequent Form I-140 has been approved, the foreign national will have to re-do the PERM labor certification process at the new job but can keep his or her priority date (this is important if filing under the EB-3 visa category or EB-2 visa category for Indian and Chinese nationals).
  • If the final step of filing the Form I-485 permanent residency application has been completed and it has been pending at U.S.C.I.S. for at least 180 days, then the foreign national can likely change jobs without it affecting his or her permanent residency application as long as, among other things, the new job is in the “same or similar” job classification as the one stated in the PERM labor certification application.

The above is intended to serve only as guidance. There are different complexities to each permanent residency case that should be considered prior to making any job changes.