I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.See all posts Frank Gogol
Green Card Database: How to Find a Sponsorship Employer
Obtaining permanent residency and work authorization in America is a long and winding process for immigrants, but the simplest and most accessible avenue for legal status is the green card. Green cards are obtained through sponsorship from an employer or family member, though, and finding an employer willing to sponsor a green card application can be difficult.
One way that prospective green card holders can connect with potential sponsors is through green card databases. This article discusses how green cards work, and explores some of the biggest green card databases that can help you find a sponsor.
What is a Green Card
The green card is the unofficial nickname for what is formally known as a Lawful Permanent Resident Card. Permanent Resident Cards afford the cardholder the ability to live and work in the United States legally, but they function differently than other nonimmigrant visas like the H1B or F1.
The main difference is that while the legal status of other nonimmigrant visas is dependent on employment or reason for visiting, the green card provides more freedom. Once an applicant obtains a green card they can work and live wherever they want, and there are no limits on the duration of their stay in the country.
Green cards are primarily obtained either through family or employment, though there are other criteria of eligibility. Spouses and immediate family members of American citizens may be eligible for a family-based green card.
Employment-based green cards are divided into several “preference categories.” These categories correspond to degrees of skill and experience in the workplace. The lower the preference category, the better the applicant’s chances of success:
- EB-1 visas are the first preference category and are reserved for the most skilled and experienced researchers and professors.
- EB-2 visas are the second preference category and are given to individuals with advanced degrees or exceptional skill and accomplishment in science, arts, or business.
- EB-3 visas are the third preference category and include all other workers.
Benefits of a Green Card
The more open-ended nature of the green card relative to other nonimmigrant visas provides numerous benefits to the cardholder. These include:
- Entering and exiting the country freely, as long as you have your green card with you upon leaving and arriving
- Ability to apply for government-issued financial aid for schooling
- Access to in-state or resident tuition for public universities and colleges within the card holder’s state of residence
- Authorization to work for any company in the United States with no limitations on hours, duration of employment, or job function
- Ability to apply for and receive security clearances, which expands possible employment options
- Ability to start a legally licensed business or corporation in the United States
- Access to social security benefits, if the cardholder worked for at least ten years (or 40 work quarters) before retiring
- Ability to sponsor spouses or unmarried children under 21 for permanent resident status in the United States
Top 3 Green Card Sponsor Databases
Many prospective green card holders rely on a green card sponsor company to obtain their card. However, it’s not always clear which employers are able or willing to sponsor an employee for a green card.
This is where a green card sponsor database can be helpful. These databases collect information on green card sponsorships and detail the sponsorship history of a wide range of employers. The following are the three best known and most comprehensive databases.
immihelp’s green card database has the most thorough and detailed search function, making it the go-to for prospective cardholders with specific parameters in mind. While most databases allow you to search by company name or city, immihelp’s database includes search functions for application case numbers and the status of previous green card applications as well. This gives applicants access to information and history on sponsorships relating closely to their own circumstances.
Visadoor’s database is simpler than immihelp’s, featuring search functions for employer name, country of citizenship, work state, and fiscal year. One useful feature that Visadoor offers is an updated list of the most recent green card applications accepted. This gives applicants an idea not just of which employers have sponsored green cards historically, but which employers are still active and willing to do so currently.
The database at redbus.com offers the fewest search options: you can search either by employer name or by location, job title and year. For individuals simply looking for green card options in a certain work field or location, RedBus’s database can be helpful.
Green Card Cost
While a green card can be enormously beneficial, acquiring one can also be very costly and time-consuming. The costs involved depend on the type of green card:
- The two main family-based green cards, the I-29F Petition for Alien Fiance and I-130 Petition for Alien Relative, each cost $535
- The Form I-40 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, which covers the employment-based green cards (EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3), costs $700
These are not the only fees incurred by applying for a visa, however. Green card applicants must fill out one of three application forms depending on the type of visa they seek, and each has a filing fee:
- Form DS-160, for family-based green cards, costs $160
- DS-260 & DS-261, for most other employment-based applications, each cost $325
Other fees include:
- Affidavit of Support, paid for by the applicant, costs $120
- Medical Examination, necessary for all immigrants entering the United States, costs vary
- Administrative fees, including notarizing, translating, copying, and printing, costs vary
- USCIS immigrant fee, which all immigrants entering the United States must pay, costs $220
- Can I Stay More Than 6 Months Outside the U.S. with a Green Card?
- Green Card Process Steps: EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 Visa
- SSN Update After Green Card
- How Long Does it Take for USCIS to Make a Decision After an Interview?
- Can You Be Deported if You are Married to an American Citizen?
- Which Countries Can You Visit With a Green Card?
With a green card, immigrants are granted a degree of freedom that few other visas provide. The trick is finding a sponsor, and if you don’t have American citizens or residents in the family then finding an employer is your best bet.
Green card databases are extremely helpful in this regard since they collect the most relevant information on green card sponsorship into a single, searchable platform. By employing any (or all) of the databases listed above, you can refine your search and find the perfect sponsorship match.