PERM Processing Time

Updated on August 14, 2023
At a Glance: PERM processing is the initial step to obtain employment-based immigrant visas in the U.S. It involves the Department of Labor (DOL) conducting tests to determine if a job can be offered to an immigrant. The process includes determining prevailing wages, analyst review, audits, and reconsideration cases. The processing times vary for each step, with prevailing wage determination taking over 150 days and audit cases exceeding 209 days. To check your PERM status, visit the DOL website, check your filing date, or contact the National Processing Center. If there are significant delays, you can reach out to the DOL for assistance.

Key Takeaways:

  • In 2021, PERM Prevailing Wage Determination took more than 150 days to be completed by the Department of Labor (DOL).
  • PERM Analyst Review (clean cases) took more than 120 days to be completed by the DOL.
  • PERM Reconsideration cases took more than 120 days to be completed by the DOL.
  • You can check your PERM status online at the DOL website or by phone.

Let’s be honest, waiting for official paperwork isn’t fun. Especially if the success of your application determines your future success. The PERM processing time periods may cause you some concern as you wait to hear about the outcome of your application.

What can you do about the PERM processing time of your application? How can you check it and how long can you expect to wait? Let’s take a look.

Read on to learn more, or check out our video How to Check Your PERM Status!

What is PERM Processing?

Program Electronic Review Management (PERM) is the process you follow in order to get Labour Certification. This is an important first step in order to obtain certain employment-based immigrant visas. The Department of Labor (DOL) does an investigation of the American job market to determine if you are pre-cleared for employment. During this time, they have to perform different kinds of tests.

The job you want is first offered to American citizens for a set period of time. The DOL then establishes whether it is safe for the U.S. job market to hand the job to an immigrant (yourself). We’ll take a look at some of the tests in more detail below.

Your employer may only start your immigration petition process once your eligibility is cleared by the DOL. Remember the USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) will only allow you on an employment-based H1B visa (for instance) when they know the DOL has cleared the job you are applying for through the PERM process.

Work with your U.S. employer and the DOL to get the fastest result possible. And, be patient in the PERM processing time. Becoming anxious won’t hasten the process.

PERM Processing Times 2021

As mentioned before, the DOL reviews different kinds of information during the PERM process. Each step takes a certain amount of time which builds up to the total PERM processing time. Let’s look at the different processes required during the PERM processing time. We’ll discuss the average PERM processing time from 2021 for each step to give you an idea of what to expect.

You can follow online leaders and writers blogging about actual PERM cases and their processing times for more detailed information. We will also look at which applications (bunched according to the month in which it is submitted) the DOL is reviewing at this very moment. Please note that it will change over time as the DOL finishes previous months.

PERM Prevailing Wage Determination in 2021

The DOL needs to determine the prevailing or average wage for jobs similar to what you are applying for. Your U.S. employer will also need to know what this prevailing wage is before they can offer the job to anyone at the correct salary.

The DOL has an Online Wage Library. They match the job with similar jobs to determine the actual prevailing wage. They match it with jobs in accordance with the following:

  • Skillset
  • Geographic location
  • Education
  • Experience
  • Required Supervision

People from different parts of the U.S. earn different salaries. Microeconomic factors like the housing market (accommodation prices), food costs, travel costs, and other costs of living factors determine the prevailing salaries for the specific area. Don’t worry about any possible mismatches. The DOL will compare apples with apples.

This step currently takes more than 150 days to be completed. The DOL (at the date of writing) is currently busy with this step for applications submitted in January 2021.

PERM Analyst Review (Clean Cases)

Cases also need to be reviewed by expert analysts. They take on the case after the prevailing wage is determined. This takes more than 120 days to be completed by the DOL. The DOL is currently busy with applications from April 2021.

PERM Audit Cases

Some cases cause alarm or other reasons for concern. The DOL will flag the case for an audit. The case is then reviewed for any inconsistencies in the hiring and job advertising processes. The DOL Certifying Officer (CO) requests more paperwork from the petitioner (the employer) to check whether all the correct procedures were followed. Your petitioner must react before the supplied deadline or suffer a “failure to comply” penalty resulting in a case denial.

Please note, some cases are flagged for audit on a random basis to test the correctness of overall application submissions. A percentage of all applications gets flagged for audit to test the integrity of the whole PERM process.

Cases flagged for audit take more than 209 days to reach a decision. The DOL is currently busy with cases submitted in November 2018. Due to the nature of audits, some cases may very well take even longer to conclude.

PERM Reconsideration Cases

Under certain circumstances, your petitioner can ask for a case to be reconsidered. It may be due to an error made by the DOL or one caused by your employer. The DOL will review the case as a reconsideration. These cases take more than 120 days. The DOL currently works with the cases submitted for reconsideration in February 2021.

How to Check Your 2021 PERM Status

Is the PERM processing time getting the better of your curiosity? What can you do to check your PERM case status online? Here are three things you can do whilst you wait for a decision from the DOL.

Visit the Department of Labor Website

Go to the Department of Labor website and check their progress to track whether your application is processed yet. You can check their PERM processing times online to note which month’s applications are currently under review.

Check Your Filing Date

You can check your filing date on the Permanent Case Management System if you filed online. Check your filing date to see whether it’s been processed yet. Phone the National Processing Center (NPC) if the agency is already busy with months after your date of submission. You should also phone the NPC if you filed a paper application (if you didn’t do it online).

Call the National Processing Center

You can call the NPC’s Help Desk at 404-893-0101. Give them your name and filing date. Ask them if they need any more information in your application and what you need to do next.

What to Do If Your 2021 PERM Processing is Delayed

You might have won the H1B visa lottery. And you spent a lot of time looking for an H1B visa sponsor. You certainly don’t want to spend more time waiting for your PERM status to be pre-cleared.

The PERM processing time takes as long as it requires so much information. But you can contact the DOL if they are reviewing cases beyond three months after the submission date of your case. You can mail the DOL Help Desk at [email protected] to find more help.

Read More

Final Thoughts

You don’t have to be anxious and uninformed about your PERM status or your PERM processing time. Follow the instructions listed above to know the status of your case. Be patient during the PERM processing time whilst the DOL reviews thousands of other cases. Also, stay in regular contact with your U.S. employer (petitioner) as they might also have some useful information about your case.

You can use these guidelines above to your advantage while you wait for the outcome of your case. Submit any additional information requested by the DOL and keep your prospective U.S. employer accountable for any deadlines supplied by the DOL. You and your employer need to work as a team to ensure the success of your application.

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Frank Gogol

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.