What is the Timeline for the Perm Process?

Matthew Thomas

For those seeking permanent residency in the United States through employment, the Perm (Program Electronic Review Management) process timeline is an essential consideration.

The first stage in getting a green card based on employment is the “Perm” process, which is overseen by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).

This page will give you an in-depth summary of the Perm process timeline, including a breakdown of each stage and its accompanying duration.

Introduction to the Perm Process

In the United States, applying for a green card through your place of employment is known as the “Perm process.” It’s needed for EB-2 and EB-3 visas, as well as most other employment-based immigrant visas.

The purpose of the Perm process is to safeguard American jobs and salaries from being undercut by foreign labor.

Stage 1: Job Advertisement and Recruitment

The first step in the Perm Process is for the hiring company to advertise the employment to citizens and permanent residents of the United States. This is an essential step in proving that no qualified, willing, and able Americans are available for the position.

When this phase concludes depends on the recruitment strategy taken and the local labor market.

  1. Job Posting: For a set amount of time, usually 30 days, the employer must advertise the open position on the DOL’s website and two other locations. During this time, applicants from the United States can submit their applications.
  2. Additional Recruitment Steps: Additional recruitment methods like newspaper ads, career fairs, or on-campus recruiting may be necessary in specific situations. Timeliness is often impacted by these additional measures.
  3. Review of Applications: Following the end of the recruitment period, the company must evaluate the applications submitted by qualified U.S. citizens. It may take a few weeks to finish this.

Also See: Who is Eligible for the PERM Process?

Stage 2: Prevailing Wage Determination

A prevailing wage determination (PWD) must be requested from the DOL once the employer has finished the recruitment process and selected the foreign worker as the best candidate for the job.

This is done to guarantee that the foreign worker will be paid at least the prevailing wage for the job in the area. The PWD phase can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.

  1. PWD Application: The process begins with the submission of a PWD application by the employer to the DOL. The application is first reviewed by the DOL, which can take a few months.
  2. Possible Audits: The Department of Labor may conduct an audit of the PWD application, which might drastically lengthen the processing period. When anomalies or suspicions arise with the application, an audit is often initiated.

Stage 3: Perm Labor Certification Application

The application for permanent labor certification is the heart of the procedure, as this is when the employer formally requests confirmation from the DOL that there are no qualified U.S. workers available for the position.

Processing times at the DOL and the complexity of the case can affect how long this phase takes.

  1. Perm Application Submission: The employer submits the Perm application to the DOL’s online system. The processing time can range from several months to over a year.
  2. Review and Audit: The application is checked for completeness and legality by the DOL. Concerns or discrepancies may prompt an audit, which will lengthen the process.

Stage 4: I-140 Petition

Following Department of Labor (DOL) approval of a permanent labor certification, an employer may submit Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, to USCIS. The time required for this phase can be shorter than the Perm procedure.

  1. I-140 Petition Submission: The employer files the I-140 petition with the USCIS after receiving the authorized Perm labor certification. The time it takes to process an I-140 petition can vary from several months to an entire calendar year.
  2. Premium Processing: For an additional fee, employers can have the USCIS evaluation shortened to about 15 days. This step is discretionary but can cut down the total time needed.

Stage 5: Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing

Adjustment of status (if the foreign worker is already in the U.S.) or consular processing (if the foreign worker is outside the U.S.) are the final phases of the green card process.

Processing times at USCIS and the applicant’s personal situation can affect how long this step takes.

  1. Adjustment of Status: If the foreign worker is already in the United States when the I-140 petition is authorized, they can file for adjustment of status (Form I-485) to remain in the country. In some situations, the USCIS may take a year or more to process Form I-485.
  2. Consular Processing: An immigrant visa interview will take place at a U.S. consulate or embassy if the foreign worker is currently located outside of the United States. The time it takes to complete this step varies as well, depending on factors including consular processing timeframes and visa availability.


In conclusion, the entire Perm procedure can be a time-consuming ordeal, stretching over a period of years. There are many steps involved, including advertising the position, finding qualified candidates, determining the prevailing pay, applying for permanent labor certification, filing an I-140 petition, and lastly adjusting one’s status or going through consular procedures.

Government processing timelines, the complexity of the case, and the type of visa being sought can all affect how long each stage takes in practice.

Applicants and their companies should expect some back-and-forth and some unpredictability along the way. To effectively traverse the Perm process and reach the objective of gaining permanent residency in the United States through employment, it is necessary to remain updated about current perm processing timeline and requirements.

If you need help with the immigration process, speaking with an attorney or expert can be a huge help.

Share This Article
Immigration attorney Matthew Thomas has 10+ years of expertise. He helps people and families navigate the complicated immigration procedure and achieve their goals. Matthew Thomas has helped customers get visas, green cards, and citizenship through comprehending U.S. immigration regulations. Matthew Thomas volunteers in community events to educate immigrants and promote awareness of immigration issues in addition to his legal practice. Matthew Thomas is a trusted immigration attorney that provides tailored and effective counsel.