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Knowing the PERM labor certification steps will help you in obtaining lawful permanent residence based on employment in the United States.

The PERM (Program Electronic Review Management), administered by the Employment and Training Administration (ETA), evaluates whether hiring a foreign national would affect job opportunities for Americans. 

That said, employers must obtain a PERM certification before applying for employment-based visas. For example, the EB-2 visa

Our New Jersey immigration lawyers will be with you throughout this application process. Call us and we will be happy to help you process this document.

What are The PERM Labor Certification steps In 2024?

To apply for PERM, you must meet the elements described in 20 CFR § 656.17. This procedure may be somewhat confusing, so we invite you to read the blog carefully. So, what are the steps of the PERM process? Let’s see.

Step 1: Establish Job Responsibilities And Minimum Job Criteria

The first step to a PERM application involves establishing the fundamentals of the job for which the employee is being sponsored. This covers:

  • Work title, 
  • Job responsibilities, 
  • Minimum education and experience requirements, 
  • Job location, 
  • Number of employees supervised, and 
  • Other relevant details. 

The employer must define job requirements in accordance with Department of Labor (DOL) regulations.

It is key that prior experience and education be properly documented, as any changes could start the process again.

It is not mandatory for employers to carry out this step alone, as they have the help of our lawyers. Generally, this process could take between 2 and 4 months.

Step 2: Request A DOL Prevailing Wage Determination

The employer must establish all details of the job and submit a request for prevailing wage determination (PWD) to the Department of Labor (DOL). 

The wage determination will be issued by the National Prevailing Wage Center (NPWC) of the Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC).

steps of the perm process in the united states

PWD establishes the minimum wage that the employers will have to pay the employees at the time they become a lawful permanent resident. 

This seeks to protect the worker by guaranteeing that they will not be paid less than what that job requires. The employer may pay the employee more, but may not pay the employee less than what is established by DOL.

If PWD is unacceptable to the employer, the employer has the option of requesting a re-assessment, but this could result in delays.

Step 3: Start The Recruitment Process

Once the prevailing wage has been determined, the employer must find a U. S. worker who meets all requirements for the job position.

One way to carry out this search is by publishing a job offer in:

  • The company website.
  • Job fairs.
  • Local media (radio, television or newspaper advertisements).
  • Employment organizations, job search websites or private employment companies.

Additionally, the employer must submit a work order to the State Workforce Agency (SWA). This procedure must be carried out within a period of 30 to 180 days. 

This will ensure that no American citizen or lawful permanent resident in the U. S. is willing or qualified to perform that job.

If a capable, willing and qualified U. S. worker applies for the position, DOL will pause the process and must wait at least 6 months to re-evaluate the labor market. 

Step 4: Send The Labor Certification To The DOL

If the hiring period has ended and no qualified and willing U. S. workers have been found, the employer may file the PERM application with the DOL. To do this, you must complete ETA Form 9089.

Currently this process is taking between 11 to 12 months, but could take much longer if the case is audited. Fortunately, the chances of the case being audited are minimal.

Up to this point (step 1 through 4) the step-by-step PERM labor certification process can take several months or even more than a year.

Step 5: Submit Form I-140 To USCIS

When DOL approves the labor certification, the employer must file Form I-140 with USCIS.

This petition should only be submitted if:

  • The company maintains that it can pay the employee the offered salary, and
  • The employee demonstrates that he or she meets all qualifications for the job position.

The I-140 petition must be submitted along with Form 9089 and will be valid for 180 days. Typically, you prepare this petition in advance so you have it ready once the DOL approves the certificate.

To expedite the wait time, premium processing can be submitted to USCIS. If you do so, the approximate application time could be a couple of weeks.

perm labor certification

Step 6: Wait For The Priority Date To Update

The immigrant visa number may not be available immediately, as it all depends on the Green Card category and the foreign worker’s country of origin. You can get more information about this on the official visa bulletin website .

If the priority date is in effect when the PERM is approved, the foreign worker may file Form I-485. This will be so that he can make the adjustment of status.

In this step it is crucial to have our lawyers Carolina Curbelo and Sharon Lieberman by your side, as they will provide you with legal advice in case the priority date is not available. 

Step 7: File The I-485 Application With USCIS

This is an application for a Green Card submitted by the employees named in the I-140 petition and their derivative family members. 

The application focuses on the worker’s eligibility to receive lawful permanent residence. For example, the absence of a criminal record or other reasons for inadmissibility.

As part of the application process, a travel or employment authorization may be requested that the worker can use while the I-485 is pending.

Travel/employment authorization typically takes 4-5 months after filing and at that point the employee no longer needs their H-1B visa. Of course, they can continue using it until the Green Card is approved. 

Step 8: Attend The Biometric Appointment

Foreign workers will likely receive a notice to attend the biometric appointment 30 days after submitting the documentation. This appointment will be at the USCIS office closest to their residence. 

Step 9: The Worker Must Attend The Interview With The USCIS Officer

Approximately 12 months after submitting the required steps for the PERM labor certification documentation, USCIS will send an interview notice to the employee. 

At the I-485 interview, the immigration officer will review the Green Card application and all immigration documents.

In addition, the foreign workers must confirm that the job offer is still available to them. Likewise, they must submit all original civil documents and immigration status documents, such as:

  • Approval of the H-1B visa.
  • Visa stamps.
  • SEVIS documents.
  • Medical exam completed on Form I-693.
what is consular processing

Keep in mind that the foreign workers can make an adjustment of status if they are inside the country, but if they are abroad, they must go through consular processing.

You’ve read all this and you’re still wondering, “How do I get a labor certification?” Call us, our lawyers will help you with the PERM labor certification steps.

Requirements to complete the steps For PERM Labor Certification

Federal regulations (20 CFR § 656.10) state that employers must:

  • Demonstrate that the job offer was made available to American workers.
  • Evidence that the salaries offered are greater than or equal to the prevailing salaries in the labor field.
  • Include foreign workers on payroll before or on the day of their arrival in the U. S.
  • Demonstrate that you have enough money to pay the promised salaries.
  • Guarantee that salaries do not depend on bonuses, commissions or economic incentives of any kind.
  • Offer a job that is permanent full-time.
  • Comply with working conditions and terms of employment in accordance with relevant legal regulations. This includes federal, state and local statutes. 
perm labor certification in the united states

Likewise, employers must qualify as “U. S. employers” with a Federal Employment Identification Number (FEIN). Additionally, have a location within the United States to which American workers can be referred. 

Documents Required To Obtain PERM Labor Certification Step By Step

In addition to the requirements mentioned above, employers will need to submit the following documents:

  • Full name and position of the contact individual in the company who will coordinate the documentation or the authorized representative of the company.
  • Certificate and articles of incorporation.
  • Federal tax identification number.
  • Current annual report and/or financial status or federal tax return.
  • Lease contract or property deed for commercial facilities.
  • Any promotional brochures or pamphlets available that describe the company and its various services or products.
  • A complete description of the proposed job for the foreign worker, including a list of all essential aspects. 

Documents Required For The Foreign Worker

  • Complete General Immigration Questionnaire and Labor Certification Questionnaire form.
  • Copies of the passport and of the family members who will accompany you to the United States.
  • Curriculum vitae and any other relevant documents.
  • Copies of college or technical school diplomas and certificates, along with course transcripts, if available.
  • Copies of the individual’s professional licenses, professional society membership certificates, or relevant cards.
  • Reference letters demonstrating the individual’s previous work experience, if available.

Other Requirements Regarding PERM labor certification steps

Other requirements that the employer must take into account are:

  • Have a user account on the official DOL website.
  • Ensure that the foreign worker meets all eligibility criteria.
  • Demonstrate to DOL that there are no American workers qualified or willing to perform the job. 

Who Can Be The Employer That Sponsors A Foreign Worker?

The following can become sponsors of the national foreigners: 

  • Individuals.
  • Microenterprises.
  • Small companies.
  • Medium businesses.
  • Big enterprises.

Who May Be Eligible For The PERM Program?

Generally, any employer in the United States wishing to hire a foreign worker may be eligible for PERM labor certification.

Likewise, the following foreign workers may be eligible to qualify for PERM:

  • Beneficiary under the NACARA program .
  • Any foreigner who wants to work in the U. S and meets the necessary requirements.
  • Foreign investors (such as those with an E-1 visa or an E-2 visa).
  • Under Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
  • Individuals with an approved work visa.
  • Foreigners who are in the U. S. legally.
  • Individuals who have graduated from college with master’s degrees or doctorates.
  • Holders of a nonimmigrant visa (such as the B-2B-1 visa or others).
  • Workers without university studies but who know some trade. For example, babysitters, plumbers, gardeners, electricians, cooks and others.
how to get a job in the united states while being illegal


If you don’t meet these eligibility criteria, you may be wondering “How do I get a job in the US while I’m illegal?” Read our blog dedicated to this topic and explore your alternatives. 

Benefits And Importance Of PERM Labor Certification

The purpose of completing the PERM labor certification steps is to regulate and streamline the employment authorization application process for foreign workers. Besides:

  • Allows the foreigner to become a lawful permanent resident. Later you can carry out the process to get U. S. citizenship.
  • The employer will be able to enjoy a fair and equal salary to that of other workers, citizens and lawful permanent residents.
  • The foreigner may have the same labor benefits as other workers.
  • Labor certification may allow you to sponsor an EB-2 and EB-3 foreign worker.
  • This process differs from the employment status application necessary to obtain the H-1B and E-3 temporary work visa.

Characteristics Of The PERM Labor Certification

  • Labor certification is the first step for a foreign worker to obtain a Green Card.
  • The employer must demonstrate the essential importance of the foreign worker. Furthermore, the inability of Americans to do work and the lack of a negative impact on the American labor market.
  • If the certification is audited, the employer must provide supporting documentation.
  • Most certifications take around 60 days, but can take up to 2 years if audited.
  • Once the PERM labor certification steps are completed and is obtained, the immigration application can be filed with USCIS.

Can My PERM Be Rejected?

PERM certification may be denied on some occasions, this may be due to:

  • Failure to comply with the publication deadlines in the job offer.
  • Hiding information about existing family relationships between the employer and the sponsored worker.
  • Failure to previously ensure that the worker met the necessary eligibility criteria.
  • Lacking the necessary security measures required by DOL.

Can I Travel Abroad During The PERM Process?

The law does not prevent foreigners from traveling while they carry out the steps to obtain the PERM labor certification and their application is pending. In short, it is possible to travel abroad during the PERM process. However, you must ensure that you obtain a valid visa to re-enter the U. S.

What Happens After PERM Is Approved?

When the PERM is approved, the employer must go to USCIS to file Form I-140. You will have a maximum period of 180 days after approval to submit the I-140.

Can I Change Jobs Once PERM Is Approved?

It is generally not possible to change jobs once PERM is approved since it is tied to a particular type of job and employer. 

However, it is possible to change jobs by withdrawing your current PERM application and receiving a new one from another employer. The new employer will have to submit a new PERM application.

How Long Does It Take To Get PERM Labor Certification?

DOL acceptance and processing time can take 6 to 18 months, depending on the workload and availability of each DOL office.

On the other hand, the immigrant visa application for a foreign worker before USCIS can vary between 4 to 12 months.

What Is The “10 Day Notice of Filing”

The DOL requires a U. S. employer to post notice of the filing of a labor certification for 10 consecutive business days. 

The objective is to inform workers about their employer’s intention to file a labor certification application case. 

As an added precaution, it is recommended that U. S. employers post notices for additional days in case there are any federal holidays that may impact the process.

How Much Does A PERM Labor Certification Cost?

DOL has not set the cost to apply for PERM, but there are other additional costs for this process. For example, the hiring process, the publication of advertisements, legal advice, etc.

Additionally, forms submitted to USCIS have a cost. You can learn about the new 2024 USCIS fees in our blog. 

How Can Curbelo Law Immigration Attorneys Help You?

The immigration attorneys at the Curbelo Law firm will be able to help you with compliance with the process and thus guide you on how to obtain PERM labor certification step by step. Our lawyers Curbelo and Lieberman have extensive experience in immigration labor matters to provide you with complete legal advice.

To contact our firm, you can call us, send us an email, or book your consultation with our office in Ridgewood, New Jersey.