The Immigration and Naturalization Service grants a yearly minimum of 140,000 (one hundred and forty thousand) green cards to immigrants entering the United States on the basis of an employment opportunity. In order to qualify for a green card through employment, you must have a job offer from a U.S. employer, have the appropriate education and work experience for the job offered, and there must be no qualified American willing or able to take the job. You must also fall into one of five employment categories, formally known as preference categories. The first three are based on accomplishments, professions, or skills that are needed in the United States. The last two involve religious work, investors, and other various miscellaneous categories of workers. If you’re eligible under any of the five preference categories, the process of obtaining an employment-based green card requires two main steps. First, your employer must file a petition on your behalf for an employment-based visa with an Immigration and Naturalization Service center using Form I-140 (eye one forty). Most of the five preference categories will also require your employer to prove to the U.S. Labor department that there are no qualified American employees willing to accept the position you’re being hired to fill and that the wage you’ll be paid is fair. This process is called labor certification and it can take anywhere from a few months to more than two years to complete. Once the labor certification is approved and your employer has petitioned on your behalf, it typically takes a few months to find out if your petition for a work-based visa is accepted or denied. If your application is accepted, your second step is to apply for a green card for yourself and any accompanying relatives. You can’t legally start your job until your green card is approved. Keep in mind that all employment preference categories are subject to quotas. Thus, the amount of difficulty involved in securing an employment-based green card depends on the category you fall into. Generally, the more coveted your education or skills are, the greater chance you have of securing a green card through employment.