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What is a PERM Priority Date?

Everything you need to know about PERM priority dates in the employment green card process

Apr 15, 2024

An HR person during the PERM audit process.

At a Glance

Let’s take a closer look at an important date which can impact timing for employment-based green cards: the PERM Priority Date.

PERM Labor Certifications

A PERM (Program Electronic Review Management) Labor Certification is a crucial step in the process for employers seeking to sponsor international employees for employment-based green cards in the U.S. It’s administered by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and is designed to ensure that the employment of foreign workers will not negatively impact the job opportunities, wages, or working conditions of U.S. workers. 

Completing the PERM labor certification is a prerequisite for obtaining an employment-based green card. Once the employer receives an approved PERM certification, they can then jumpstart the green card process for their employee and file Form I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker).

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What is a Priority Date?

When an employer files an immigrant petition (Form I-140) on behalf of an employee, a “priority date” is established based on the date the petition is filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

The Priority Date is crucial because it establishes the foreign worker’s place in the queue for an immigrant visa (green card) in categories subject to annual numerical limits. This date becomes particularly significant in the final stages of the green card application process, where individuals may have to wait for their Priority Date to become “current” before they can proceed with the last steps of their green card application, such as filing Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status).

The Visa Bulletin, published monthly by the U.S. Department of State, outlines the current Priority Date cutoffs for each category and country, determining when applicants can proceed with their final green card application steps.

Boundless publishes a report on the current Visa Bulletin every month so you can stay updated on the latest wait times.

Understanding PERM Priority Dates

In the context of PERM, the Priority Date for a PERM Labor Certification technically refers to the date when the PERM is filed with the DOL. 

In practice, the Priority Date for the PERM gets locked in once the Form I-140 petition is approved. This date will then determine when a Form I-485 green card application can be filed.

If you have questions about PERM Priority Dates or next steps after I-140 approval, it may be helpful to reach out to an immigration attorney for guidance. Learn how Boundless’ business immigration services and in-house legal team can help.

Boundless tip

Get detailed guidance on the PERM labor certification process in Boundless’ guide.