Generally, the first step in obtaining permanent residence (“green card”) on behalf of a foreign individual is labor certification. Labor certification is the process of proving that there are no qualified U.S. workers for the position being offered to the foreign individual. If the labor certification application is certified by the Department of Labor, then the U.S. employer must file an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (form I-140) in order to obtain an immigrant visa for the foreign individual. In certain employment based (EB) immigrant visa categories, however, labor certification is not required. The Immigrant Petition can be filed by the U.S. employer or the foreign individual can file without an employer sponsor.