Immigration Solutions

PERM Labor Certification – Step by Step

PERM Labor Certification

PERM (Program Electronic Review Management) process is a dedicated application process that deals with labor certification applications. All the U.S. based employers must apply for this certification on behalf of the foreign employees who aspire to be their immigrant employee working on a permanent basis. Acquiring a DOL labor certification is necessary to obtain a green card from USCIS on behalf of the potential immigrant worker.

The PERM DOL Government processing times are published here. Most PERM cases take about 6 months from filing to approval.

PERM Processing Time

Here is a quick sneak peek into the processing times that you can expect during each phase of the pre-filing PERM process:

Step 1: Defining Job Requirements & Duties

Expected Processing Time:  1-4 weeks

In this initial phase, your employer prepares the proper details of the job for which you are being sponsored. This includes defining job title, duties, required experience, education, job location, and other pivotal details. The sooner your employer compiles all the required information, the quicker will be the processing time of this phase.

Step 2: Requesting Prevailing Wage Determination (PWD)

Expected Processing Time:  69 months

An online PWD request is submitted to the DOL by your employer through the FLAG system. The DOL takes time to process your provided job information and determines the prevailing wage for that job. The time required to get prevailing wage determination by the DOL depends on your job area and the number of requests sent to the DOL at that time.

Step 3: Conducting Recruitment

Expected Processing Time:  2 months

After getting a prevailing wage determination from the DOL, your employer has to post a job order for at least 30 days and wait for another 30 days to test the labor market. If a qualified and eligible US worker applies for this position, then this entire process is terminated in this step. Otherwise, the process continues with the interviews.

Step 4: Submitting the PERM Application

Expected Processing Time:  5-6 months

In this step, your employer submits the PERM application to the DOL. The DOL sends a verification email to the employer with a questionnaire regarding the sponsor. If the employer does not respond within a week, the DOL then approaches the employer via phone calls.

PERM application process usually takes 5-6 months. But this process can extend a lot if the employer undergoes a PERM audit.


Start you journey to a Green Card by applying to an open EB3 construction or delivery job in North Carolina or Utah.


PERM Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

You may have some other questions regarding PERM Labor Certification. Here are some of the most common questions that may answer your queries and guide you as well:

Is USCIS involved in the PERM labor certification process?

  • No, USCIS is not involved in the PERM labor certification process. Only the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) supervises and regulates this process. No other government agency is involved in this process.

What is the role of the Department of Labor (DOL) in the labor certification process?

  • The Department of Labor (DOL) issues PERM labor certification and allows employers in the United States to hire foreign employees as permanent workers. All the PERM labor certification applications are adjudicated by this government agency.

How much does the PERM cost?

  • No fee is charged from the applicant in this process. This process mostly requires the involvement of the employer. Fee is charged from the employers in accordance with the advertising they do for the available vacancies. Moreover, the fee is also charged for the processing time taken to interview and assess the eligibility of applicants for the available vacancies.

What is a PERM audit and why is it conducted by the DOL?

  • PERM audits are conducted by the DOL in order to ensure transparent processing of the PERM process. The DOL holds the right to carry out these audits randomly if they suspect any wrongdoing during the process.
  • The most common reasons that lead to such audits include inconsistent information in the documents, misleading information about the availability of qualified U.S. workers, attempting a workaround in the PERM process, and posting job qualification requirements beyond the actual requirements.

What if an employer does not respond to a random PERM audit notice?

  • It is mandatory for the employers to comply with the rules and regulations set forth for the PERM process. The DOL can issue a PERM audit notice anytime they want to assess the details. If an employer fails to respond to this audit notice within the timeline defined by the DOL, then this can result in the direct rejection of the application.
  • The applicant cannot withdraw the application once the audit notice is issued. The withdrawal request must be issued prior to the audit notice. It is compulsory for employers to face all kinds of consequences of such an audit.
  • Withdrawing the application for a certain foreign employee after getting the audit notice and submitting the application for the same foreign employee results in a supervised recruitment.

What is the validity time of an approved PERM application?

  • The validity time of an approved PERM application is 180 days. It is compulsory for you to file I-140 with a valid PERM certification. Otherwise, your application will be rejected by USCIS simply because of an invalid or expired PERM certification.

What is Supervised Recruitment?

  • Supervised recruitment is a step in the PERM application process which is directly supervised and assessed by CO assigned by the DOL. Failing to respond to a PERM audit leads to such a scenario where future applications of the respective foreign employee undergo supervised recruitment.
  • During this process, the employer submits all the advertisements, resumes, and available job posts to the CO for assessment. CO may also conduct an in-depth inquiry about these advertisements, resumes, and job posts.

What is the difference between a labor certification and a work permit?

  • Labor certification is the first step for an alien worker to acquire permanent resident status without granting the right to work independently. Conversely, a work permit, also known as EAD, is an official document issued by USCIS that allows immigrants to work in the United States independently.
  • For labor certification, the foreign worker needs an employer to apply on his behalf and go through the entire PERM process. In EAD, the alien worker does not require any other applicant. He himself acts as an applicant as well as a beneficiary.