How Long Does the PERM Process Take? Insights and Expectations for Applicants

Navigating the complex landscape of the PERM (Program Electronic Review Management) process can be daunting for applicants. Understanding the intricacies of perm processing timelines is crucial for those aiming to work in the United States under specific visa categories. This article offers insights and sets realistic expectations regarding the perm current processing time, perm certification processing time, and overall perm processing time.

PERM Process

Understanding PERM and Its Importance

Before delving into timelines, it’s essential to grasp what the PERM process entails. The PERM labor certification is a prerequisite for most employment-based green card applications. It’s the Department of Labor’s (DOL) way of ensuring that the employment of foreign workers does not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers in similar positions.

Current State of PERM Processing Time

The perm processing time can vary significantly based on several factors, including the volume of applications received by the DOL and the specifics of each case. As of the latest data, the perm current processing time fluctuates, but applicants can generally expect a time frame of several months. However, this is subject to change, and applicants should regularly check the DOL’s official website for the most current processing times.

Steps in the PERM Process

  1. Prevailing Wage Determination: The employer must obtain a prevailing wage determination from the DOL. This step can significantly impact the overall perm certification processing time. The duration for this phase can range from a few weeks to several months.
  2. Recruitment Phase: The employer must conduct a recruitment campaign to ensure no qualified U.S. workers are available for the position. This phase, mandated by law, adds to the processing timeline.
  3. Filing the PERM Application: After completing the recruitment phase, the employer files the PERM application (Form ETA-9089). This is where the bulk of the perm processing time is spent.

Factors Affecting PERM Processing Timelines

Several factors can influence the duration of the PERM process:

  • Complexity of the Case: More complex cases may require additional scrutiny, leading to longer processing times.
  • Accuracy of the Application: Errors or omissions in the application can result in delays or denials, extending the processing time.
  • DOL’s Workload: Fluctuations in the DOL’s workload can impact processing times. During periods of high application volumes, delays are common.

Realistic Expectations for Applicants

Applicants should anticipate a timeline that could range from a few months to over a year, depending on the factors mentioned above. It’s critical to maintain realistic expectations and prepare for potential delays.

Tips for Efficient Processing

  • Stay Informed: Regularly check the DOL’s website for updates on perm processing timelines.
  • Ensure Accuracy: Work closely with your employer and legal counsel to ensure that your application is accurate and complete.
  • Plan Ahead: Given the potential for delays, start the PERM process as early as possible.


The PERM process is a pivotal step for many aspiring to work in the United States. While the perm processing time can be lengthy and sometimes unpredictable, understanding the process and maintaining realistic expectations can help alleviate some of the stress associated with it. Applicants and employers alike should stay informed, be meticulous in their application preparation, and plan for a range of processing times. By doing so, they can navigate the PERM process more effectively and increase their chances of a successful outcome.

This article was written by Johnny