Each year the US Government allows a certain number of immigrant visas for foreign workers to immigrate to the United States based on their education and job skills. You might qualify for an employment-based immigrant visa if you have the right combination of skills, education, and/or work experience. An employment-based immigrant visa allows you to live permanently in the United States. Find out more about the five (5) employment-based immigrant visa categories.
What is the EB-1 Employment-based First Preference category?
The EB-1 category is for foreign professionals that can prove that they are of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics; outstanding professors or researchers; and multinational executives and managers. The EB-1 preference subcategories include:
- EB-1A Extraordinary ability – You must be able to demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through sustained national or international acclaim.
- EB-1B or EB1OR Outstanding Professors and Researchers – You must demonstrate international recognition for your outstanding achievements in a particular academic field. You must have at least 3 years of experience in teaching or research in that academic area. You must be entering the United States in order to pursue tenure or tenure track teaching or a comparable research position at a university, the institution of higher education, or a private employer.
- EB-1C Certain Multinational Managers or Executives – You must have been employed outside the United States for at least 1 year in the 3 years preceding the petition or the most recent lawful nonimmigrant admission if you are already working for the U.S. petitioning employer. The U.S. petitioner must have been doing business for at least 1 year, have a qualifying relationship with the entity you worked for outside the U.S., and intend to employ you in a managerial or executive capacity.
A labor certification is not required for any of the EB-1 preference categories.
What is the EB-2 Employment-based Second Preference category?
The EB-2 category is for foreign professionals who can prove they are members of the professions holding advanced degrees or for persons with exceptional ability in the arts, sciences, or business. The EB-2 preference subcategories include:
- Advanced Degree – The job you apply for must require an advanced degree and you must possess such a degree or its foreign equivalent (a baccalaureate or foreign equivalent degree plus 5 years of post-baccalaureate, progressive work experience in the field). You must meet any other requirements specified on the labor certification as applicable as of the priority date.
- Exceptional Ability – You must be able to show exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. Exceptional ability “means a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business.” You must meet any requirements specified on the labor certification as applicable.
A labor certification is required for all EB-2 preference categories except for certain professional nurses and physical therapists under “Schedule A”, and those with a national interest waiver.
Is my profession considered “Schedule A” for a Green Card? Green Cards through Employment Sponsorship
What is the EB-3 Employment-based Third Preference Category?
The EB-3 category is for foreign professionals working as skilled workers, professionals, and other workers. The EB-3 preference subcategories include:
- Skilled Workers – You must be able to demonstrate that you possess at least 2 years of job experience, education, or training that meets the job requirements specified on the labor certification.
- Professionals – You must demonstrate that you possess a US baccalaureate or foreign equivalent degree, and that a baccalaureate degree is the normal requirement for entry into the occupation.
- Unskilled Workers (Other Workers) – You must demonstrate the ability to perform unskilled labor (requiring less than 2 years training or experience), that is not of a temporary or seasonal nature.
A labor certification is required for the EB-3 preference categories.
Green Cards through Employment Sponsorship
What is the EB-4 Employment-based Fourth Preference Category?
The EB-4 category is for “special immigrants,” which includes certain religious workers, employees of US foreign service posts, retired employees of international organizations, noncitizen minors who are wards of courts in the United States, and other classes of noncitizens.. The EB-$ preference subcategories include:
- Religious workers
- Special Immigrant Juveniles
- Certain broadcasters
- Certainer retired officers or employees or a G-4 International orgnacitaion or NATO-6 civilian employees
- Certain employees of the U.S. government who are abroad and their family members;
- Members of the U.S. armed forces;
- Panama Canal company or Canal Zone government employees;
- Certain physicians licensed and practicing medicine in a US state as of Jan. 9, 1978;
- Afghan or Iraqi translators or interpreters;
- Afghans who were employed by the U.S. government or International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
A labor certification is not required for the EB-4 preference categories.
Green Cards through Employment Sponsorship
What is the EB-5 Employment-based Fifth Preference Category?
This preference is reserved for business investors who invest $1.8 million or $900,000 (if the investment is made in a targeted employment area) in a new commercial enterprise that employs at least 10 full-time US workers.
A labor certification is not required for the EB-5 preference categories.
Additional Outside Resources
- USCIS: Permanent Workers
- USCIS: Employment-based Second Preference EB-2
- DOL: Permanent Labor Certification
- USCIS: Form I-140 Petition for Foreign Worker
- USCIS: Form I-360, Petition for Special Immigrant
- USCIS: Form I-829 Petition by Investor
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