An individual can work in the United states as either a (a) Temporary Non-Immigrant Worker or (b) as a Permanent Immigrant Workers. Temporary workers are those who seek to enter the United States for a limited amount of time for a specific purpose. They are restricted to the purpose of their temporary employment. Permanent workers are those who seek to live and work permanently in the United States. Below you will find more information on Permanent Employment Visas.
Permanent (Immigrant) Employment-Based Immigration Visas
Each year, 140,000 employment-based visas are granted by the Immigration and Nationality Act to individuals seeking immigration to the United States. These visas are divided up among five (5) employment-based visa categories.
To apply for employment visas, there are several steps to take. Each step depends on the type of visa you are applying for, as well as on your specific situation.
Applying for an employment-based immigration visa entry to the United States can be a challenging, frustrating, and exhausting process. To increase your chances of successful outcomes in your specific case, it is important to have knowledgeable legal representation on your side to guide you and support you in this oftentimes daunting process.
Listed below are brief descriptions of the five (5) preference categories for employment-based (EB) immigration:
- First Preference, Priority Workers (EB-1)
- This category of visas contains three (3) sub-categories that together account for 28.6% of all yearly employment visas granted.
- EB-1 is reserved for individuals who have (a) “extraordinary ability” in the fields of science, arts, business, education, or athletics, (b) individuals who are exceptional professors or researchers, or (c) individuals who are international executives, managers and leaders.
- Second Preference (EB-2)
- This category contains two (2) subcategories and accounts for 28.6% of all yearly employment visas granted, in addition to any First-Preference Priority Worker visas that were not used.
- EB-2 visas are reserved for those individuals who either (a) have professional advanced degrees in the professions, or (b) have “exceptional ability” in the fields of arts, science, or business.
- This category requires Labor Certification, unless a National Interest Waiver (NIW) is obtained. NIWs fall under the EB-2 category. Read more about NIWs here.
- Third Preference (EB-3)
- This category contains three (3) subcategories and accounts for 28.6% of all yearly employment visas granted, in addition to any First-Preference Priority Worker visas and Second Preference visas that were not used.
- EB-3 visas are reserved for (a) professionals, (b) skilled workers, and (c) other workers.
- This category requires Labor Certification.
- Fourth Preference (EB-4)
- This category contains various subcategories and accounts for 7.1% of all yearly employment-based visas granted.
- EB-4 visas are reserved for individuals described as “special immigrants” and include, among others: religious workers, retired individuals of international organizations, alien minors who are wards of the U.S. courts, overseas employees of the United States government.
- Fifth Preference, Investment (EB-5)
- This category accounts for 7.1% of all yearly employment-based visas granted by the United States and is reserved for Employment Creation (Business) Investors.
To qualify for the EB-5 visa, individuals must invest $1 million or $500,000 (if in specific employment area) in commercial enterprise in the United States. In addition, individuals must create at least 10 new full time jobs for citizens or other legal workers in the United States.