Employment-Based Permanent Residency/Green Card (EB-1/EB-2/EB-3/EB-4)

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Employment-Based Permanent Residency/Green Card (EB-1/EB-2/EB-3/EB-4)

EB-1: First Preference

You may be eligible for an employment-based, first-preference visa if you have an extraordinary ability, are an outstanding professor or researcher, or are a multinational executive or manager. Each occupational category has certain requirements that must be met:

Eligibility Criteria

CategoriesDescriptionEvidence
Extraordinary Ability You must be able to demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through sustained national or international acclaim. Your achievements must be recognized in your field through extensive documentation. No offer of employment is required. You must meet 3 of 10 criteria* below, or provide evidence of a one-time achievement (i.e., Pulitzer, Oscar, Olympic Medal)
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 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 comparable research position at a university or other institution of higher education. You must include documentation of at least two listed below** and an offer of employment from the prospective U.S. employer.
Multinational manager or executive You must have been employed outside the United States in the 3 years preceding the petition for at least 1 year by a firm or corporation and you must be seeking to enter the United States to continue service to that firm or organization. Your employment must have been outside the United States in a managerial or executive capacity and with the same employer, an affiliate, or a subsidiary of the employer. Your petitioning employer must be a U.S. employer. Your employer must have been doing business for at least 1 year, as an affiliate, a subsidiary, or as the same corporation or other legal entity that employed you abroad.

EB-2: Second Preference

You may be eligible for an employment-based, second preference visa if you are a member of the professions holding an advanced degree or its equivalent, or a foreign national who has exceptional ability. Below are the occupational categories and requirements:

Eligibility Criteria

Sub-CategoriesDescriptionEvidence
Advanced Degree The job you apply for must require an advanced degree and you must possess such a degree or its equivalent (a baccalaureate degree plus 5 years progressive work experience in the field). Documentation, such as an official academic record showing that you have a U.S. advanced degree or a foreign equivalent degree, or an official academic record showing that you have a U.S. baccalaureate degree or a foreign equivalent degree and letters from current or former employers showing that you have at least 5 years of progressive post-baccalaureate work experience in the specialty.
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 at least three of the criteria below.*
National Interest Waiver Aliens seeking a national interest waiver are requesting that the Labor Certification be waived because it is in the interest of the United States. Though the jobs that qualify for a national interest waiver are not defined by statute, national interest waivers are usually granted to those who have exceptional ability (see above) and whose employment in the United States would greatly benefit the national. Those seeking a national interest waiver may self-petition (they do not need an employer to sponsor them) and may file their labor certification directly with USCIS along with their Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker. You must meet at least three of the criteria below* and demonstrate that it is in the national interest that you work permanently in the United States.

EB-3: Third Preference

You may be eligible for this immigrant visa preference category if you are a skilled worker, professional, or other worker.

  • “Skilled workers” are persons whose job requires a minimum of 2 years training or work experience, not of a temporary or seasonal nature
  • “Professionals” are persons whose job requires at least a U.S. baccalaureate degree or a foreign equivalent and are a member of the professions
  • The “other workers” subcategory is for persons performing unskilled labor requiring less than 2 years training or experience, not of a temporary or seasonal nature.

Eligibility Criteria

Sub-CategoriesDescriptionEvidence
Skilled Workers
  • You must be able to demonstrate at least 2 years of job experience or training
  • You must be performing work for which qualified workers are not available in the United States
Labor certification and a permanent, full-time job offer required.
Professionals
  • You must be able to demonstrate that you possess a U.S. baccalaureate degree or foreign degree equivalent, and that a baccalaureate degree is the normal requirement for entry into the occupation
  • You must be performing work for which qualified workers are not available in the United States
  • Education and experience may not be substituted for a baccalaureate degree
Labor certification and a permanent, full-time job offer required.
Unskilled Workers (Other Workers) You must be capable, at the time the petition is filed on your behalf, of performing unskilled labor (requiring less than 2 years training or experience), that is not of a temporary or seasonal nature, for which qualified workers are not available in the United States. Labor certification and a permanent, full-time job offer required.
Note: While eligibility requirements for the third preference classification are less stringent, you should be aware that a long backlog exists for visas in the "other workers" category. See the “Department of State: Visa Bulletin” link to the right.

EB-4: Fourth Preference

You may be eligible for an employment-based, fourth preference visa if you are a special immigrant. The following special immigrants are eligible for the fourth preference visa:

  • Religious Ministers and Workers
  • Broadcasters
  • Iraqi/Afghan Translators
  • Iraqis Who Have Assisted the United States
  • International Organization Employees
  • Physicians
  • Armed Forces Members
  • Panama Canal Zone Employees
  • Retired NATO-6 employees
  • Spouses and Children of Deceased NATO-6 employees

Petitioning for an Employment-Based Fourth Preference Immigrant

To petition for an employment-based fourth preference immigrant, your employer must file a Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant. However, there are certain situations where you, the employee, may self-petition on your own behalf. Please review the form instructions to see if you are eligible to self petition and what required supporting evidence needs to be included.

Family of EB-4 Visa Holders

Your spouse may also be admitted to the United States. Your children, unmarried under the age of 21, may be admitted to the United States. For more information please the appropriate “Green Card” link to the right.

Visa Description

The fifth employment based visa preference category, created by Congress in 1990, is available to immigrants seeking to enter the United States in order to invest in a new commercial enterprise that will benefit the US economy and create at least 10 full-time jobs. There are two ways to invest which you may use within the EB-5 category and they are: creating a new commercial enterprise or investing in a troubled business.

Eligibility Criteria

New Business Enterprise

To qualify you must:

  1. Invest or be in the process of investing at least $1,000,000. If your investment is in a designated targeted employment area (discussed further below) then the minimum investment requirement is $500,000.
  2. Benefit the U.S. economy by providing goods or services to U.S. markets.
  3. Create full-time employment for at least 10 U.S. workers. This includes U.S. citizens, Green Card holders (lawful permanent residents) and other individuals lawfully authorized to work in the U.S. (however it does not include you (the immigrant), or your spouse, sons or daughters).
  4. Be involved in the day-to-day management of the new business or directly manage it through formulating business policy – for example as a corporate officer or board member.

Targeted Employment Area is defined by law as “a rural area or an area that has experienced high unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average.” For further detail click on the Laws section of this website and access section 203(b)(5)(B) of the Immigration Nationality Act (INA).

Troubled Business

To qualify you must:

  1. Invest in a business that has existed for at least two years.
  2. Invest in a business that has incurred a net loss, based on generally accepted accounting principles, for the 12 to 24 month period before you filed the Form I-526 Immigrant Petition by an Alien Entrepreneur.
  3. The loss for the 12 to 24 month period must be at least equal to 20 percent of the business’s net worth before the loss.
  4. Maintain the number of jobs at no less than the pre-investment level for a period of at least two years.
  5. Be involved in the day-to-day management of the troubled business or directly manage it through formulating business policy. For example as a corporate officer or board member.
  6. The same investment requirements of the new commercial enterprise investment apply to a troubled business investment ($1,000,000 or $500,000 in a targeted employment area).

Regional Center Pilot Program

To qualify you must:

  1. Invest at least $1,000,000 or $500,000 in a regional center affiliated new commercial enterpriose or a troubled business located within the area of the USCIS designated Regional Center. Regional Centers are defined and discussed further below.
  2. Create at least 10 new full-time jobs either directly through the capital investment.

A Regional Center is defined as any economic unit, public or private, which is involved with the promotion of economic growth, improved regional productivity, job creation, and increased domestic capital investment. The organizers of a regional center seeking the regional center designation from USCIS must submit a proposal showing:

  • How the regional center plans to focus on a geographical region within the U.S., and msut explain how the regional center will achieve the required economic growth within this regional area
  • That the regional center’s business plan can be relied upon as a viable business model grounded in reasonable and credible estimates and assumptions for market conditions, project costs, and activity timelines
  • How in verifiable detail (using economic models in some instances) jobs will be created directly or indirectly through capital investments made in accordance with the regional center’s business plan
  • The amount and source of capital committed to the project and the promotional efforts made and planned for the business project.